What is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate?
Aside from being a board member of our 15th Judicial Circuit CASA program, I am also director of Court Services for Ogle County Probation. In that capacity, I am present in court for various types of court hearings. When an abuse and neglect case is before our juvenile judge, it always amazes me how complicated these cases can be. In the middle of these “legal hurricanes” are the CASA volunteers. But what does it really mean to the children to have a CASA volunteer? Here are some of their words.
Jackie states about her volunteer: “Lisa changed my life. The difference between Lisa and everyone else in the system was that Lisa was really interested in who I was.” Laura states about her volunteer: “Throughout all the changes and different people I had to deal with, Sally was the one person who was there just for me. Knowing that Sally cared about me meant the world to me. She was the anchor I desperately needed to stay in school.” Melissa states about her volunteer: “The only one we could turn to for answers was our CASA volunteer. She tried to comfort us and guide us through the process. She was a constant in our lives and our voice in the courtroom.”
So, how did these kids turn out? One is a lawyer and prosecutor, one is a Marine veteran and a civilian police officer, and one is attending college and hopes to go to medical school. Soon, we will be doing another volunteer training for new advocates. GET INVOLVED. These stories are not unique. You, too, can make a difference in a child’s life. For more information about becoming an advocate, contact our office at (815) 288-1901.
Trisha Morrow, Executive Director
CASA — 15th Judicial Circuit
(serving Lee and Ogle counties)
From the Feb. 22-28, 2012, issue