Clay County Indiana
History and Background
The mission of the Clay County CASA Program is to provide advocacy for the best interests of the children involved in Juvenile Court proceedings, as defined by the laws of the State of IN. We support the development, growth, recruitment, and training of community volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Become a CASA Volunteer and make a difference in a child's life!
The Court Appointed Special Advocate concept began in Seattle, Washington, during the early 1970's. There is now some version of the program in every state. Indiana has one of the largest networks of CASA Programs in the nation! Of the 92 counties in IN, 78 counties offer a CASA program. The Clay County CASA program was established in 1989.
Local programs train volunteers from their communities to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court, helping to ensure children's needs are met while they are in foster care and that these children have a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.
By law, our program must serve each Clay County child who has been adjudicated a CHINS (Children In Need of Services) by the Clay Circuit Court. These are all physically or sexually abused, neglected, or abandoned children who range in age from birth to 18 years. In addition, CASAs are sometimes appointed in juvenile delinquency, paternity, and custody cases.
The state legislature has provided empowering laws that give these programs the authority to operate. For example, juvenile proceedings are ordinarily closed to public inspection. CASA volunteer advocates are allowed to review any and all records (including medical) that pertain to their child's case.
The Clay County CASA Program is a county-run program that falls under the oversight of Judge Joseph D. Trout. The program is run on funds provided by the county and state, as well as other individual grants. CASA Kids, an account managed by the First Presbyterian Church, is funded solely by donation and provides clothing and other items of need to CASA kids in our area.
Valerie Clark is our newest Superstar!
Valerie grew up in Southern California but has lived in Indiana for the past 17 years. She has an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education and graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Valerie is mom to a daughter and two sons.
Valerie is currently teaching 2nd grade in the Clay Community School Corporation at East Side Elementary. She is very involved in school activities, including tutoring and drama club. Recently, she became involved in the Community Theatre of Clay County and will be acting in their next production! In her "free time", she enjoys traveling with her family, hiking and spending time with her friends.
Valerie has been a CASA volunteer for about one year. When choosing to become a CASA, she felt the ability to advocate for even one child could make a world of difference for that child. Valerie is guided in her work as a CASA, her career aspirations and her role as a mother by the quote, " Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work."
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