Lake County Juvenile Court swears in 13 new CASA volunteers

  • New CASA Lake County volunteers are sworn in online by Nineteenth Circuit Court Judge Jorge Ortiz on Sept. 30. From left, top row: Susan Erickson, Linda Troester, Edy Perisan, Suzanne Romeo and Peggy McNulty; middle row: Megan Lombardo, Cathy Wagner, David Frisch, Joanna Lackaye and Rachel Belk; bottom row: Leslie Giglielmi, Denise Houchins, Hannah Clyde and Judge Ortiz.

    New CASA Lake County volunteers are sworn in online by Nineteenth Circuit Court Judge Jorge Ortiz on Sept. 30. From left, top row: Susan Erickson, Linda Troester, Edy Perisan, Suzanne Romeo and Peggy McNulty; middle row: Megan Lombardo, Cathy Wagner, David Frisch, Joanna Lackaye and Rachel Belk; bottom row: Leslie Giglielmi, Denise Houchins, Hannah Clyde and Judge Ortiz. Courtesy of CASA Lake County Technical Staff

 
 
Updated 10/7/2021 10:04 AM

Thirteen new volunteers were sworn in on Sept. 30 by the Lake County Juvenile Court to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The new volunteers have been trained by CASA Lake County to support, protect and advocate for children who have been victims of neglect, child abuse and domestic violence. A small percentage of these children remain in their homes, but most are placed in foster care.

 

The new volunteer CASAs include: Leslie Guglielmi of Vernon Hills, Edy Perisan of Deer Park, Susan Erickson of Long Grove, David Frisch of Chicago, Linda Troester of Round Lake, Hannah Clyde of Mount Prospect, Peggy McNulty of Highland Park, Megan Lombardo of Winnetka, Rachel Belk of Wadsworth, Joanna Lackaye of Northbrook, Denise Houchins of Mundelein, Cathy Wagner of Palatine, and Suzanne Romeo of Libertyville. Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Jorge Ortiz presided.

The number of child victims of abuse and neglect has grown substantially in Lake County in recent years. To help protect the welfare of these children, CASA Lake County has broadened its recruiting efforts and advocacy training program for new volunteers. Anyone interested in making a difference in a child's life is urged to contact the organization.

"We are searching for dedicated volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for vulnerable children," said Terri Zenner-Greenberg, executive director of CASA Lake County.

"Since the start of the pandemic, the number of Lake County children entering protective care has skyrocketed. At the same time, a number of volunteers have had to step back because of the impact of COVID-19 on their own lives.

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"Volunteers with a variety of skills and backgrounds are all very much appreciated," Zenner-Greenberg said. "We'd love to see more men joining us in our work and serving as role models. Anyone who is fluent in Spanish is particularly needed."

The new volunteers join a force of nearly 300 dedicated advocates working with CASA Lake County, a nonprofit organization based in Vernon Hills. CASA volunteers build long-term, caring relationships with the children in their assigned cases.

CASAs also coordinate and share recommendations with caregivers and service providers. They also report to the court regarding health, education and family issues and recommend actions and interventions that may be needed.

The goal of a CASA is to give voice to each child's unique needs and to make sure that the best interests of each child are being met. CASAs seek to assure that each child is secured in a safe, permanent home in which they can thrive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

CASA volunteers must successfully complete an in-depth, 40-hour training program. Over the past year, the training has been conducted online.

Any adult interested in volunteering with CASA Lake County can contact Lori Petersen at CASA Lake County, lpetersen@casalakecounty.com, or visit www.casalakecounty.com/menus/volunteer to submit an application.

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