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Article updated: 2/26/2013 4:18 PM

Child advocates to attend national conference

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Submitted by CASA Kane County

CASA Kane County recently announced two winners of the Dottie Lowe Scholarship to attend National CASA's annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., this April.

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The two volunteers are Judy Gilbert and Christine Peterson. Gilbert has been a CASA/GAL (guardian ad litem) for 10 years and lives in Maple Park. Peterson, a Geneva native, has been a CASA/GAL for nine years. In addition to cases involving children who have been abused or neglected, both have worked on probate cases (involving private guardianship for minors) and have been effective advocates for all of the children they represented.

The Dottie Lowe Scholarship originated with a startup grant from the Hanson/Furnas Electric Foundation which made a donation to CASA Kane County in memory of Dottie Lowe in 1999. Lowe was an educator and an elementary school principal in Batavia. After her retirement, she pursued becoming a CASA/GAL in Kane County to continue her passion for child advocacy in the community. She excelled as an assertive communicator and skilled negotiator fulfilling her CASA obligations for the children she served.

Ongoing education for CASA/GAL volunteers is an important component to the program, as they are advocating for the best interests of these vulnerable children with the ultimate goal to help ensure they achieve a safe and permanent home in a timely manner. After the initial grant was received, CASA Kane County now budgets for two scholarships annually that are awarded to two CASA/GAL volunteers interested in attending.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate and represents community volunteers who are recruited, trained and case managed by CASA Kane County to advocate for abused and neglected children in the Juvenile Court system. These volunteers are appointed by the juvenile court judge to be the child's guardian ad litem for children, infant to age 21. Last year, 264 active CASA volunteers assisted 556 children on their path to a safe and permanent home. For more information, visit www.casakanecounty.org, or call the office at (630) 232-4484.

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