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.
The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County is to advance and safeguard the best interest of the children who have experienced abuse or neglect, involved in the court system, by utilizing trained volunteers who advocate for them in court, school and in their community.
We envision a time when every child in state care has an influential voice in the court and in the community.
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.