Indiana’s State Office of the GAL/CASA has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The money will be used to support local programs that provide volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children in Indiana.
The National CASA is distributing $1.2 million in federal grants this year to 32 programs. The money is provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.
In 1989, the Indiana General Assembly established the office of Guardian Ad Litem and Court Appointed Special Advocates, with services to be administered through the Division of State Court Administration. Through the program, counties can be certified to be eligible to receive matching grants administered by the division and disbursed pursuant to a statutory formula. The state office also provides training and support for local programs.
There are certified GAL/CASA volunteer programs in 72 of Indiana’s counties. Last year, 3,300 GAL/CASA trained volunteers advocated for abused and neglected children in the state. Volunteers donated more than 414,000 hours in 2011, saving the state an estimated $21 million.
“CASA programs continue to face deep budget cuts as a result of the still-struggling economy," said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “National CASA grants provide strength and stability to our network, ensuring we continue to support the children who need help the most.”
For more information about serving as a volunteer CASA or guardian ad litem, contact Leslie Dunn at 317-232-2542 or at leslie.dunn@.courts.IN.gov.