Before 1982, local victims of child abuse and neglect had no one to represent them. That changed with the formation of Child Advocates Inc., when volunteers began looking out for the best interests of area children.
The organization aims to provide representation to any child who has suffered abuse and/or neglect, making sure they have a voice in court and helping to ensure they have a safe, permanent home, says Cindy Booth, CEO at Child Advocates.
“We want to help children not just survive but also thrive,” she says.
An increasing need
Child Advocates is the only organization to hold a contract with Marion County to provide best interest advocacy for thousands of vulnerable children. It relies heavily on the efforts of some 600 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers.
The need for its services has increased in recent years, says Booth, in part as a result of the substance abuse crisis in the Indianapolis community.
“A large part of what we do is driven by what is happening in the community,” she says. “Like many communities in the United States, some of the children we help are in a situation of neglect because their parents are struggling with addiction.”
A critical mission
Huntington has acknowledged the growing need by supporting Child Advocates in numerous ways. Starting with employees serving on both the organization’s advisory board and board of directors, Huntington has helped to advance the organization’s critical mission.
“They’ve been really supportive and great to work with,” Chief Advancement Officer Katy Cummings says. “We recently had a 5K race called the Superhero Run where participants are encouraged to dress up like superheroes. It’s our big fundraiser for the year, and Huntington has created videos to help promote it. They’ve been a tremendous ally.”
About the organization
Name: Child Advocates, Inc.
City: Indianapolis, Indiana
Phone: (317) 205-3055
Mission: Child Advocates engages community volunteers and staff to protect children who are victims of child abuse. We are their voices in court, ensuring all children thrive in a safe and secure home.
How you can help
Child Advocates, Inc.has a long-term goal of recruiting 1,000 CASA volunteers. Visit Child Advocates’ website for more information on how you can help.