CASA receives grant that can possibly help over 900 children

Local News

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — Kids going through the Winnebago County court system can soon get some much needed help.

The court appointed special advocate program, or CASA received a grant from an area non-profit.

Right now there’s more than 1,200 children involved in the juvenile abuse and neglect court. CASA represents about 260 of them.

Leaders hope this grant will help the 900 kids still in need.

“We’re in desperate need of more volunteers,” said Winnebago County CASA Program Director Jillisa Bondurant.

CASA received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, totaling $12,300.

Foundation Engagement Director Jennifer Smith said it will make a powerful impact.

“CASA obviously fulfills a very unique and specific need in our community and the population of children who need these services is large,” Smith said.

Bondurant said the grant is going to help its training program expand.

“The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois grant will be used to recruit and train more volunteers,” she explained. “There’s a lot more work that needs to be done and that grant is really going to help grow our program so other people and children get the benefit of a CASA volunteer.”

Bondurant said anyone has the ability to be a strong influence in a child’s life.

“Throughout the time of a case we see children have multiple case workers, some go from home to home,” Bondurant said. “For CASA we’re that one rock for that child, we’re that one consistent person, we’re that foundation that helps them trust again.”

CASA hopes the grant can help bring in 60 new volunteers.

“They say the line is, the children are our future, but so many children who are at the mercies of the courts, they need somebody to guide them, to be that support system,” Bondurant said. “Every child deserves the right to a safe and permanent home and an environment where they can thrive, so whatever that looks like for them we’re happy to help facilitate that.”

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