Who will be the voice for the children?

Wanda English Burnett


“We are looking for caring, compassionate people who have a heart for children...people who want to make a difference.” Rita Seig of Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children, told the Osgood Journal.

Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children is a program of Pathways Youth Shelter and Family Services that serves both Ripley and Jefferson counties. Their goal is to make a difference in a child’s life through the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) volunteer programs.
Right now in Ripley County 40 children are on a waiting list to have someone advocate for them as a CASA.

The CASA program isn’t new in Ripley County, but is in need of good people to volunteer.
“Being a CASA volunteer has literally changed my way of thinking,” Seig noted. She has been a volunteer for over a year and says the victories far outweigh the challenges. “These children need us now,” she said.

Volunteers are given all the tools and training needed to do the job. “It only takes a few hours per month and at the end of the day, you have been the voice for a child who might not have been heard in that way,” Seig noted. She said the children are victims of abuse or neglect and simply need an impartial person to get their feelings heard before the Judge.

Seig explained that after 30 hours of training, you are fully prepared to do the job. She said volunteers have great supervision and support. “You’re not on your own,” she noted. It takes about four hours per month for volunteers to meet with the children, make a few phone calls, and write a simple report. “It’s very easy to do,” she noted, adding, “anyone (who loves children) can do it.”

To qualify to be a volunteer you have to be 21-years old, a mature adult, have reliable transportation, and have a background check. The most important qualification is that you love children and want to help them.

It’s perfect for a retired person, or couple, or a busy mother of three as is Seig, who just wants to make a difference in a child’s life.

The children in these cases have done nothing wrong. They are simply the victims of abuse, neglect or even abandonment.

Seig is passionate about the program and asks others to join her. “Let me use your voice,” she pleaded. To find out more about the program and to sign on to be a volunteer, you can contact Seig at 812-209-9945. You can also contact Program Coordinator Pamela Moon at 812-265-3777 ext. 300, or 812-599-1448. You can go online at www.SEIvoices.com for additional information.