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posted: 8/4/2017 8:52 AM

Eight CASA volunteers sworn in to advocate for children

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  • At the swearing in of new CASA volunteers are, from left: JoAnne Williams, Amanda LeGrand, Bridget McManus, Marion Smith, Judge Valerie Boettle Ceckowski, Cindy Sievers, Julie Sexton, Katie Shorr and Jeff Gallichio.

    At the swearing in of new CASA volunteers are, from left: JoAnne Williams, Amanda LeGrand, Bridget McManus, Marion Smith, Judge Valerie Boettle Ceckowski, Cindy Sievers, Julie Sexton, Katie Shorr and Jeff Gallichio.
    Courtesy of Friedlander Communications

 

Submitted by Friedlander Communications

Judge Valerie Boettle Ceckowski recently swore in eight new CASA volunteers, Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children.

Family and friends gathered in the Robert W. Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills in July to watch the volunteers take an oath promising to advocate for the best interest of children in the Lake County courts.

The volunteers are: Jeff Gallichio of Des Plaines, Amanda LeGrand of Chicago, Bridget McManus of Lake Forest, Julie Sexton and Katie Shorr of Arlington Heights, Cindy Sievers of Gurnee, Marion Smith of Highland Park and JoAnne Williams of Vernon Hills.

The newly appointed CASA volunteers join 260 other community members who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in the county's juvenile dependency court system.

As officers of the court, they ensure that the children's needs are recognized and best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.

CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child's life such as social workers, attorneys and teachers. They attend court hearings with the child and report their findings to the judge.

"Our volunteers pledge to stay with each child until the case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home," said Terri Zenner Greenberg, director of CASA Lake County. "The advocate is often the only consistent adult presence in the child's life."

With more children waiting for a CASA volunteer, many more advocates are still needed. There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 25 years of age, clearing an extensive background screening and successfully completing 40 hours of training.

The next advocate training session for Lake County begins Aug. 21. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child, contact Suzanne Cash at (847) 383-6260, ext. 205, or scash@casalakecounty.com.

CASA Lake County is a member of the National CASA Association, a network of more than 900 CASA programs serving children in 49 states and Washington, D.C.

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