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Court Appointed Special Advocates Take Oath of Office

CASA 1Starke County has three new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers to shepherd abused and neglected children through the legal system. Circuit Judge Kim Hall administered oaths of office to Eddie Fields, Lori Reading and Patti Scaggs Tuesday in his courtroom. They each completed 30 hours of training as part of the program. CASA volunteers act in the best interest of children who end up in state custody and share information with the judge and attorneys about whether the youngsters should be returned to their parents, remain in foster care or be placed for adoption. Judge Hall says the CASA plays a critical role in the process. Continue reading

CASA Volunteers Needed in Starke County

The Starke County Court Appointed Special Advocate program is seeking ordinary people to do an extraordinary job.

CASA is currently taking applications for it’s fall volunteer training classes. CASA volunteers work to help abused and neglected children in Starke County who have been taken from their homes and placed into temporary foster care. They help these children find safe, permanent homes where they can thrive. Each advocate undergoes training to be a powerful voice for the children’s best interest.

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Starke County Building Corporation, Commissioners Meeting This Morning

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

The Starke County Building Corporation plans to appoint a committee to discuss future uses for the current jail. They are meeting this morning at 8:30 at the county annex building, prior to the commissioners meeting at 9. Skillman Corporation will also provide an update on how construction of the new jail east of Knox on State Road 8 is going. It’s scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015. The commissioners agenda includes consideration of a proposal from Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski to relocate some precincts. Officials from IU Health Starke Hospital will also discuss the physicians recruitment program. EMA Director Ted Bombagetti and James Coad are on the agenda regarding the county’s emergency preparedness plan. Wendy Elam from CADA has a proclamation for the county to declare April Child Abuse Prevention Month. CADA, CASA and the Indiana Department of Child Services are kicking off the awareness campaign tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Nancy J. Dembowski Convention Center in downtown Knox with a Pinwheels for Prevention candle lighting ceremony. Members of the public are invited to come show their support for children in the community. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place inside.

CASA Swearing-In Ceremony Held Friday in Starke Circuit Court

In a ceremony held open to the public, four Court Appointed Special Advocate trainees were sworn in to their duties by Judge Kim Hall in Starke Circuit Court. Rhonda Adcock, CASA director, said each of the trainees are volunteers with a passion to serve children who have gone through a rigorous screening and training process in order to be available to advocate for children in the court who have been abused or neglected.

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National Adoption Day Ceremony Held in Starke Circuit Court

Friday was National Adoption Day, offering a time for courts across the country to raise awareness of children in foster care who are ready and waiting to be adopted. Rhonda Adcock, director of the Starke County CASA program, told the audience assembled in the courtroom of the importance of adoption and the effect it can have on a child eagerly awaiting their “forever” family.

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CASA Volunteers Needed in Starke County

Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, volunteers are needed to shepherd abused or neglected children who are taken from their parents by the state through the court system. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall says that happens for a variety of reasons.

“We have pregnant mothers who intentionally abuse drugs, and then their babies are born with harmful drugs in their bodies. Children are often raised around dangerous meth labs, which is an epidemic in this county. Those labs give off toxic chemicals. You know one in four children in Starke County lives in poverty, and we’ve had children living in homes that are completely uninhabitable. We’ve had evidence where snow’s coming through the walls in the winter time,” said Hall.

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Marshall County Commissioners Receive CASA Program Update

Marshall County CASA Director Haley Kittrell gave an update about the program to the commissioners last week.

She explained that there are 40 CASA volunteers who help children in the court system. At the end of February of this year, 62 children were identified as neglected or abused. Fifty-three of those children were aided in the CASA program.

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Candlelight Vigil Planned to Honor Victims of Child Abuse

April is Prevent Child Abuse Month and the Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, CASA and the Department of Child Services in Starke County will be holding a candlelight vigil to honor victims of child abuse on Tuesday, April 16. CADA Representative Wendy Elam invites you to participate.

“We will have a moment of silence led by Pastor Heyboer from the First Baptist Church in Knox,” said Elam. “It will be held in the municipal parking lot adjacent to the Knox police station. Everyone is welcome.”

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CASA Accepting Volunteer Training Applications

Representatives of the Starke County Court-Appointed Special Advocate program have announced the program is now taking applications for their fall volunteer training.

CASA volunteers work to help children find safe, permanent homes where they can thrive, as it is not uncommon in Starke County for abused and neglected children to be taken from their homes and placed into temporary foster care because their parents cannot or will not care for them. Each advocate is specially trained to look out for the child’s best interests.

CASA encourages anyone interested to call (574) 772-7200 for more information. The beginning of the fall training class has been scheduled for Sept. 18, with a deadline to apply of Aug. 18. For those who would like to invest their time and attention in becoming a powerful voice for local children, call CASA or email starkecountycasa@yahoo.com.

CASA Training Scheduled for March 6th

The Starke County Court Appointed Special Advocate program, or CASA, will soon have a training class for volunteers.

Volunteers in the program are appointed by the court to express the wishes of a child in court and advocate the best interest of the child for the duration of their court case. You should have a passion for serving abused or neglected children, have good communication skills and dependable transportation.

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New CASA Director Named

Rhonda Adcock

Judge Kim Hall has named a new CASA Director for Starke County. The new director will be assuming the duties held for the past four years by Ron Henningsmith.

“Rhonda Adcock has been a CASA volunteer with our program for just over a year now and she’s a very capable young lady,” said Henningsmith. “I decided that I need to step aside and let someone else take the reigns at the helm and she has gracefully accepted that challenge.”

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Swearing in Ceremony Scheduled for CASA Volunteers

Ron Henningsmith, Director of the Starke County CASA organization, is announcing that a new class of CASA volunteers will be sworn in by Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall on Monday, November 21st, at 4:00 p.m.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a nationwide organization that acts on behalf of children in court cases.

According to the CASA website, 71 of Indiana’s 92 counties have CASA organizations. There are almost 3,000 volunteers statewide.

James Keen

James Keen, 59, of Knox, Indiana, passed away Thursday, July 21st, 2011.  Funeral services will be Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. CT at the Knox United Methodist Church.  Visitation is Sunday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. CT at the Braman and Son Memorial Chapel in Knox with a 7:00 p.m. Masonic Service.  Memorials may be made to CASA.

Week in Review for December 6th-10th, 2010

Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.

Diana Jedynak, 67, died of fire related injuries after her home caught fire early Monday morning in Washington Township. Indiana State Fire Marshal, Fred Sumpter, said the investigation into the cause of the fire was postponed due to the weather conditions and the integrity of the structure.

Northwest Indiana Forum, Inc.

The Northwest Indiana Forum’s Board of Directors have voted to acknowldge the organization’s service territory to extend beyond Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Starke Counties to include Newton, Jasper and Pulaski Counties.

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