CASA of Peoria County is aiming to help a growing number of neglected children in 2017 with the "I Am For The Child" national campaign.
Court Appointed Special Advocates has been an active organization in the county since 2005. CASA is a not-for-profit, volunteer organization advocating for the best interests of abused children within the Juvenile Abuse and Neglect Court system.
Development Director Paris McConnell said CASA is based on the belief that every child has the right to a safe and permanent home allowing them the chance to reach their full potential in life.
"We currently serve 300 cases in Peoria County. There are roughly 890 open cases now, in the last fiscal year," said McConnell. "CASA currently only serves 35 percent of those cases."
McConnell said the organization is hoping to serve an additional 41 children in the county this year by raising $50,000 from January to May.
"$50,000 will basically empower us to add 41 CASA volunteers to our base and also train them. The training is close to a 32 hour course," said McConnell.
CASA holds four training sessions a year for volunteers. McConnell said each training class is preceded by an informational meeting for potential volunteers.
McConnell said volunteers are sworn in by the Juvenile Court System after they complete the training.
She said CASA volunteers provide consistency to the children on their case, submit reports to the judge prior to all court hearings, and make certain that the child's best interests are represented.