ABOUT ILLINOIS CASA
Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates (Illinois CASA)
Illinois CASA was founded in 1993 and is the organizing body for CASA in Illinois. Illinois CASA supports thirty local programs that recruit, train and manage CASA volunteers whose primary role is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. CASA volunteers are trained and supervised by their agencies and sworn to confidentiality by the Juvenile Judge of the Circuit Court. CASA volunteers gather objective information and report to the court regularly on the status of each child. This information is used by the Judge to determine if the child should be reunified with their family or prepared for adoption. The CASA volunteer works as a team member with the caseworker assigned by DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) and the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Attorney assigned to the child. Each CASA volunteer is assigned to one case (usually one or two children) at a time and serves on that case until it closes. Often times the CASA volunteer is the only consistent unpaid adult in the child’s life.
To contact anyone on the board, please call Mari Christopherson at (309) 827-2272.
Long Grove, Illinois
Regional Representative (Northwest Region)
Regional Representative (Central Region)
Regional Representative (Southern Region)
Regional Representative (Northeast Region)
History of CASA
In 1976, Superior Court Judge David Soukup of Seattle became concerned about making decisions regarding abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information. He conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, to gather information about the children and bring it to court. So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today more than 900 CASA programs are in operation, with 70,000 women and men serving as CASA volunteers. CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
National CASA Association
In addition to providing leadership for CASA programs across the country (also known as Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem Programs), the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association stages an annual conference, publishes a quarterly newsletter, and promotes CASA through public relations efforts. National CASA offers consultation and resources that help start CASA programs and provides vital assistance to established programs. National CASA also implements a Quality Assurance program for all local CASA programs and state associations across the country to ensure the highest program quality and administrative efficiency.