When a foster care case begins, the courtroom is crowded with a judge, a representative from a foster care agency, biological parents, family members, attorneys, and other courtroom staff. But more often then not, the child is not present. Even though the child's best interests are the priority in the room, the judges, caseworkers and service providers who determine the child’s future do not have adequate time to understand the specific needs of each and every child.
By speaking for the child, CASA ensures that the wishes and needs of the child are not overlooked by the many competing interests at play.
Winnebago County CASA is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that advocates for abused and neglected children within the Juvenile Court system. Our trained volunteers are appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of children in the abuse and neglect court. 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.
We believe every child deserves a safe and permanent home.
We believe that all Advocates, Board of Directors and Friends of CASA should be welcomed, trained appropriately, appreciated and supported by the staff and provided with a healthy environment in which to gather, work and volunteer.
We believe that our staff deserves a collaborative and conducive atmosphere that allows them to fulfill the organization’s mission, one that demonstrates respect and value for each individual’s talents and gifts as they enhance the leadership of the team; promotes respect for each individual’s role, opinions, time, and space; focuses on hiring competent people suited to each position in the organization; and provides continuing education opportunities.
We believe that our donors deserve to be educated and informed of CASA’s mission and goals, to see evidence of financial responsibility, to be inspired to invest in our longevity, to be recognized with respect and confidentiality for their gifts and generosity, and to have questions on how their dollars are spent answered in a timely and transparent manner.
We believe we have an obligation to our communities to elevate awareness of our program and the broader child welfare concerns including poverty, diversity, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and other issues impacting families and to continually extend collaborative efforts among other community agencies and court partners to achieve common goals.
We believe that our goals and objectives must always be aligned with our mission, vision, and values. We take great pride in being an organization that is united with our legal partners to ensure that all maltreated children have the right to competent, well-trained CASA/GAL volunteers who will positively impact their lives and future outcomes.
CASA understands the vital need for the child to have a voice in the courtroom—and that each child is an individual with unique needs.