Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
Champaign County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a not-for-profit organization which recruits, trains, and monitors volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. ciLiving’s Erin Valle shares how former foster child Leyda Garcia-Greenawalt is giving back to the organization that helped her.
“Speaking up for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the court system”
CASA volunteers work through the juvenile court system to facilitate prompt delivery of services and make independent recommendations to the court concerning the child’s well-being. CASA volunteers are trained and committed adults who have been appointed by a judge to watch over the children and advocate for their best interests. Volunteers make sure children don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. They remain involved until the case is closed.
In 1994, Champaign County CASA was incorporated with the full support of Circuit Court Judge John R. DeLaMar. Concerned that life-altering decisions were being made concerning abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, he welcomed CASA volunteers into his courtroom and recognized their impact as an independent voice for each child.
On December 1, 2002, CASA became the guardian ad litem (GAL) for Champaign County—which means we’re the legal entity that represents the legal interests and rights of children who have been abused and/or neglected. CASA now serves as the GAL for virtually all children involved in a juvenile abuse and neglect case. This affords the children we serve a more powerful voice—a voice that’s focused on their best interests.
Champaign County CASA currently serves approximately 360 children, thanks to our 114 volunteer advocates. The children we serve range in age from newborn to 18 years of age. Last year over 40% were under age 6.
The day of giving is the end of the campaign; people can give any time. casa4kids.org or text GIVECASA to 21000.