Judge Valerie Boettle Ceckowski swore in fourteen volunteers as CASA volunteers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, for abused and neglected children. Family and friends gathered in the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Justice Complex, Vernon Hills, on May 11, 2017 to watch the volunteers take an oath promising to advocate for the best interest of children in the Lake County courts.
The newly appointed CASA volunteers join 260 other dedicated community members who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in the county’s juvenile dependency court system. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children’s needs are recognized and best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.
CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child’s life such as social workers, attorneys, and teachers. They attend court hearings with the child and report their findings to the judge. “Our volunteers pledge to stay with each child until the case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home,” said Terri Zenner Greenberg, director of CASA Lake County.
“The advocate is often the only consistent adult presence in the child’s life.”
With more children waiting for a CASA volunteer, many more advocates are still needed. There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 25 years of age, clearing an extensive background screening and successfully completing 30 hours of training.
The next advocate training session for Lake County begins May 31, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child, please contact Suzanne Cash at 847-383- 6260 x205 or [email protected].
Submitted by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Lake County, Vernon Hills, a non-profit organization committed to recruiting, training and supervising volunteer advocates to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the juvenile justice system. Research shows that a child with a CASA volunteer advocate is less likely to experience further abuse; moves more rapidly through the court system; stays an average of 10 months less in foster care; and is more likely to be adopted into a safe and permanent home.