CASA Kane County hosts 'Hands Around the Courthouse' April 7 during Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. CASA Kane County is hosting its annual Hands Around the Courthouse event at noon Thursday, April 7, in the historic Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St. in Geneva. All members of the community are encouraged to participate.
Child abuse and neglect has risen at alarming rates following the pandemic. Rates of child abuse and neglect are five times higher for children in families with low socio-economic status compared to children in families with higher socio-economic status. Those who have spent time in the child welfare system are more likely to face incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment. They are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to be trafficked.
The annual event provides an opportunity for awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month while reminding the community how you can help protect the well-being of all children.
Attendees can learn more about what they can do as a community member through small acts that help protect children, strengthen our families, and foster the health and well-being of the next generation.
Hear directly from Kane County Circuit Judge Susan Boles, as well as Gloria Kelley, executive director of CASA Kane County.
Remarks also will be provided by Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns. Attendees will learn from these key individuals who are able to share the ongoing initiatives of judiciary, agencies, and community volunteers to keep children safe.
After the brief program, participants will be asked to join hands for a moment of silence acknowledging local victims of child abuse and neglect. The entire ceremony is open to the public and lasts about 20 minutes.
Throughout the month of April, CASA Kane County also draws awareness to this issue by displaying blue pinwheels on the courthouse lawn, representing every child the organization served in the previous year. Last year, the organization served over 500 children in abuse/neglect and probate court. Fortunately, every child was appointed a CASA/GAL volunteer to advocate for their best interests with safety and permanency as a priority. A 200% increase in cases has called for a significant need to find more community volunteers and resources to meet the needs of every child.
CASA/GAL volunteers make a significant impact in the life of an abused or neglected child. National CASA statistics found that children with a CASA volunteer:
• Are half as likely to re-enter the foster care system;
• Are more likely to receive education, medical and other needed services;
• Will experience fewer, traumatic placement moves;
• Will spend eight months less in the foster care system than those without a volunteer.
CASA Kane County is issuing a call to action for community residents to stand against child abuse and take action to support children and youth who have been abused or neglected and those who remain silent. Everyone can do his or her part by attending the Hands Around the Courthouse event, picking up a yard sign calling for more volunteers, learning about becoming a CASA/GAL volunteer, donating, reviewing the mandated reporting toolkit on the CASA website or most importantly, by calling 1-800-25-ABUSE to make a report, if abuse or neglect is suspected.
CASA Kane County is a guardian ad litem, nonprofit volunteer organization that has been advocating for the best interests of children within the juvenile court system since 1988 and relies solely on philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, grants, and special event fundraising to support its operations. To learn more, visit www.casakanecounty.org or call (630) 232-4484.