Indianapolis child guardian organization pulls out of contract

Bizar Male

The organization that has provided court-appointed advocates for children passing through the Marion County judicial system for nearly 40 years has pulled out of contract negotiations more than a week before the new contract takes effect May 1. 

The move throws into uncertainty the county’s ability to provide enough guardians ad litem or child advocates, known as GALs or CASAs, to children who find themselves navigating legal dilemmas in the judicial system, like divorces, child abuse or neglect cases. 

Child Advocates had been the court’s provider of court-appointed special advocate services since 1982, but an external audit completed in January raised flags about how the organization was spending city funds. The city’s contract with Child Advocates that started January 2020 for $5.4 million had to be re-negotiated twice to be increased to $8.8 million, according to the Office of Public Health and Safety.

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