I was born and raised here in Muncie, Indiana and graduated from Delta High School. I received my B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Ball State University in 2005. Through a connection at the University, I began working at the Delaware County CASA Program in 2004 as a part-time Administrative Assistant. Just a few years in later in 2007, I was promoted to a full-time Volunteer Coordinator which I remained until 2015 when I was given the opportunity to become the Executive Director.
As the Director, most of my time is spent managing the operations of the program and staff, and exploring ways to grow and serve more children. Another big portion of my time is spent involving myself with many local social service groups to represent our program in the community. My other main duties comprise of directing the fiscal management of the program and fulfilling requirements of our funding sources. I am also one of the two handlers for our Courthouse Facility Dog. Frankie and I work together at the Child Advocacy Center when a child needs the comfort and support of her during forensic interviews during which they disclose experiences of abuse. At the end of the day, Frankie comes back to my home where I care for her and she can be off the clock.
My favorite thing about working for this organization is the people that serve within it. Volunteers, staff, colleagues, and our state leaders are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the privilege of working alongside. Certain types of people are drawn to this work and everyone’s selfless passion for children and justice are the fundamentals that tie us all together. Our work isn’t always easy but having the opportunity to improve outcomes for children is a worthy reward.
I accepted my position during October of 2017 as Volunteer Coordinator, supervising volunteers. I came to CASA because it was a natural continuation of the role and work I did as a casemanager with the Department of Child Services (DCS) for years. The support and confidence I had as a casemanager working with CASA Volunteers on cases only made it a must to accept a position when it came available. I wanted to be a part of the ideals that CASA stands for in supporting these children and continue working with the cases and volunteers but from behind the scenes.
My role here at CASA is not so much as supervisor but as a guide to help volunteers understand their role, the flow of the cases, what to look for, understanding court, paperwork documentation, the educational needs, DCS policy and how it relates to supporting the children and their safety.
I have a degree in education from Ball State University, have raised six (6) children and worked ten (10) years as a DCS casemanager.
I want readers to know that being a volunteer gives these children a better chance for a positive childhood. That having a consistent person who cares for them and they can see and talk to is vital for their outlook. The time you spend will be a fulfilling one for both you and the child in knowing you are promoting an independent look for their best interests.
I joined the CASA program as a volunteer in June of 2016 after hearing about the program from a friend in another county. My degree is in Psychology and I always envisioned myself having a career in family therapy or working with children who had been victims of serious abuse or neglect.
During training I realized how dire of a need there was for people to Advocate for these kids that are caught in the middle of abuse and neglect cases, through no fault of their own. I realized that DCS focused on rehabilitating parents and providing services to families as a whole, but often the needs of the child were not being met.
I was working at a High School as a Special Education Paraprofessional, and although I loved my job and was helping kids every day, it wasn’t as meaningful as I wanted it to be. I began to see the reasons for some of the behavior problems I experienced with the students I worked with. I realized that most of the kids acting out just wanted to be heard. As an employee of the school I was limited to how much I could help the Students that I felt really needed somebody. Kids would open up to me about things going on in their lives that were so damaging and besides reporting these events, there was nothing more I could do for them.
I took my first CASA case in August of 2016, and enjoyed working with all the different service providers that were engaged with the child. I felt like there were finally things that I could do to make a positive, long term impact on these kids. I also realized how many information gaps existed due to DCS case managers being overwhelmed. Often situations were occurring around a child that the case manager was unaware of.
I was hired as a Child Home & School Visitor within the CASA Program in February of 2018. As a Home & School Visitor, I meet with children who have not yet been assigned a CASA Court Advocate. I was a foster parent for many years and recognize the need for someone to be a voice for children in foster care. It is important that someone is listening to them.
I am new to the CASA office and am very excited to be a part of this program. I have talked to several CASA volunteers and they are all very passionate about helping children who find themselves in difficult situations. It is a great way to make a difference in a child’s life.
