CASA of Cook County’s Child Advocacy Program works to diminish the challenges faced by children in foster care by recruiting, training and supervising community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of children in court and who strive to ensure that children leave the system to live in safe, permanent homes. Unlike caseworkers and other child welfare professionals, CASA volunteers handle only one case at a time and are able to give each child the attention he/she needs and deserves.

Within the Child Advocacy Program, CASA of Cook County also provides service in two focus areas to address the specialized needs of some children: the Medically At Risk Kids (MARK) program and the Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (CITY) initiative.

MARK – Medically At Risk Kids

Under the supervision of the MARK Coordinator, some CASA advocates are assigned to medically fragile children involved with the Child Protection Division of Juvenile Court to ensure that each child receives the appropriate medical care and to minimize the potential for re-abuse.

CITY – Creating Independent Transitions for Youth

The CITY initiative focuses on the specialized needs of older youth who are preparing to transition from the foster care system into adulthood and independent living. Without the proper support of a caring adult to guide them in the necessary life skills and experiences, older foster youth face a daunting future filled with many challenges and uncertainties. CITY advocates work one-on-one with youth age 16 and older to ensure their current safety and to provide guidance in necessary financial, educational and life skills. With this guidance, youth will begin to understand how to advocate for themselves and how to become successful, productive members of their communities.