Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates

Change A Child's Story

aka Illinois CASA   |   Chicago, IL   |  http://www.illinoiscasa.org

Mission

Illinois CASA champions children by supporting, uniting and growing local county-based programs to provide a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children.

Ruling year info

1994

CEO

Ms. mari christopherson

Main address

200 W Madison Street Suite 2100

Chicago, IL 60606 USA

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EIN

36-3906070

NTEE code info

Child Abuse, Prevention of (I72)

Protection Against and Prevention of Neglect, Abuse, Exploitation (I70)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

On any given day, more than 20,000 children are in Illinois’ juvenile court system because they have experienced abuse or neglect. The average length of stay in foster care in Illinois is 50.8 months. At least 52% of these children experience 3 or more placements. The indirect costs of prolonged foster care impact the welfare system, the criminal justice system, and the health care system in Illinois. Children who remain in the foster care system until 18 are likely to experience the following outcomes as adults: 2% obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher, 51% were unemployed, 30% had no health insurance, 25% were homeless, 30% receive public assistance and 54% had at least one mental health problem. Illinois has the longest time to permanent placement in the United States. Collaboration among child protection stakeholders is key to improving outcomes for children and families.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Illinois CASA

The Illinois CASA program provides screened, trained, and qualified community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children and youth who are before the court as a result of abuse or neglect as defined by child welfare laws; living at home or in out-of-home care.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Non-adult children

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. A CASA is a trained, community volunteer who advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved with the child welfare system. CASA volunteers serve in child abuse and neglect cases, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) cases and sometimes in adoption proceedings. In Illinois there are 31 non-profit CASA programs with more than 3,000 volunteers who in FY2021 advocated for the best interests of 8,200 child victims of abuse and neglect.
Our goal is to ensure every child has access to a CASA volunteer by 2025.

Illinois CASA champions child victims by supporting, uniting and growing the statewide network of 31 local programs to provide a court appointed volunteer advocate for youth who have experienced abuse and/or neglect and are in the protective care system. Illinois CASA does this by providing direction, innovation, and strategies around the unique work and training requirements of CASA programs as well as the changing world of child welfare. Here is what we do:
BRANDING
Illinois CASA creates and oversees a statewide marketing campaign to increase public awareness. This campaign helps to recruit volunteers and reinforce local marketing efforts with billboards, radio, television and social media efforts. 1,200 number of new volunteers were recruited in FY2021.

EDUCATION
Illinois CASA acts as a bridge between the local CASA programs and the child welfare system. We provide continual education and training so that volunteers will have a better understanding of the system and the needs of children and families.

SUPPORT
Illinois CASA provides access to information, training and other resources for local programs. This helps local programs be better able to focus on helping the children and families within the child protection system.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Illinois CASA acts as a trusted partner in the management and dispersal of federal, state and private funds. We also help the local CASA programs effectively identify and utilize funding to achieve their mission.

LEADERSHIP
Illinois CASA provides innovative trainings, mentorship and resources that build strong local CASA program board members, executive directors and staff so that they may better serve children and families.


When a family is in crisis and becomes involved in the child welfare system, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer may be appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interest of the child. This highly trained volunteer is someone from the child’s community. Their responsibility is to get to know the child, their parents, their family and everyone else involved in the case. A CASA volunteer will advocate for the child’s safety, permanency and well-being while in foster care.

At the local level, the 31 CASA programs in Illinois do the hands-on work of recruiting, training and supervising these dedicated volunteers. At the state level, Illinois CASA partners with the programs to provide training, coaching and other resources.

As the statewide membership organization, we work to connect each part of the CASA community and empower the local programs to perform at their highest level. Illinois CASA also works to improve the child protection system through legislation and positive public policy changes.

Solving critical community challenges requires collective action. CASA volunteers are just one player in the larger child welfare system. We believe in a collaborative, holistic approach to support children and their families and work to support reunification whenever possible. We train our volunteers that all individuals deserve respect and cultural competency matters.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a challenging year, especially for families and children already struggling. Since March of 2019, the number of children assigned to the Illinois CASA Association increased by 28% - from 7249 to 9293. Judges relied on CASA volunteers more than ever to keep up with the influx and fill gaps in the child welfare safety net. Our work ahead is to recruit enough new volunteers to meet this need, and we have an ambitious plan to recruit 2,022 new volunteers in 2022.

Financials

Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates

Board of directors
as of 8/27/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Chris Setti

Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

Term: 2018 - 2021

Missy Greathouse

DRI

Lynn Harvey

Linda Zekas

Lurie Children's Hospital

Katherine Buchanan

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/27/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/27/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.