I remember seeing billboards for CASA years ago and I was always intrigued by the program, but never developed the courage or motivation to get involved. Fortunately, one of my Legal Studies classes at Ball State University required that I volunteer with community partner. I am grateful the class pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to make time to dedicate to a program I quickly developed a passion for. I started working with CASA as a Research Assistant Intern in the Fall of 2017, which eventually led to me joining staff as an Assistant Office Administer in the Summer of 2018, then as Child Home and School Visitor Supervisor beginning in the Fall of 2018, and now presently as the Family Recovery Court Case Manager. As the FRC Case Manager, I provides child advocacy to children adjudicated CHINS on cases accepted in the Delaware County Family Recovery Court. I am responsible for assisting to carry out the goals and objectives of the Family Recovery Court. I have regular in-person contact with the child(ren) to ensure in-depth knowledge of the case and make fact-based recommendations to the court. I am a graduate from Ball State University where I studied Legal Studies with an emphasis on public law, which has come in handy when deciphering through the legal documents for cases. My husband also underwent CASA training and we have worked on a case together. Through the week we are busy with school events, homework, and family time, but we love to be outdoors – you can find us camping and hiking most weekends. My advice to anyone interested in CASA is to just do it! Don’t over think the possibilities because there are so many kids that can benefit from your involvement, and all of us at the office are here to support you.
I was born and raised in northern New Jersey. Following high school I attended Franklin and Marshall College where I majored in German and minored in Psychology. In 1989 I relocated to Indiana where I worked for several years in Indianapolis and then in 2007 my family and I moved to Delaware County.
I first became involved with the Delaware County CASA Program in 2008 when I started volunteering as a child advocate. About a year later, in 2009, I was offered the position of Case Manager with the CASA Program. I had a full case load of children to advocate for who were not assigned to a CASA volunteer. Recently, I have transitioned into the position of Facility Dog Handler & Assessment Coordinator for the CASA office. Though I no longer serve as the assigned CASA on a caseload of my own, I am now in charge of conducting risk assessments all the cases assigned to the CASA program. I do this by carefully reviewing each cases, communicating with the Department of Child Services when needed and completing the CASA triage assessment tool. I am also the Handler for our Courthouse Facility Dog, Frankie. Anytime a child in the legal needs the comfort and support of Frankie, I insure that she is there to accompany them. Whether to a court hearing, a forensic interview, a deposition or a to celebration, I have been witness to the amazing impact Frankie has. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love what I do or if I thought it didn’t make such a big difference for these children.
The work we do is not for everyone. It’s rewarding, frustrating, heartwarming and aggravating all at the same time. I see being a CASA as a privilege and not a right. It’s important to come into this with the right frame of mind and dedication to the child. Our volunteers are screened closely for objectivity, maturity, communication skills, competence and commitment. If you have an interest in children, their rights and special needs, I encourage you to become a part of our team.
My education is in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies, and I’ve always been passionate about families, specifically the welfare of children. My husband and I grew up in the west, but we raised our family here in Muncie. I learned about the CASA program a few years ago and had it on the backburner until the time seemed right. I wish I’d started sooner! I’ve been a volunteer for about two years and feel the work with the children I advocate for is very meaningful, but I could see there was much more to be done–so many more children who needed hope and someone to speak for them. So, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to do a little bit more and join the team here in the CASA office in May 2019. I spend most of my time in the office helping to make the hundreds of court documents available for all of our volunteers. I also answer the phone, order records needed for working the cases, and generally try to help support our wonderful CASA staff. If you’re thinking of becoming a CASA, do it. There is a great team here to support you, and our community kids need you!
Frankie is the Delaware County CASA Programs first Courthouse Facility Dog. The Courthouse Facility Dog Program supports the work of the Delaware County CASA Program by providing comfort and support to vulnerable child victims during forensic interviews, exams, court and other legal proceedings. Frankie was purpose bred, trained and socialized as a facility dog by DUO, an ADI accredited assistance dogs provider and training organization based out of St. Louis, MO. The use of facility dogs in the legal process has expanded rapidly in the United States since 2003 and started focusing on CASA organizations in 2010.
In February of 2017 Frankie joined our local program. She is a Female, Black Labrador, born in 2015. Frankie is partnered with two working professionals within the CASA Office; the Director and Court Liaison of the Delaware County CASA Program. Both employees have adequate training in behavior, canine care and health and local access and public access laws. Frankie is permitted to work until she is about 10 years old (2025).