Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Will County is seeking volunteer advocates to be the eyes and ears to the judge in cases of child abuse or neglect.
CASA of Will County Advocate Outreach Coordinator, Mokena's Sheri Lerner, is in the process of recruiting committed volunteer advocates. "We are currently only serving about 50 percent of such children. We are in desperate need for advocates."
The CASA program in Will County started in 1994. It is operated out of the River Valley Justice Center, 3200 W. McDonough St., Joliet, which houses all juvenile court relates services, including Juvenile Court. In 2000, the court turned to CASA to provide Guardians Ad Litem, to provide improved legal representation for kids at risk, according to the CASA of Will County website.
A 30-hour training program is conducted on selected applicants, said Lerner. Advocates generally volunteer about 15 hours a month. They should have some flexible time in their regular schedules to assist children assigned to them.
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused children and to ensure they do not get lost in the overburdened legal system or languish in foster care. They stay with each child's case until it is closed and the child is placed into a safe permanent home with hope for a positive future, according to the website.