SEI Voices Gets Grant To Help Kids

Posted On January 17, 2018

By Mike Perleberg

(Madison, Ind.) – A $20,000 grant has been awarded to a local organization that accompanies and speaks for children tied up in the court and welfare system.

Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children, Inc. serves Jefferson and Ripley counties. The non-profit is one of almost 1,000 CASA and Guardian ad Litem programs across the country that recruit, train and support 87,000 best-interest volunteers who help ensure that children who have entered the court and child welfare systems receive appropriate services, have a voice in determining their futures and, ultimately, find a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.

The organization is receiving the generous Local Rural Grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The funds will be used to recruit, screen, and train more CASA volunteers in both counties.

“Cases of child abuse have more than doubled in the past two years for Jefferson County. Ripley County numbers have more than tripled in three years – going from 50 in 2014 to 152 in 2017. We currently have 232 children on our wait list who need an advocate,” says SEI Voices for Children executive director Tonya M. Ruble-Richter.

Ruble-Richter says the needs of local children coming into care are more complicated than ever before.

“These cases can be chaotic when dealing with the multiple issues in every case, often including drug use, physical abuse, sexual abuse, extreme neglect, and educational issues – just to name a few,” she explains.

Voices for Children is holding its next volunteer training beginning on February 23, 2018.  For more information about becoming a best-interests volunteer or other ways to get involved in changing a child’s life, contact Tonya Ruble-Richter at tonya@voicesforchildren.net or (812) 274-0877.

SEI Voices for Children is planning to open the doors of a new office in Batesville on Thursday, February 1. The new office is located in the Rom Weber building. Ruble-Richter and the Ripley County volunteer coordinator will spend time in that office each week, with a goal of having staff there full-time by October.