Lake County Juvenile Court swears in new CASA volunteers
Eight new volunteers were sworn in on July 30 to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates in the Lake County Juvenile Court.
The volunteers are the first to be trained and certified through a new online training program developed by CASA Lake County with the support of The Lake County Community Foundation.
They join a force of nearly 300 CASA Lake County advocates who work to protect the welfare of local children involved in juvenile court proceedings. Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher B. Morozin presided over the online ceremony.
The new CASA Lake County volunteers include Zoe Borys of Glenview, Laura Casey of Vernon Hills, Kathleen Cole of Glencoe, Candy Eichman of Arlington Heights, Melanie Horowitz of Riverwoods, Frances Magriz of Inverness, Lauren Roche of Round Lake Beach and Michelle Shumate of Highland Park.
CASA volunteers perform a valuable service to more than 550 children in Lake County who have been victims of abuse and neglect. Most of the children are in foster care.
"A CASA volunteer is often the one person a child in foster care can count on," said Terri Zenner Greenberg, executive director of CASA Lake County. "Our goal is to help move kids efficiently through the court system into safe, permanent homes with an opportunity to thrive."
CASA volunteers must successfully complete an in-depth, 40-hour training program. The program prepares them to help ensure that the best interests of children are being served and that juvenile court judges are aware of all issues that impact those interests.
This is the first time the training was accomplished using an online video conference format. Through a grant from The Lake County Community Foundation, the program was developed by Debra Lerner-Schmidt and Suzanne Cash, managers of Advocate Education for CASA Lake County.
The next volunteer training session, which begins in late August, will be conducted online as well.
"In recent years, the number of endangered children entering foster care has been increasing dramatically," Zenner Greenberg said. "The current pandemic is exacerbating existing problems in family relationships and stability, and has made many already difficult situations worse.
"Providing CASA services today is more important than ever, and we need many more volunteers who can help us make a difference."
Any adult interested in volunteering with CASA Lake County should contact Debra Lerner-Schmidt at (847) 383-6260, ext. 202, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.