who we are
in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die every day.
CASA of East Central Illinois is directly combatting this statistic. We are not-for-profit organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children brought into the Coles County and Cumberland County Juvenile court system.
Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
On a large scale, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 951 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.
our mission. who we are. what we do.
The CASA of East Central Illinois program is a not-for-profit corporation that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children brought into the Coles and Cumberland County Juvenile court systems.
what we do
CASA volunteers work through the juvenile court system to facilitate prompt delivery of services and to make independent recommendations to the court concerning the child’s well-being.
In order to accomplish the mission as stated, the CASA advocate must fulfill the following roles:
The CASA volunteer must become a skilled independent investigator. This role includes locating and examining all the relevant facts in the case. It does not include investigating allegations of abuse in determining if abuse has occurred, but rather investigating what is in the best interest of this child. Discovering the relevant facts, however, will include more than that of examining what DCFS has already discovered. It may include checking past police records, school records, medical records, consulting with attorneys, psychologists, teachers and foster parents as well as with the parents and other relatives.
As well as conducting a thorough, independent investigation, the CASA
volunteer must evaluate the findings and be diligent in providing the
results of the investigation to the Court through a written report.
In addition to providing information to the Court, the CASA volunteer
must consult with the caseworker, State’s attorney, and CASA attorney,
immediately providing these professionals with any newly acquired
and pertinent information. CASA will serve as the child’s Guardian Ad Litem
in all court proceedings in Coles County where we are represented by an
attorney. In Cumberland County we work alongside the
Guardian Ad Litem as a friend of the court.
The CASA Volunteer must also monitor the case by reviewing any existing
service plan, following the parent’s progress in that service plan, ensuring
the child is adequately cared for and that special needs are being addressed.
The CASA volunteer must monitor all court orders to ensure their compliance.