The Issue: Abused and Neglected Children in Foster Care
More than 6,000 abused and neglected children live in foster care in Cook County, according to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County. With so many children in the system, many of them don't receive critical services necessary to help them find a permanent home, and instead move from one foster home to another. This can have life-long repercussions. Youth who age out of the foster system without finding a permanent home face a disproportionate risk of living in a state of homelessness or precarious housing, according to a 2007 report based on data from the Midwest from the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago.
The Campaign: Providing Advocacy for Children
If this Grassroots campaign raises $500, then CASA of Cook County can provide a month of advocacy services for five children to help each find a safe, permanent home. The court advocates serve children involved in the Child Protection Division of the Cook County Juvenile Court as the result of abuse or neglect by their parents or guardians. The organization’s advocates are primarily volunteers. However, the costs of running the program include compensating advocate supervisors and training new volunteer advocates. Each additional $100 raised will be used to provide advocacy services for another child.
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CASA of Cook County
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Cook County helps protect and advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in court cases. Through its well-trained volunteer advocates, CASA ensures that each child's voice is present in court, with the hope of securing safe, permanent homes where children can grow and thrive. Each advocate champions one child, researching the case and providing valuable information to the court so judges can make the best decisions about the child's future. Advocates work with the child for as long as necessary, which can last from a few months to a few years, but is typically about a year. In the last year, CASA volunteer advocates invested 12,000 hours of advocacy to 483 children in Cook County.