Advocacy programs

Our Programs

Early Childhood Court Team
CASA of Cook County is part of the Early Childhood Court Team (E.C.C.T. or Safe Babies Court), an innovative collaboration to achieve better outcomes for the most vulnerable infants zero to three-years-old served by child welfare case management and treatment teams, with a goal to reduce the amount of time young children spend in foster care and decrease the recurrence of maltreatment. Safe Babies Court places special emphasis on infant mental health, trauma recognition through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and increasing community resources and involvement to support families. A CASA volunteer serving on the E.C.C.T. is a key partner with DCFS staff, foster parents and/or birth families, mental health providers, and community partners to “wrap around” a child and family at risk.
Medically At-Risk Kids (M.A.R.K.)

CASA of Cook County is assigned to medically fragile children who are identified by local hospitals as victims of abuse and neglect. Through the Medically At-Risk Kids (M.A.R.K.) Program in partnership with local hospitals, CASA volunteers monitor the cases to ensure that they receive the appropriate medical care and to minimize the potential for re-abuse. CASA volunteers also work with youth that are later determined to have cognitive delays and/or medical trauma.

Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (C.I.T.Y.)

Youth who are still in child protective custody by age 16 are particularly vulnerable;
they are likely to leave the system without returning to their home of origin or being
adopted. Without a safety net, the stark reality for youth aging out of foster care is
that within two years they are at high risk to be unemployed, homeless, and/or
incarcerated. CASA’s C.I.T.Y. Program addresses these challenges by assigning a
specially trained CASA volunteer to older youth with a focus on empowering the
youth with tools for successful independence, including education, job training,
financial planning, housing, and health care.

Large Sibling Groups

CASA of Cook County is court ordered to be assigned to all sibling groups of two or more, with seven siblings as the average family size assigned. These large sibling groups are assigned to ensure that siblings who are separated with different housing placements are able to be reconnected with their siblings via CASA for visitations, support, therapy, and as an additional resource to the family and foster parent.