Volunteer Information

  1. Local CASA History
  2. Fact Sheet
  3. Volunteer Job Description
  4. How to Become a Volunteer
  5. Hear from local CASAS and Foster Youth

History of the Local Program

It shouldn't hurt to be a child, yet each year in Tippecanoe County, hundreds of abused and neglected children are thrust into the juvenile court system. The court must decide the fate of these children. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained citizen appointed by a judge, who can help assure that placement and services are truly in the best interest of the child. However, this was not always the case.  

Recognizing the importance of giving a voice to abused and neglected children, a dedicated group of individuals worked diligently alongside Judge Margaret Hand to lay plans for a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program that would serve Tippecanoe County. The vision to ensure that the best interests of abused and neglected children are represented in court actualized in 1985, when Guardian Ad Litem attorneys were appointed to 8 wardship cases.  

In September of 1986, a grant from the Gannett Foundation enabled five individuals to receive training in Indianapolis to prepare them to work with attorneys for the best interests of abused and neglected children. In January of 1987, Tippecanoe County Government began funding the program, making Tippecanoe County one of the first 15 CASA programs in the State of Indiana. A part-time Coordinator was hired, and the first internal volunteer training program resulted in 20 volunteers being sworn in on July 22, 1987. By August of 1990, the program had a new name, Tippecanoe CASA, and 61 cases had been assigned to volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates. In 1997, the first Victims of Crime Act grant was awarded, providing for operating expenses, including staff salaries and supplies. In 2002, Tippecanoe CASA hired a full-time Executive Director, and became an official County Department, a classification that secured the necessary infrastructure to ensure the continuation of advocacy work on behalf of Tippecanoe County’s most vulnerable population.  

In 2005, Indiana became the first State to be awarded national certification by the National CASA Association, and in 2020, the Indiana State Office of CASA/GAL celebrated its 30th year of operation. Support for CASA programs in Indiana has grown significantly in recent years, and thanks to the work of The Indiana State Office of CASA/GAL, 86 of 92 counties in Indiana now have certified CASA/GAL volunteer programs.  

Strong State and local support has enabled Tippecanoe CASA to steadily build capacity to serve all children. CASA Staff and volunteers are dedicated to effective and impactful advocacy, and in addition to the initial 30-hour training, each advocate undergoes a minimum of 12 hours of training each year in order to stay abreast of best-practices in the child advocacy field. In addition to providing quality, evidence-based advocacy, Tippecanoe CASA’s vision is to fully eliminate the list of children waiting to be assigned a CASA. Consider being a voice for a child: apply to become a CASA volunteer today. 

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