About CASA

Our Mission

The mission of CASA of Will County is to train volunteers from the community to serve as the voice of abused and neglected children in our court system, provide needed information to the court, and help develop a more effective juvenile court process.

Who We Are

Established in 1994, CASA of Will County helps children navigating the court system recover from the traumas of abuse and neglect and find safe, permanent, loving homes where they can prosper.

We serve as the only organization in the community that uses volunteers as Guardians ad Litem – the court appoints these volunteers to advocate for the best interests of the children removed from unsafe home environments. Our Court Appointed Special Advocates become the voices of their children and follow the motto “I am for the Child.”

Who We Serve

More than 90 percent of the children we serve come from low income families. But whatever their background, every child entering the court system needs representation.

We devote countless hours to making a profound impact on these children, leading to many positive stories of reuniting with family members or finding their way out of abusive homes. In cooperation with our volunteers, partners and the community, CASA of Will County also achieves the following results for our children:

  • More than 300 children in Will County receive representation from a CASA each year
  • Children with CASAs spend an average of eight months fewer in foster care than those without representation
  • The children we serve are also less likely to re-enter the foster care system

Impact of $1,000 per year per child

Once a child is assigned to the CASA program as Guardian ad Litem, they receive specialized advocacy services that are custom fit to their individual needs. The monthly visits that each CASA child receives from their volunteers stand out amongst their interactions with other child welfare professionals, as our visits focus on getting to know the child as an individual. We believe in the power of healing through play and that the best way to get to know a child’s needs is through not only understanding their trauma history, but what makes them unique as a person. Our CASA volunteer and Advocate Supervisor teams contact everyone involved with the child and their family to ensure that all needed services and interventions are put into place in order for them to overcome the risk factors that led them to our door. By acting as both the Judge’s eyes and ears and a child’s voice in court, CASA is able to facilitate the most successful outcome for every child victim we work with.

Over 96% of the families CASA serves are considered low-income, and CASA provides referrals to food pantries, homeless shelters, community action agencies, and more to help families get back on their feet. Every CASA child receives a duffle bag filled with toys and necessities on the day they are assigned to our program. Each year our CASA children receive backpacks filled with school supplies so that they are able to thrive in school. CASA children also have access to a private CASA children’s garden and therapy horses to provide a sense of calm in times of crisis or stress. In addition, every CASA child with a 3.0 GPA is eligible to apply for mentoring services a full-ride scholarship to college through our partner, Give Back. With our unique approach to treating the whole child and family, we provide a brighter future with unlimited potential.

What We Do

In addition to the representation our CASAs provide in court, our organization helps the abused and neglected children of Will County overcome traumas affecting their development through a multi-faceted approach.

Our partnerships with organizations such as Bundlz of Love, Selfless Shopping, The Big Serve, Sweet Cases, Shorewood Glen Community, Project Linus, Holy Family Parish, and many more, give CASA children access to essential items. These items include blankets, books, clothes, school supplies, toiletries, bikes, coats, and bags filled with supplies for them to take to their new foster homes.

Through our partnership with Give Something Back. Our CASA children will have access to Give Back mentors and the opportunity to attend college debt free. Thanks to the funding from the Jay and Lori Bergman Charitable fund, CASA children will have advocates trained on advocating for their educational needs.

  

Thanks to the help of University of Illinois Master Gardeners, our organization opened a children’s garden at the River Valley Justice Center in Joliet in 2017 to provide a calm, serene place for our children to play when they need to appear in court.

  

Through our partnership with Angel Hooves Healing Hearts, our children benefit from an innovative method of therapy. CASA of Will County volunteers Tina and Dave established their non-profit in 2017 when they saw a need for additional coping strategies outside of counseling and developmental therapy. Their horses Tex and Wally bring comfort and smiles to our children.

  

How to Help

CASA of Will County relies on community support to fulfill its mission. With as little as $1,000 per child per year we can provide the advocacy services that will positively alter a child’s future. Your gift leads to hope and encouragement for the child navigating the court system.

CASA of Will County
3200 McDonough Street
Joliet, IL 60431

815.730.7072

© CASA of Will County   All rights reserved.