The 19th annual Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate (GAL/CASA) conference will be held on Saturday, September 19 at the Marriott East, 7202 E. 21st Street, Indianapolis. The conference provides volunteers with specialized training to assist them in their advocacy for abused and neglected children. The Supreme Court will recognize Patricia Hart Gumbert and Katie Hall, along with foster children who wrote poetry about their experiences, at a noon lunch.
Patricia Hart Gumbert, an Allen County volunteer for 30 years, has served more than 140 children. She has gone beyond her duties to help families by purchasing groceries, making a wedding cake and providing children with items of need. Gumbert was nominated by a fellow volunteer and Allen Superior Court Magistrate Lori K. Morgan.
Katie Hall is the director of Crossroads CASA, a multi-county program serving Jasper, Benton and Newton Counties. Hall has directed the program since 2008 and is responsible for expanding the program to two additional counties. She was nominated by Jasper Circuit Court Judge John Potter, Newton Circuit Judge Jeryl Leach, a volunteer and a DCS staff attorney.
The “Kids Can’t Wait” conference will include educational sessions on the effects of domestic violence on children, sex abuse, sex trafficking, the heroin epidemic, adoption and compassion fatigue. In 2014, more than 3,400 volunteers advocated for 18,000 abused and neglected children; however, more than 4,000 children still need an advocate. For more information, visit casa.IN.gov.