Have you ever considered being a volunteer advocate for children involved in court proceedings in Hamilton County, Indiana? The Hamilton County Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)/Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program was established to advocate for the best interests of the children involved in court proceedings in the county. The Hamilton County GAL/CASA is in need of volunteers, with and without legal training, to assist with the growing need of advocates. When children are involved in court cases, the judge may choose a GAL or CASA to look out for the child’s interests and welfare. GAL/CASA volunteers are the “eyes and ears of the court.” A GAL/CASA volunteer’s purpose is to act for the child in the courtroom, deal with social services and be the voice for the child in cases of family crisis. The GAL/CASA protects the child’s safety and interests throughout the entirety of the case, whether it is a divorce, paternity, guardianship, abuse, neglect or juvenile delinquency-related case. Funding for the Hamilton County GAL/CASA Program is generated primarily by Hamilton County with some expenses covered by the State of Indiana and through grants. Parties may be required to reimburse the GAL Program for services rendered. Hamilton County GAL/CASA Program Director Shelley Haymaker explained the process and training involved to become a GAL or CASA. Haymaker oversees the GAL/CASA Programs for both Hamilton and neighboring Tipton counties. Read on for more of the article...
Program Director and Attorneys hosted the GAL for Kids Show in order to educate our community about what we do and to get involved. Click here to watch...
In a Follow-Up Article, Program Director Quoted Again in Indianapolis Star Regarding USA Gymnastics' Failure to Report
Shelley Haymaker, an Indiana attorney who represents abused and neglected children in court cases and is familiar with reporting laws, criticized USA Gymnastics' handling of the situation. “Nowhere in the statute does it say to hire your own investigator,” she said. “It says to report immediately." Furthermore, Haymaker as well as other experts have told IndyStar that such investigations are best handled by law enforcement experts, not by organizations that might have a conflict of interest or whose investigation might impede a subsequent criminal investigation. Click here to read the full article.
Expectations tend to be high for children’s quality of life in Hamilton County’s high-end suburban communities. Only the best. Only the safest. Only the brightest of opportunities for kids to thrive. Yet, even here, the child sex trade festers. In 2016, authorities identified nine children from Hamilton County, all girls, who were purchased by adult buyers for sex, often in hotels in the Castleton area. The youngest victim was 11 years old. Click to continue reading the article...
Program Director Quoted in Indianapolis Star and USA Today about USA Gymnastics' Failure to Report Abuse
Shelley Haymaker, an Indiana attorney who represents abuse victims in child welfare cases, said USA Gymnastics’ approach “sickens” her. “USAG may not have been the hand that ultimately abused these innocent children,” Haymaker said, “but it was definitely the arm.” Read for more...
When sexual misconduct by the adults in our schools gets covered up by confidentiality agreements, the results for our children can be devastating … read the article here.