Five new volunteers join CASA Lake County to advocate for the best interest of children in foster care

Five new volunteer advocates were sworn in on Feb. 15 by the Lake County Juvenile Court to help advocate for the best interest of children in foster care. The Court Appointed Special Advocates include Colette Bellair of Mount Prospect, Karen Appel Drazin of Skokie, Terry Downey of Barrington and KD Roesler of Third Lake. Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Reginald C. Matthews presided over the induction ceremony.

The new CASAs join a force of nearly 300 volunteer advocates who work with CASA Lake County, a nonprofit based in Vernon Hills. The volunteers support and advocate for children who have endured abuse or neglect in Lake County. CASA’s goal is to give voice to children and their unique needs, so that they can ultimately have a safe and permanent home.

CASAs build caring, long-term relationships with each child in their assigned cases, as well as with caregivers and service providers. CASAs inform the court regarding issues that are impacting a child and recommend actions and interventions. CASAs advocate within the social service and judicial systems to ensure that the best interest of each child is served.

“CASA Lake County is always recruiting more volunteers, especially volunteers who are male, bilingual, or people of color; we know that representation matters and there is something special about a child having an advocate that looks like them or speaks their language” said Terri Zenner Greenberg, executive director of CASA Lake County. Although being a CASA volunteer can have its challenges, the benefits and the positive impact one can have is profound. CASA volunteers stand up for the children who need them and help contribute to a brighter future. Because of the unique opportunity to positively impact the trajectory of a child’s life, CASA volunteers report it to be a very fulfilling and rewarding experience.

CASA volunteers must successfully complete an in-depth, 30-hour training program. This includes specialized training for in-home visitation; increased communication and referrals for family resources; and making recommendations to the court about a child’s best interests related to physical and mental health, education, family placement and more. Over the past few years, the training has been conducted online.

Any adult interested in volunteering with CASA Lake County can visit to learn more, or contact Lori Petersen at for any questions.

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