Foster care should be temporary—not a way of life.
For nearly 30 years, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County has been training everyday people to stand up for children who have experienced abuse and neglect in an overwhelmed and extremely under-resourced foster care system. Without a helping hand from CASA of Cook County volunteer advocates, these children might fall through the cracks and never be given an opportunity to find a place to call home.
CASA of Cook County speaks up in court for children who have experienced abuse and neglect and ensures that children live in safe, permanent homes. CASA of Cook County’s trained volunteers research cases and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on this additional information to make the best decisions about children’s futures. CASA dedicates one volunteer advocate to champion one child; ensuring that the child’s voice is present in court even if the child is not.
CASA of Cook County’s vision is to protect children who have experienced abuse and neglect by providing them a voice in court, a safe and permanent home, and an opportunity to grow, learn and thrive. Through caring and dedicated volunteers, CASA will advocate for all children in need, will generate awareness of their plight, and will cultivate strong partnerships with individuals and organizations committed to bettering the lives of these children. We will do this with integrity, compassion and devotion to our children.
In 1976, juvenile court judge David Soukup of Seattle, WA, saw a recurring problem in his courtroom. Though he was receiving information from social workers, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, their opinions and recommendations were limited in scope. Soukup was frustrated that he couldn’t see the whole picture of the child’s life, and thus couldn’t make a satisfying judgment for the child’s placement.
He initiated a program of community volunteers who would be sworn in as officers of the court and would then be responsible for investigating all aspects of the child’s life and reporting their findings to the court. This one-on-one interaction would allow for a thorough more complete picture of the child’s needs and help the judge make a more-informed decision.
CASA of Cook County was established in 1986 as a part of Illinois Action for Children (not the same IAFC that exists today). In 2001, CASA of Cook County became an independent not-for-profit organization and today continues its mission to advocate for our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
To view our current and previous 990 forms, please use the following link on Guidestar.org.