CASA needs new casa

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By Walt Reichert

The organization that advocates for children who are in out-of-home care could use a home itself. Actually, a good-sized room will do.

For the past year, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children has been housed in the basement of Dr. Dan Bowersox's optometry business on Washington Street in Shelbyville. By early April the organization needs to get out.

"He's been wonderful to us, but he needs the space," CASA Director Beverly Hilger said. "He told us when he let us come in we would have to move eventually."

Hilger said CASA needs at least 200 square feet of space, enough for two desks and filing cabinets. If the space were bigger to allow for training, that would be even better, she said.

The space would also have to be able to be locked because of the confidential nature of some of the documents, Hilger said. Handicapped-accessible would be a plus too, she said.

"We have no money in our budget for rent or utilities, but we can pay for our own phone and Internet," Hilger said, noting that because CASA is a 501(c)3 organization, any space donated would be 100 percent tax deductible.

CASA volunteers advocate for children in the courts in abuse and neglect cases. The local CASA has 16 volunteers serving 25 children.

Because CASA works with circuit court, most offices around the state are in courthouses, but there is no room in the Shelby County Courthouse. Hilger hopes that when the new judicial center is finished, CASA will be able either to move into space there or occupy quarters in the old courthouse.

"Meanwhile, we need space for about 2-3 years until the courthouse is finished," Hilger said.

If you can help, call 647-5155 or 321-6856.