Roundabout, Jan. 9, 2018
Steve Sanders from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law will speak about free speech on campus. The meeting will be in the Frangipani Room.
This week’s news
Bratton named Paul Harris Fellow
President Mike Baker presented Drew Bratton with a Paul Harris Plus I pin for his contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
Sara Laughlin’s husband, Tim, died last weekend. A Celebration of Life event has been scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union.
Jan. 9 presentation
Earon Davis introduced our speaker, Kristin Bishay, executive director of Monroe County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA recruits and trains volunteers to advocate in the court system for children who have been abused or neglected at home.
Kristin painted a disturbing picture of the negative effect the opioid epidemic is having on children in Monroe County. Two years ago CASA served 469 children; last year the number rose to 710.
The reason for the rise is the number of families affected by opioid abuse. She said 98 percent of new cases referred to CASA involve a parent with an opioid addiction. Compounding the situation is that cases involving addictions take longer to wind through the courts, so children linger in the system longer. She also said the reunification rate between children and parents is going down.
She played a video to put a face on the services provided by CASA. Colton was interviewed by his aunt, Laura Jane, with whom he now lives. He had run away from his biological mother 15 times, always to his grandmother’s house in search of safety. Yet he was always placed back into home with his abusive mother. His CASA case worker, Bob, “was the only one who helped me,” Colton said. “I finally had somebody by my side to help me tell my side of the story.” Colton was removed from his home and placed with his aunt. “CASA has given me the chance to live a life I never had before,” he said on the video. “It’s good to be home finally.”
Kristin said Colton’s case is not unusual.
She said children with a CASA spend 50 percent less time in the foster system, and are 50 percent less likely to reenter the system. She added that Monroe County CASA currently has 128 kids on a waiting list to get an adult advocate.
In regard to people who work with children who are abused and neglected, she said the CASA volunteers are “absolutely my heroes.” She said there’s also a huge shortage of foster homes, but the foster parents she knows are very good – “pretty much saints, if you ask me.”
For more information on Monroe County CASA, you can call 812-333-2272.
Our Jan. 9 Meeting
President Mike Baker led the meeting. Aleisha Kropf was our greeter, and Jim Harvey led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave a reflection.
Happy dollars were collected for a variety of good news.
Kate Cruikshank introduced our guests. Lauren Bryant was a guest of Michael Shermis, and Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer was a guest of Earon Davis.
Matt Stitsinger, Jan. 8
Hank Walter, Jan. 11
Marty Donnelly, Jan. 12
Kyla Cox Deckard, 6 years
Kim Gray, 1 year after rejoining the club
Jim Shea, 6 years
Reporter: Bob Zaltsberg
Photographer: Charlie Osborne