CASA volunteers are trained to act as first-hand experts on the individual needs of abused and neglected children in foster care, giving them the best possible chance at a hopeful future.
The CASA 15th Judicial Circuit Organization is the only program that advocates for children through the court system. The CASA program trains and case manages volunteers to provide advocacy in the courts for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Every day four children in the U.S. die from child abuse and neglect. DCFS receives hundreds of hotline calls each year alone in Lee, Carroll and Ogle Counties. Caseworkers, treatment providers, foster placements, and attorneys change frequently during the course of a case.
The CASA volunteer is the one consistent person advocating for the minor(s) throughout the life of the case.
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer who is appointed by the judge as Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children.
A CASA volunteer is appointed to one case at a time, and remains on the case until it is closed. Cases last an average of two years. By being independent investigators and advocates, our volunteers can make all the difference in these children’s lives.
Research shows that children with a CASA volunteer are much less likely to languish in long-term foster care.
Social Service Caseworkers generally are employed by state governments or other contracted agencies. They work on multiple cases at a time and are responsible for arranging or making referrals for services for parents and children. The CASA volunteer is assigned to only one case at a time, and therefore, is able to invest in the case with the children’s best interests being the sole focus. The CASA volunteer does not replace a social service caseworker on the case; he or she is an independent appointee of the court. The CASA has knowledge of community resources and can make independent recommendations to the court, while the social service caseworker is often restricted by agency or state budgets, policies and procedures.
It is necessary to maintain an experienced professional staff to recruit, train and case manage volunteers. There are also administrative, fundraising, and operating expenses involved in running an extensive nonprofit organization that must maintain transparency and compliance.
Absolutely it does – 100% stays local as each CASA program runs independently. Illinois CASA and the National CASA Association are supportive of local programs and provide valuable information regarding marketing and grant opportunities. We pay a minimum annual membership fee.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”