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November 1, 2013 - CASA Swears in 8 New Volunteers


On Friday, November 1st eight new CASA volunteers were sworn in at the Marshall County Circuit Court with the Honorable Judge Curtis D. Palmer. 

Pictured are (front): Haley Kittrell (CASA Director), Stephanie Burkus, Jennifer Brown, Lisa Rizek, and Bonnie Salyer.  (Back): Gary Burkett, Tracy Lynn, Allison Kara, Rhonda Kinney and the Honorable Judge Curtis D. Palmer.


These volunteers have gone through 33 hours of pre-service training that include topics such as child welfare laws and reporting, the family court process, mental health, communicating as a CASA volunteer, substance abuse, domestic violence and other topics necessary for our volunteers to advocate for children and their best interests as effectively as possible.  The volunteers were able to hear from some relevant speakers including the Director of the local Department of Child Services, Michael Carroll; an institutional investigator from the Indiana Department of Child Services, Michael Kittrell; a local ongoing caseworker with the Department of Child Services, Brad Samuel; Officer Nick Laffoon from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Jim Burroughs from the CASA Board of Directors and a former CASA volunteer and several current CASA volunteers: Aimee Ellinger, Geniene Collins, Stuart Krynock, and Jim Kenny. 


June 28, 2013 - Retired Educator and CASA Director Honored for Her Work with Children


Children have always been at the center of Melody Kruger’s life.  In 2006, when Kruger officially retired from teaching in the Eastern Pulaski School Corporation and as a principal for the Plymouth School Corporation, she continued to help children in her community by reinvigorating the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Marshall County.  CASA is an Indiana Supreme Court program that includes volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children.



On June 19th Kruger was honored for her years of service by the Supreme Court and the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.   The award was presented by Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush.   Following the ceremony, Justice Rush said, “Melody’s dedication and passion for children are remarkable.  She has spent her entire career improving the lives of children. The state is fortunate she invested her energy into CASA.”


Kruger recently retired again, this time as director of the Marshall County CASA program.  During the past seven years she recruited, trained and supervised many volunteers in Marshall County.  She advocated for many children herself and is an active member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association. Haley Kittrell, the new Marshall County CASA director and the person who nominated Kruger for the award explained, “Melody makes everyone around her passionate about the welfare of children.”


April 26, 2013 CASA Swearing in ceremony of new volunteers

Pictured are: (left to right)  Haley Kittrell (Director), Sue Thompson, Stuart Krynock and Jessica Choquette (new volunteers) and the Honorable Judge Curtis D. Palmer




April 17, 2013 Candlelight Vigil to Support Child Abuse Awareness Month

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and the Indiana Department of Child Services across the state of Indiana held 92 candlelight vigils simultaneously in each county. The vigils were to raise the awareness of child abuse and prevention.


The Marshall County Office held their candlelight vigil in the parking lot of their office at 2125 North Oak Road, between Jimmy Johns and Wings. Michael Carroll, Director of the local DCS office welcomed everyone to the event. Representatives participating in the candlelight vigil include law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, CASA and their volunteers, employees of the DCS office, parents and the general public. More than 50 citizens were on hand.


Click here to view the ful article



March 13, 2013 - CASA Travels to Indianapolis for CASA Rally

03/18/13 Haley Kittrell, the new Director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Marshall County recently traveled to Indianapolis to join over 300 CASA volunteers and directors from all over the state for a CASA Rally at the Statehouse. Kittrell took CASA volunteers Aimee Ellinger and Jordan McIntire to the event with her...click here to view full article



January 7, 2013 - New CASA Director Announced

Monday morning the county commissioners were introduced to the executive Director of the local CASA program.


Melody Kruger, former director said in her 33 plus years in education she became increasingly aware of challengers students were facing; students who came to school with unexplained marks and bruises, stories of domestic violence, kids who were hungry or in dirty clothes, and others who visited the school nurse just to talk. She said she became aware of CASA in 2002 and became a volunteer and the director in 2006. She said, “I wish we had worked ourselves out of a job, but looking at the statistics you can see we haven’t.” At the end of November 2012 there were 72 children in Marshall County identified as abused or neglected.



Kruger then introduced Haley Kittrell, a three year trained CASA volunteer with a criminal justice degree. Kittrell began her position on December 31st.


Haley spoke of the need for dedicated volunteers. She said, “The need is still growing every day….A volunteer gets the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s live.” She then said the next 6-week training course will run February 26th through April 4th, 3 hours a night on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. There are currently 11 potential volunteers interested in attending the training course.


Ms. Kittrell thanked Commissioner Jack Roose for recognizing the safety priority within the county and provided ID badges for her as a means of visible recognition. She then asked to have ID badges volunteers and noted, “These would be helpful to for volunteers to take along when meeting with the families, service providers and in a school setting where safety has become paramount.”


The commissioners approved the request.

The new director closed by saying, “We would like to thank you again for your attention today and for allowing us to express our gratitude for all you have done and continue to do for our organization. We are passionate about our volunteers and the children we serve, and we would not be able to do so without support from the community and people like each of you.”


November 2012 - Swearing in Ceremony

The most recent training class was sworn in by Judge Curtis D. Palmer of the Marshall County Circuit Court on November 20, 2012. The class includes (from left to right): Melody Kruger (Executive Director, CASA of Marshall County from 2006-2013); Rosemary L. Hall; Brooke Bussie; Jordan McIntire; The Honorable Judge Curtis D. Palmer; Chastity Keller; and Louis A. Morales.


December 2, 2011 - Swearing in Ceremony

Plymouth, Indiana - Marshall County Circuit Court.  These newly trained volunteers have successfully completed 33 hours of initial training which focused on the court system, child development, family dynamics, cultural competency, communication skills, writing a court report, and skills needed to advocate for a child who has been abused/neglected.

Pictured are CASA Director Melody Kruger, Kimberly Shortt, Kristin Threlkel, Judge Curtis D. Palmer, Phyllis Horvath, Michelle Tanner, and Lily Davis.

December 2009 - CASA of Marshall County Receives National Certification Recognizing the Quality of Its Work for Abused and Neglected Children....see story below.

CASA of Marshall County has just been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association.  This certification recognizes that CASA of Marshall County is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy.

According to Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association, “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf.  This certification says CASA of Marshall County has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”

CASA of Marshall County news article in June 9, 2009 South Bend Tribune.......CASA's 'Speak Up' billboards draw attention to need.



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