KANE COUNTY BACK-TO-SCHOOL
Back to School time comes with mixed emotions for all involved. Teachers are excited to welcome their new students and work hard to get their curriculum plans and rooms ready. Children are either excited, nervous, or scared for a new year. A new school year brings new students, teachers, much to learn and a new routine.
Not all children have the same level of support, preparation, and confidence for the school year. Students come from different backgrounds, situations and family dynamics which can cause tension for families when the school year starts. Unfortunately, children who experience abuse and neglect may not have anyone to tell or confide in.
The beginning of the school year does not necessarily indicate a time when more child abuse and neglect is occurring, but it is a time when signs of suffering become apparent to adults who come in contact with these children. Numbers of abuse and neglect increase in the beginning of the school year when teachers, coaches, health professionals and other adults may suspect abuse or neglect. These individuals play a huge role and are some of the best advocates for the health and safety of children.
In addition to many other adults who work with children throughout the year, educators are on the front lines and can identify and report abuse they suspect. Educators are trained for these situations and these professionals include teachers, school counselors, school social workers, school nurses, special education professionals, administrators, and other school personnel have a special role in helping maltreated children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families stated why educators are so important in the safety and development of children:
“There are many reasons why educators are so vital in identifying, treating, and preventing child maltreatment. First, they have close and consistent contact with children. Second, educators have a professional and legally mandated responsibility for reporting suspected maltreatment. While educators facilitate children’s learning, children cannot learn effectively if their attention or energy is sapped by the conflicts inherent in being maltreated. Third, school personnel have a unique opportunity to advocate for children, as well as provide programs and services that can help children and strengthen families. It is important to realize that a positive relationship with a supporting adult may enhance the resiliency of children who have been abused, are at-risk for being abused, or live in a home where no maltreatment occurs but the family experiences other problems, such as substance abuse.” (Source)
Educators are positioned as observers of a child for ten months out of the year. Being aware of the maltreatment that could be occurring and how to report it and when, is very important. We thank those educators in addition to CASA Volunteers who are consistently looking out for the most vulnerable in our community and our future leaders.
For those children who are starting a new school year and are already in the foster system, changing schools due to a move can make a stressful situation for the child. Being removed from everything they know, their friends and having to relearn new routines after being adjusted to a foster home can be extremely difficult.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Volunteers are exceptional advocates for children and their dedication provides much support throughout many areas of their lives. Children in the foster system are able to receive the attention and help they require at school thanks to their CASA’s advocating, checking in and following up with educators.
To help children in the foster system start the year off right CASA Kane County Volunteers can bring them a fully stocked backpack with supplies and things they need to feel prepared for the year. A new backpack may not be a huge deal to some students starting school but to those we serve it means the world and can brighten their day.
CASA Kane County has provided over seventy-five children’s backpacks and school supplies in the past year alone. Our goal is to ensure children in foster care have a chance at a successful, safe and supportive home and school experience.
The advocacy CASAs provide for the children they serve, by monitoring and providing insight on their educational needs and goals is imperative. Below are some ways CASA Volunteers support their children throughout the school year.
Advocate and Understand Child’s Educational Needs & Goals
- Ask their strengths
- Set specific and attainable goals
- Give positive feedback
- Encourage questions
- Monitor homework progress
- Meet with school personnel
- Attend Back to School Nights
- Write reports needs in court
- Review school records and education portfolio
- Request tutoring and help locate services
- Discuss social skills and peer relationships
- Explore extracurricular activities
This school year CASA Kane County is asking community members to consider becoming a CASA Volunteer and help children in need. CASA Volunteers act as the eyes and ears of the judge and provides important insight into each case in finding a safe and permanent home for the children in need.
Neglect and Abuse cases in Kane County have increased over the past four years by 217 percent. Please support educational advocacy for the children served in Kane County and join us for our next General Information Meeting or complete the four online tasks to become a CASA.
Want More Information About Volunteering for CASA?
Take the first step and follow these steps online or attend a General Information Meeting in Person:
- CASA/GAL Volunteer General Info
- Becoming a CASA/GAL Volunteer Video
- CASA/GAL Role & Responsibilities
- Have More Questions? Answers to More FAQ’S
Follow the Link to find General Information Meeting Dates and Register:
CASA Kane County is nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for the best interest of children in abuse and neglect situations throughout Northern Illinois. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem) volunteers are specially trained to become the objective voice of a child for a judge.
CASA Kane County is currently seeking VOLUNTEERS! To learn more and Change a Child’s Story, please visit the organization’s website at www.casakanecounty.org or call 630-232-4484.