Updated child welfare law leaves McHenry County CASA in need of volunteers
An update to the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, effective Jan. 1, 2022, states that all children in abuse and neglect court in Illinois shall be appointed a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).
CASA volunteers give a voice to abused and neglected children by being a consistent, stable adult in the child's life and by providing the court with needed information regarding the child's well-being.
CASA of McHenry County is very excited that every child now has the opportunity for an advocate.
However, the program expects to soon have more cases than volunteers.
More than 100 CASA volunteers currently serve more than 135 children, but there are more than 225 children in McHenry County's juvenile court system.
Many of these children are in foster homes and might remain in the system for years before achieving a permanent home.
Every child deserves to live in a safe, loving, forever home, and the CASA volunteers help to make that happen. Evidence shows that children with a CASA volunteer achieve permanency more quickly and with more sustainable outcomes.
CASA of McHenry County conducts quarterly trainings for new advocates.
To fill these sessions, CASA is hosting informational meetings about the volunteer role of a CASA.
In-person information sessions will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in the CASA office, 630 Route 31, Suite 101, Crystal Lake; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the Cary Area Public Library, 1606 Three Oaks Road, Cary; and 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, in the Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St.
A virtual information session will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Additional information is on the website www.CASAMcHenryCounty.org.
The foster care system is filled with compassionate caseworkers, attorneys, foster families, and therapists, but each person has a huge caseload and time commitment. CASA volunteers take on a single case to dedicate time to collecting the information the judge needs to make decisions in each child's best interests.
Presiding Judge Christopher Harmon says, "CASA provides dedication and service in protecting the interests and promoting the wellbeing of our children. The children truly are our future. CASA's continued work and efforts are and will continue to be incredibly important and vital in ensuring a better tomorrow for our future generations."
For more information, visit www.casamchenrycounty.org or attend one of the informational meetings.