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posted: 10/29/2013 12:32 PM

CASA swears in a record number of new advocates

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  • Lake County CASA's 12 new court appointed special advocates and their two Lake County juvenile court judges, front row: Nina Sorensen, Cecilia Milotti, Viola Stamm, Shelley Spathis, and CASA trainer Debra Lerner-Schmidt; back row: Kristin Leonard, Brian Jakob, Alya Smolsky, Julia Foster, Judge Sarah Lessman, Judge Valerie Ceckowski, Marla Hindin, Jane Lindstrom and Lee Galarce.

      Lake County CASA's 12 new court appointed special advocates and their two Lake County juvenile court judges, front row: Nina Sorensen, Cecilia Milotti, Viola Stamm, Shelley Spathis, and CASA trainer Debra Lerner-Schmidt; back row: Kristin Leonard, Brian Jakob, Alya Smolsky, Julia Foster, Judge Sarah Lessman, Judge Valerie Ceckowski, Marla Hindin, Jane Lindstrom and Lee Galarce.
    Courtesy of Lake County CASA

 
CASA submission

With the recent swearing in of 12 court appointed special advocates, CASA Lake County reports they now have 297 advocates -- a record number.

They are currently serving 564 abused and neglected children living in Lake County. However, more volunteers are needed.

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"There are just over 60 children who are still waiting for a CASA," said Terri Zenner Greenberg, executive director of the Vernon Hills nonprofit advocacy program, now in its 20th year.

"We are fighting tirelessly to build our volunteer family, so that someday every at-risk child living in our community will have a CASA fighting for their best interests."

Court Appointed Special Advocates Lake County is a program that recruits, trains and supervises compassionate advocates who ensure these children don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. They fight to get them the medical, educational and mental services they need to survive.

The advocates are often the only caring and constant adult in their life -- they stay with this child until they are placed in a safe, permanent home.

Volunteers receive 40 hours of training before they are assigned a case. The program enjoys a 95 percent retention rate.

About a third of the CASA Lake County advocates come from counties adjacent to -- or near -- Lake County. The latest 12-person Class of CASA University graduates reside in three counties and two states.

Greenberg said, to her knowledge, CASA volunteers are the only ones in the United States where the volunteers actually become appointed by the court.

For more information, visit www.casalakecounty.com.

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