The Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates announced the official kickoff this week of its 2021 Recruitment Initiative in an effort to attract 100-plus volunteers in the Central and Southern regions between now and June 30. The regions include Jersey and Madison counties.
Last year in Illinois, 31 nonprofit CASA programs provided 2,891 volunteers who advocated for the best interests of 8,583 child victims of abuse and neglect. The 31 local CASA programs were assigned to 2,866 new children in 2020.
“Having a stable relationship with a supportive adult can help children do well, even when they have faced significant hardships,” Illinois CASA CEO Mari Christopherson said. “Our volunteers are trained to understand the impact of trauma on children. They spend time with children and the people in their lives. They talk to service providers, teachers, and social workers to gather information that will help them make informed recommendations to the court. Based on what they learn, our volunteers also advocate for services that promote healing, that help children develop resilience without causing additional trauma. They encourage services that strengthen parents’ relationships with their children. We know the difference one caring adult can make in the life of a child, and we need volunteers to do this incredibly important work. Right now, there are close to 21,200 children in foster care — we envision a future where all Illinois children thrive in a safe, permanent, and loving home.”