West Central, Il –During the first week of August, The Honorable Judge Benson in Macomb and The Honorable Judge Rasmussen in Galesburg officially swore in two new Court Appointed Special Advocates each to work in McDonough County and Knox County. These trained community members, known as CASA volunteers, will work with CASA of West Central Illinois to advocate for children and families who are involved in the foster care system.
“We are so excited to have four new volunteers joining CASA of West Central Illinois. The work our CASAs do is instrumental in keeping a child’s case on track so that a permanent resolution may be achieved quickly.” said Kelly Corbin, Executive Director of CASA of West Central Illinois. CASA’s mission is to speak up for and support the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system. CASA volunteers advocate for the child’s best interest in a multitude of ways. The advocate becomes the “eyes and ears” of the court, making independent, objective recommendations to the judge based on the information they gather through regular meetings with the child and his or her parents, foster parents, social workers, school teachers, therapists, and more.
Maggie Self, a newly sworn-in CASA based in McDonough County said when speaking with
CASA, “I want to express my appreciation for allowing me to partner with your volunteer
organization as part of my degree requirement at Western Illinois University. I am very excited to
be working on my B.A. in Social Work as this has been a goal of mine for some time. My previous
volunteer work with CASA is one of the reasons that I am now pursuing this particular degree. I
wholeheartedly believe in the work that CASA does in advocating for children in the child welfare
system. I am thankful that as I continue my degree plan that I will also be continuing as a volunteer with your agency, and I am grateful for your partnership in my education."
The new CASAs, Maggie Self, Carrie Blome, Melissa Huizenga, and Jenna Redington will
be assigned a child or children in a sibling set to advocate for until the case closes.
CASA of West Central Illinois currently has 29 volunteer CASAs working with children in Henderson, Knox, McDonough, and Warren Counties. Volunteers from all types of backgrounds are needed to assist CASA in serving youth victims of abuse and neglect in our communities. “Working with children in the foster care system is an experience like no other. Our volunteer CASAs are doing important work, each and every day, and are truly making a proven difference in the outcome of a child’s life”, said Corbin.
Becoming a CASA is a great way to serve your community and change a child’s life in the process. CASA Volunteers must pass a background check, be 21 years old or over, have reliable transportation and basic internet skills, and a passion for helping children. The six-week, 30 hour trainings are held quarterly via Zoom, with the next training beginning September 23rd .
For more information, please visit www.casaofwestcentralillinois.org. To sign up for our next training class, please visit www.tinyurl.com/BecomeACASA.