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BECOME AN ADVOCATE

WHAT IS AN ADVOCATE?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is an everyday citizen, specially trained by CASA of McHenry County. We advocate in Juvenile Abuse Court for the best interests and safety of children who are victims of abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are appointed by the Juvenile Court Judge to children 21 years and younger to be the eyes and ears of the judge and the voice of the child.

 

They develop a relationship with the child, gather information, and facilitate partnerships between key people in the child's life. The Advocate speaks for the child in court through a court report to ensure the child's needs are met. The ultimate goal of a CASA is to help ensure every child has a safe, loving, forever home through reunification or adoption.

ADVOCATE RESPONSIBILITIES

1 - COMPLETE TRAINING

Following an application and interview process, prospective volunteers complete 40 hours of training in order to move forward as an Advocate. After training, volunteers are officially sworn into the program and are ready to take a case.

2 - CASE ASSIGNMENT

After swear in, the CASA staff works with the new volunteers to match them with a child that will be a good fit. The Advocate then makes connections with the child and other key people in the child's life, including family members, foster families, caseworkers, and attorneys.  

3 - ADVOCATE FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD

The volunteer visits the child twice a month and dedicates an average of 10 - 12 hours per month to the case. This includes attending court hearings, writing reports, and checking in with key people on the case. 

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED

- Must be age 21 or older

- Go through the interview process and pass a background check

- Attend 40 hours of pre-service training

- Commit to the entire length of a case

- Complete 12 hours of continuing education each year

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TRAINING SCHEDULE

CASA of McHenry County holds multiple training sessions each year. Trainings are generally held on weekday evenings, once a week for 2.5 hours each evening, followed by 3-4 hours of pre-work at home. All sessions are required to complete training.

MORE INFORMATION

If you are interested in volunteering as an Advocate, follow the link below for next steps.