Vigo County CASA facing shortage of volunteers

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – CASA volunteers meet with children in the juvenile court system, and through the process help decide what is best for the child.

It’s an experience that volunteers like Darby Scism say is rewarding.

“It does take a lot of heart and it’s not easy, it’s not easy all the time but it’s exceptionally rewarding and we really really need this in this community,” Scism said.

As of late, volunteers like Darby have been hard to come by. Glenna Cheesman, director of Vigo County CASA, says they are working nearly 780 active cases at this time with a serious shortage of volunteers.

“We are currently at a critical level right now. Volunteers, we have fallen to 56,” Cheesman said.

This lack of volunteers is now it’s toll on the CASA program. Cheesman says 140 children are currently on a wait list to be represented by an advocate.

“We’re at a level now where our wait list is higher than it has been in quite a while, for the last two years. We did have it down and maintained under 100 but now it’s just taking a shot,” Cheesman said. 


Cheesman says there is no specific reason why the amount of volunteers has dropped, but CASA now needs as many as possible because the children in the juvenile system simply cannot wait.

“Any child on a wait list is one too many but we need volunteers. These children cannot wait and the longer that they have to wait in these situations, the longer the trauma is there,” Cheesman said.
    
To become a CASA volunteer you must be at least 21 years of age and pass a background check.  CASA staff also says the ability to communicate and write effectively is important. Hours for volunteers are an average of 12 hours a month.
 

Link for volunteers to apply: https://in-vigo.evintosolutions.com/volunteerapplication

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