RS&H Vice President James Shaw was thrilled that CASA of Kane County was one of 11 charities to receive a grant from the Elevate Fund in the first round of giving in late 2018.
Jim, who has been volunteering and advocating for CASA for eight years as a volunteer, was also the Engineer on Record for the “Grow a Healthy Child Garden” in 2012.
“I can’t think of a worthier mission than helping children in need,” said Jim.
Advocating for Children in Need
CASA Kane County recruits, trains and supervises Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) who are community volunteers that advocate for children who have been abused and neglected in the Juvenile Court system.
CASAs serve on one case at a time and are appointed by the Juvenile and Probate Court judges to be the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for children under the age of 21. The goal of every case is to find a safe, caring and permanent home for each child.
Elevate Fund Provides Important Training
The Elevate Fund’s grant was used to provide a 45-hour initial training program for 23 new CASA/GAL volunteers who will advocate for abused and neglected children in Kane County.
The curriculum provides the training and court simulation needed to prepare volunteers in cultural and family diversity, attachment disorders and substance abuse issues. Additionally, in the training, volunteers learn the software used to track their case notes and documents.
The volunteers took an oath and were sworn in by the Chief Judge in the 16th Judicial Court system at 4:00 p.m. on December 18, 2018.
Volunteering with CASA
The recruitment effort is extensive, as CASA Kane County must do its due diligence from start to finish with prescreening, interviewing, background checks and observation so every volunteer meets the qualifications needed. CASA/GAL volunteers make regular visits, collect information and provide reports to the Judge before each court hearing. Each case lasts an average of three years.
These new volunteers are now among CASAs growing network of more than 200 active community volunteers who are advocating for more than 500 children annually.
“My challenge to everyone is to go online and research CASA,” said Jim. “Share their vision and work with your friends, family and colleagues. The work is important, and the experience is life-changing.”
To learn more about CASA and how to get involved you can visit, www.casakanecounty.org.