CASA OF COOK COUNTY
FOSTER CARE SHOULD BE
— NOT A WAY OF LIFE
The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County is to advance foster care child advocacy for children in Cook County by ensuring that their needs are met and rights are protected; by transitioning out of foster care into permanent, safe, and loving homes as quickly as possible; and that youth aging out of foster care have the resources and support they need to live independently.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION STATEMENT
At CASA of Cook County, we acknowledge that we work around and within a child welfare system steeped in structural racism.
Black children, the only racial or ethnic group that is over-represented in Cook County foster care, make up only 25% of the Cook County population but more than 70% of the children in foster care. Once in foster care, Black children spend more time in the system and are less likely than children of other races to return to their parents or be adopted. This is a direct result of structural racism in every aspect of our society, which puts Black families at disproportionate risk of trauma, poverty, homelessness, and every form of family instability, at the same time that Black families are over-policed and over-monitored by social service systems.
CASA of Cook County was established in 1986, incorporated as an independent nonprofit agency in 2001, and is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association that is recognized and supported by the US Department of Justice and the Violence Against Women Act of Congress. CASA of Cook County is the largest of the 31 CASA programs in Illinois, the state which is last in the nation for achieving timely permanency, and has served more than 12,000 children in its 36-year history. CASA of Cook County is the only program of its kind in the county and has a unique position within the Cook County Juvenile Court, allowing the organization access to a court system that is traditionally closed to outside parties due to the confidential nature of the proceedings. Because of this relationship, CASA serves children and youth who are often unreachable by other organizations.