Who is a CASA?
Court Appointed Special Advocates are community volunteers trained to represent the best interests of children who are part of the court system due to abuse or neglect. As a CASA, you can make a huge difference in a child's life during this uncertain time.
Advocates are assigned their first case after 30 hours of training. This training consists of class time, reading, courtroom observation, and shadowing a seasoned volunteer on a visit. Once training is completed, advocates have the support of the Director and other volunteers as they work their case.
CASAs average 5 hours a month on their cases. They must be available to attend court hearings approximately once every three months and team meetings approximately once a month. CASAs are also required to complete at least 12 hours of in-service training per year.
Make a Difference
Watch this short video about why CASAs volunteer their time:
Or you can help provide funding for the program both now and in the future by making a tax deductible gift to the Dubois County CASA Endowment:
A History of Helping
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) was founded in 1984 to train volunteers to become court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children in court cases. The nonprofit group, based in Seattle, has 940+ offices and more than 77,000 volunteers in every state but North Dakota (where child advocates are paid professionals).
In 1991, Judge Hugo (Chad) Songer initiated the Dubois County CASA program to advocate for children who had been abused or neglected. This was partially in response to state legislation which mandated a CASA for the most serious Children in Need of Services (CHINS) cases.
In 2005, the state law was changed to require a CASA for all CHINS cases, regardless of severity. The Dubois County CASA program, as it existed at the time, was not prepared to handle the increased caseload. John Siebert agreed to become Director of the CASA Program, where he spearheaded a strong effort to recruit additional CASA volunteers. The effort was largely successful and the Dubois County CASA program expanded to meet the needs of the county. In March of 2007, the Dubois County CASA Program was recognized by the State Office of CASA as a state-certified program in compliance of all standards.
Dubois County CASA Team
Dubois Co. Circuit Court Judge
Nathan Verkamp has been the Judge of the Dubois Circuit Court since 2015. Prior to that, he worked in Dubois County and the surrounding counties. His law practice was a general practice and he worked in many areas of law to include juvenile law. As Judge of the Circuit Court, he presides over all juvenile cases in Dubois County. This includes all cases involving children in need of services (CHINS). CHINS cases are those in which a child under the age of 18 has been the victim of abuse or neglect. The CASA program provides an unbiased advocate for the children going through the court system. The CASA program in Dubois County is sponsored by the Dubois Circuit Court and funded by the Dubois County Council and state grants.... Read More
CASA Program Director
Deena has been the Director of the Dubois County CASA Program since 2008 and served as a volunteer for 2 years before joining the staff. As Director, she is responsible for the overall management of the Program and all aspects of the Programs operations. This primarily involves the supervision and coordination of a volunteer service program that provides CASA services to abused and neglected children. Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to, resource development and maintenance, recruitment and training and supervision of volunteers, community and public relations, program planning, Program liaison, personnel management and fiscal management.... Read More
John has been a CASA volunteer for more than 20 years and during his tenure, he has served in a number of different roles, including as a past Director of Dubois County CASA. John is currently the CASA Recruitment Chair and his duties include creating visibility for the county-wide CASA program, various speaking engagements, and promoting communitications for recruitment with existing volunteers. Outside of CASA, John runs a successful consulting business where he works closely with businesses and nonprofits in planning and organizational development. He and his wife Lisa are the legal guardians for two young adults with special needs who reside in local group homes.... Read More
Current CASA Volunteers
Sally Gogel Fischer
If you believe that "In giving, you shall receive", then becoming a CASA may be what fits your desire. Being a CASA has opened my eyes to issues in our society, it has shown me the need for positive people to step forward, and enabled me to see and hear life situations that are affecting many youth today. Maybe one of the most heart-stirring comments was when one of my youths said "Joe, you don't know what I have been through in my life." I love being a CASA and through the highs and lows, I really do feel that Nellie, my dog, and I can and do make a difference. - Joe Buehler, CASA Volunteer
Over the years I have had some long, tough cases. At times I thought that there would never be a good solution for the children, but some way, somehow, the system worked. I know there are children that are happy today and I feel that I had, in some way, helped bring about the best solution possible. - Dan Mundy, CASA Volunteer
Being a CASA can be very frustrating at times, but then I remember what the guy who got me interested in the program says, "If we don't do it, who will?" As a CASA volunteer I am able to truly make a difference in a one-on-one situation that probably would not be possible in most other volunteer opportunities. And it's also opened my eyes and made me more aware and appreciative of my surroundings, my community, and my family. - Ann Staff, CASA Volunteer