What does CASA do?
The Juvenile Court system assigns cases to CASA, and passes them on to volunteer CASAs who advocate for the children involved. CASAs– the individual advocates– “ensure the child(ren)’s voice is heard in the court” and recommend the best courses of action to the court. Advocacy topics include healthcare, wellbeing, education and more. This work is especially important because children often can’t advocate for themselves within the complex legal system.
The impact of this work is evident for those CASA serves. They shared the following story: Recently, a volunteer CASA noticed the child in her care was not being provided with proper hair care from the foster parents. This child is from a different culture than the foster parents, so the judge requested that the foster parents learn about hair care for the child. This had not happened, so the CASA took it upon herself to research hair stylists that could assist. She set up a class about hair and skin care, and opened the class to anyone in the community who would benefit. This CASA went above and beyond to help this child feel more comfortable and to assist the foster parents.
Want to get involved?
In the interest of raising awareness about the high numbers of children in the foster care system and recruiting long-term volunteers, CASA is constantly trying to be more visible in the community. CASA gained 14 new volunteers in 2021, but they still need more volunteer advocates! The more volunteers they have, the more children they can help.
In their service area alone, more than 240 foster children still need support, so they encourage anyone interested in becoming a volunteer CASA or taking training classes to reach out for more information. They can be contacted by phone at 309.343.4299, online at www.casaofwestcentralillinois.org, through Facebook at CASA of West Central Illinois | Facebook, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.