By Jenny Tank
Family law was always an interest of mine in law school, but I never had the opportunity to work in that area until I decided to volunteer as a CASA. While I was never the victim of abuse as a child, I did live with relatives for a period of weeks while my parents sought treatment for health issues, and I've always been grateful that my parents had family willing to step in and take care of us while they were receiving care. Not every child is so lucky. I know what it's like to have to leave a home because your parents aren't able to care for you. I also felt the strain of being away from my parents whom I loved very much, and I have felt that pain. My childhood experience led me to begin researching ways I could help children who are in situations where their parents aren't able to care for them, whether that is due to mental health issues, alcohol and drug addiction or abuse occurring in the home. This led me to discover CASA.
CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is an organization which promotes volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the U.S. can be safe and have the opportunity to thrive in a permanent home. Last year over 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. These volunteers are everyday citizens who undergo screening and training in their local communities.
While I was a former lawyer, you do not need to be a lawyer or social worker to become a CASA volunteer. You just need to care about children and have common sense. CASA provides training and support by professional staff through each case. To help support this worthy cause, Clever Belle will donate $1 to CASA of DuPage for every shirt sold during the month of April.
CASA of DuPage County recruits, trains and supports volunteer citizen Advocates to effectively speak to the best interests of children, who through no fault of their own, are a part of DuPage County's juvenile court system. These children have been subjected to abuse, neglect or have no one to care for them. CASA believes every child has the right to a safe, permanent and nurturing home, and they work to provide powerful friends for powerless children in our area.
To learn more about becoming an advocate:
To learn more about child abuse prevention: