CASA KANE COUNTY
CASA Kane County was established in 1988 by concerned citizens, child welfare professionals and court personnel in response to concerns that the rights and needs of abused and neglected children were not being adequately addressed in court. Founder Charlotte Evans learned about the CASA movement, brought the inspiration back to Kane County, and formed a steering committee. Chief Judge Gene Nottolini signed the general order and Judge Peter Grometer was the presiding judge in Juvenile Court.
The program began with one director and two CASA volunteers that served seven children. In November 1992, the legal status of CASA volunteers changed from “Friends of the Court” to Guardians ad Litem. This change gave the advocates a far stronger voice in court, making them a full party to the cases with attorneys appointed to represent them. In the fall of 2004, CASA Kane County was asked by the Probate Court judge to expand its mandate.
CASA volunteers are now appointed to all child abuse and neglect cases in Juvenile Court as well as all private guardianship cases involving minors in Probate Court. Today there are approximately 281 CASA volunteers, 16 staff members, 18 members of the Board of Directors and 35 Chairman’s Advisory Panel members who support and represent the best interests of over 587 probate and abused/neglected children within the Kane County Juvenile Court system.
Program began in the fall with space donated by United Methodist Church of Geneva.
One part-time staff member, two CASA volunteers, seven children, $14,000 budget.
1992: Legal status changed from “Friend of the Court” to Guardian ad Litem. CASA volunteers are now a full party to the case and represented by an attorney.
1993: Mentor program developed where experienced CASAs assisted new volunteers.
Due to a growing caseload, CASA needed additional legal help—20 local attorneys stepped forward and provided pro-bono assistance. Six staff, 78 CASA volunteers, 216 children, $100,000 budget.
1994: First written agreement with DCFS allowing CASA to access records.
Tenth anniversary celebrated with a tree planting at the courthouse.
Goal of achieving 200 CASAs by the year 2000 achieved!
Twelve staff, 210 CASA volunteers, 489 children, $547,000 budget.
A CASA is appointed to all abused and neglected children in Kane County for the first time.
2004: CASA Kane County appointed to minors in Probate cases. Ten staff, 198 CASA volunteers, 459 children, $857,921 budget.
2005: The First Hands Around the Courthouse event held in April for child abuse and prevention and awareness month.
CASA celebrates 20 years with two major events—Light the Way 20th Anniversary Gala and a 20-year celebration at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. Eleven staff, 218 CASA volunteers, 523 children, $1,108,827 budget.
CASA Kane County develops a formal strategic plan. Grow a Healthy Child endowment campaign is launched.
Advocate Advisory Panel is formed to further connect CASAs and leadership in forming stronger alliances.
The Grow a Healthy Child Endowment Campaign was launched.
Inaugural Super Heroes Breakfast held.
Child and Family Resource Database went live on website.
The suitcase initiative for youth was created to provide a suitcase and/or gift cards for children in the foster care system.
Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database tracking system launched to track better child, program and volunteer performance measurements.
Constructed the Grow a Healthy Child Garden at the front entrance of the Courthouse.
CASA Jo and Robin present their story at National CASA conference in Washington D.C.
Thirteen staff, 264 CASA volunteers, 556 children (highest ever), $2,178,728 budget.
25th anniversary celebrated at the Dunham Woods Riding Club.
Strategic Planning conducted with Board of Directors, staff, CASA volunteers & Chairman’s Advisory Panel.
10th Annual Hands Around the Courthouse event held in April for child abuse and prevention and awareness month.
Hollywood – The Golden Era Gala & Auction held in March.
First Legacy Event held at the home of Doris Hunt.
Corridor Office Project completed with expansion of CASA offices.
2nd bi-annual Benefit Concert at DuPage Airport.
21st annual Children’s Champion Celebration “The Black and White Diamond Ball” held at the Q Center.
what guides us
Through caring and dedicated volunteers, CASA of Kane County will advocate for all children in need, will generate awareness of their plight, and will cultivate strong partnerships with individuals and organizations committed to bettering the lives of abused and neglected children. CASA of Kane County will advocate for the best interests of each and every one of its children, and in doing so, help ensure that the child client’s rights listed below are received and respected.
Every child in care has a right…
- To a safe, healthy, and appropriate environment, either with his/her biological family, with an adoptive family, or in continuing foster care.
- To be informed of his/her rights as a youth in care, and to be an active participant in their case when appropriate.
- To confidential communications with his/her attorney, caseworker, and CASA Volunteer, and to have his/her privacy protected.
- To have his/her best interests represented at every court hearing by the CASA/GAL who is represented by an attorney.
- To receive necessary medical, dental, vision, hearing, and mental health services.
- To have consistent access to quality education, guidance, and preparation for adulthood.
- To practice his/her religion and uphold their cultural values without restriction, and to participate in extra-curricular, community, and life-enriching activities when appropriate.
- To be protected from physical, emotional, sexual, and other forms of abuse, and to be safeguarded from discrimination.
- To have consistent and healthy visits with siblings and other family members if deemed appropriate by the court.
- To receive consistent, high quality child welfare services for the duration of his/her time in care.
Our obligation is to ensure that the children we represent will be visited at least monthly, and that their needs, desires and circumstances will be reported to the court at every scheduled hearing. The Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) will be the consistent person in the child’s life.
A diverse CASA/GAL network helps us to better understand and promote the well-being of the children we serve. Embracing diversity makes us better advocates by providing fresh ideas and perspectives for problem solving in our multicultural world, enabling us to respond to each child’s unique needs.