“I think it can’t be overemphasized the impact that can be made when we support children who otherwise may be caught up in generational patterns of abuse and neglect, through no fault of their own. If we can even make a small difference to improve their outcomes, I think we are using our time well!” Esther F.
Who is CASA Kane County?
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kane County is a Guardian ad Litem, nonprofit volunteer organization that advocates for the best interests of children in abuse, neglect and private guardianship cases within the Juvenile Court system. Relied upon by judges and most importantly, the children, CASAs are among the most respected volunteers and advocates in the community.
The first CASA began 45 years ago in Seattle, Washington by a Judge named David Soukup. He knew more needed to be done in the lives of children in the foster care system. Today there are over 1,000 organizations nationwide. We are proud to have several Chapelstreet attendees join in the CASA Kane County mission, including their new Executive Director Jim DiCiaula, who felt called in July 2022 to serve vulnerable children.
CASA Kane County works independently, but in collaboration with judiciary, agencies and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to find permanent and safe homes for children in the foster care system. The organization recruits, trains and supervises hundreds of community volunteers that are then supported by 24 professional staff, 24 Board of Directors and 28 Children’s Ambassador Panel members.
Who are the children CASA Kane County serves?
CASA Kane County serves 100% of abuse and neglect cases originating in Kane County. Year to date in September, we have served a total of 576 children in 334 cases. CASA has experienced a 217% increase in cases since Covid. Though all cases may originate in Kane County, approximately half remain in Kane County and half are placed outside of our direct area. Children range in age from birth to 21 and come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. They have been removed from their homes by (DCFS) Department of Child and Family Services because of abuse or neglect.
Chapelstreeter Esther F., who joined CASA as a volunteer this summer, believes,
“I think children are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our society. As Christians, we are called to try and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. CASA provides a great opportunity to do that! I think it can’t be overemphasized the impact that can be made when we support children who otherwise may be caught up in generational patterns of abuse and neglect, through no fault of their own. If we can even make a small difference to improve their outcomes, I think we are using our time well!”
Why is CASA so important?
In court proceedings involving children who’ve experienced abuse and neglect, CASA Kane County provides an unbiased, child-focused point of view that is vital to help determine what situations will allow a child to thrive. A judge then must decide if a child can safely return home to his or her family or if a permanent home must be arranged to keep a child healthy and safe. The CASA/GAL volunteer and organization acts as the voice for each child to ensure their best interests are in the forefront. Studies show that children benefitting from a CASA stay in school and thrive at much higher margins than those without.
Chapelstreet Member Doug K., felt called to the organization in the spring of 2020 when he was enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) studying the book of Acts. James 1:27 jumped out to him,
“This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” He knew God was speaking to him right there to sign up for CASA. He believes, “I have been shaken from my safe and secure comfort zone. I have learned God does not want us to stay in our zones—serving Him causes growth in our spiritual maturity and our knowledge of Him. It causes us to trust Him along the journey. It provides opportunities to be the presence of Jesus in tough situations.”
What does it take to become a CASA Volunteer?
CASA/GAL Kane County has a special distinction as a Guardian ad Litem because volunteers undergo training to become the crucial voice of a child in abuse, neglect and private guardianship cases. Onboarding training consists of 45 hours/ 8 weeks of training, most of which is virtual.
Chapelstreeter Naomi W. and CASA/GAL of 13 years states,
“Training was exceptional, from the onboard training to the countless number of training classes, online and in person that they offered; however, it was never overwhelming. After 13 years of volunteering, I am still learning ways to help our precious children. They truly would not have their needs meet if it were not for CASA/GAL’s helping them and the judges through our reports.” The most important benefit of being a CASA volunteer is the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the life of a child who desperately needs your help.
Will you help CASA Change a Child’s Story?
CASA would like to invite you to join them on mission. If you are 21 or older and have 5-15 hours a month to give a child – YOU can be a CASA!
Are you interested in finding out more about the role?
If you want more information, you can take the first step and follow these links below.
Follow the Link to find General Information Meeting Dates and Register:
If you wish to financially support their mission or fund a child, you can find more information here: Direct Support / Recurring Giving – CASA Kane County Website