Indiana volunteer awarded advocate of the year for commitment to children

Written by: Leslie Hendricks Posted on: May 17, 2015 Blog: Advocate Spotlight

Frank west

On March 20, the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association honored Frank West, of CASA of Grant County, IN, with the G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year Award during its 30th annual National CASA conference in Chicago, IL. Each year, National CASA recognizes a volunteer who has made significant contributions to promoting the best interests of abused and neglected children.

West was selected because of his diligent and thorough work as a CASA volunteer and the significant positive impact he has made on children’s lives. West not only advocates for their physical well-being, but also ensures that their educational needs are met.

“Frank is a leader in his community, in his CASA program, and in the lives of children,” said Leslie Dunn, Indiana State Director, Guardian ad Litem/CASA. “You would have a hard time finding a person more passionate about children and being a CASA volunteer than Frank West.”

An example of West’s diligence comes from his work with “Kate” (name has been changed for confidentiality purposes). Kate was an older youth who had been shuffled through several foster homes. During these transitions, she often changed schools, and as a result, struggled to keep up with schoolwork. Kate told West she believed she had a mental disability, because she could not think of another reason why her grades were so bad. West petitioned the court to order educational and cognitive tests. The tests confirmed that Kate did not have a mental disability and that she was intelligent and creative. After completing the tests, Kate received assistance to fill in her educational gaps, and is set to graduate high school next spring.

In addition to his work as an advocate, West is an active member of Grant County CASA fundraising committee and often speaks for CASA at community events. He is also a volunteer at the Indiana state Fostering Futures pilot program. To see a short video about Frank West, visit

“We are incredibly proud of and thankful to each one of our 70,000 CASA volunteers across the country,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “But Frank West truly demonstrates the difference a volunteer can make in the life of a child. He is an inspiration and a superb role model for our national network.”

For more information about Frank West and his award, please contact Jim Clune at (800) 628-3233, Ext. 249; or e-mail Jim For more information about the National CASA Association, please view our website at

Frank West from Indiana CASA on Vimeo.

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