“The CASA Program of Elkhart County is thrilled to announce that we have reached a zero waitlist,” said Elkhart Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Director Helen Calvin. “This is the first time in the history of the program that this has ever been achieved.”
In January 2018 Child And Parent Services’ (CAPS) Court Services Director Justin Allen set the goal of zero kids unserved in January 2018. At that time CASA was selected as one out of eight Indiana counties to participate in a pilot program aimed at decreasing that number through a “triage’ system that enabled CASAs to work with more children.
“The hope was to get there by October of 2018,” said Allen. “It took us a little longer than we hoped, but we got there.”
By the end of 2018, the program decreased the number of unserved children by 82 percent. Their goal for 2019 was to continue to lower that number and, as of March 31 of this year, managed to decrease that amount 100 percent.
“It is extremely important to celebrate this achievement,” said Calvin.
“However, that does not mean that we are done,” said Allen. “That simply means we have achieved the goal and now need to maintain it. We cannot do that without volunteers.”
The demand for CASA volunteers still exists. Currently 50 percent of CASA kids are served by volunteers while the other half are served by CASA staff. The hope is that eventually a higher percentage of kids would be served by volunteers.”
The next advocate training session for Elkhart County begins June 5, 2019. Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child may contact Helen Calvin at 574-522-1998 ext. 285 or visit www.capselkhart.org/programs/casa