CASA Kane County asking veterans to become volunteers

  • Gary Gartrell encourages fellow veterans to become a CASA volunteer advocating for abused and neglected children within the court system.

    Gary Gartrell encourages fellow veterans to become a CASA volunteer advocating for abused and neglected children within the court system. Courtesy of CASA Kane County

 
 
Updated 10/14/2021 11:17 PM

On Thursday, Nov. 4, CASA Kane County will host an informational meeting to pay tribute to veterans with the goal of recruiting veterans who might be ready for a new mission, volunteering to protect children.

CASA Kane County is a nonprofit organization which trains community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children within the court system.

 

"We thank all veterans and active-duty military for their service to our country and for protecting our freedoms," said Stephanie Marlatt, CASA's Director of Communications. "Veterans often make great volunteers. They are mission-driven," says Marlatt. "You give them the mission and they find a way to implement it. In this case, our mission is to help foster children that suffered abuse or neglect find a safe and permanent home."

CASA Kane County is a guardian ad litem, nonprofit volunteer organization that advocates for the best interests of children in abuse and neglect within the juvenile court system.

Its goal is to ensure that each foster child is placed in a safe, permanent home. CASA stands for "court-appointed special advocate" and GAL stands for "guardian ad litem."

CASA Kane County trains volunteers from all backgrounds to serve as a sworn officer of the court, whose duty is to represent and advocate for one particular child's best interests. The volunteers get to know the child and his needs and make recommendations to the judge overseeing the case to aid the court in making informed decisions. The volunteers commit to the child until the case is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home.

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Gary Gartrell, a veteran and CASA volunteer, agrees that the volunteer experience is well-suited for many veterans.

"My military service was personally rewarding because of the camaraderie I felt among members of my company when the mission was accomplished. As a CASA volunteer I feel a similar camaraderie as our entire team delivers a child on a safer path of growth and success," Gartrell said. "In the military, accomplishment of the mission and taking care of your troops was the expectation. As a CASA, my mission is about providing a safe environment for the child."

The informational meeting will be offered from 3 to 4 p.m. online. If you are interested in finding out more information about becoming a volunteer or attending the in-person informational meeting on Nov. 4, email Sandie Cross, CASA's Director of Training, at sandiec@casakanecounty.org or call (630) 443-3131.

To make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect online in a nonemergency situation, visit dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov/.

To make a report by phone, call 1-800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873). Calls and online reports may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For all emergency situations, calls should be made to 911.

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