09-22 Re: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD PROTECTION
CHILD PROTECTION DIVISION
GENERAL ORDER 09-22
RE: COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES (CASA)
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND UNTIL FURTHER ORDER OF THIS COURT,
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County (CASA), an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, is recognized by the Circuit Court of Cook County as a community service organization established to provide trained community volunteers to report to the Court and to make recommendations regarding the best interests of children in the Child Protection Division of the Cook County Juvenile Court System.
In accordance with section 2-17.1 of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, the Court may appoint CASA as monitor to protect a minor’s health, safety and best interest and to insure the proper delivery of child welfare services. The court may consider, at its discretion, testimony of the CASA pertaining to the well being of the child. CASAs shall serve as volunteers without compensation. The Court may remove a CASA from a case upon a finding that the CASA has acted in a manner contrary to the child’s best interest or if the Court otherwise deems continued service is unwanted or unnecessary.
The presiding judge shall administer an oath or confidentiality to each CASA that shall bind the CASA to faithfully perform the duties set forth herein. As a court monitor, a CASA shall undertake the following responsibilities:
- Interview the child.
- Interview other persons with knowledge about the case, such as family members, foster family members, and /or persons living in the family residence.
- Interview the teachers, social workers, friends, counselors, therapists, treating medical personnel and any other persons with relevant information about the child’s well being.
- Investigate available placement alternatives for the child, including but not limited to relatives, non-relative foster placements, residential and group homes.
- Visit the child’s placement
- Observe visits between the child and his or her parents and/or proposed caretakers
- Observe visits between the child and his or her siblings
- Submit written reports to the court concerning changes in circumstances, recommendations for modifications in disposition or compliance with DCFS service plan requirements and compliance with the orders of the court.
- Appear in court at each scheduled hearing.
- Continue contact with the child, family members or others as ordered by the court to monitor progress.
- Submit a written report to the court and therein set forth findings and recommendations to the best interest of the child.
- Maintain confidentiality of information concerning the child and/or parents.
In order to carry out these responsibilities, a CASA shall be entitled to review all records and reports including but not limited to the juvenile court file, law enforcement records, medical records, counseling records and DCFS records except those specifically exempt from disclosure under the AIDS Confidentiality Act (410 ILCS 305), the Mental Health and Developmental Disability Act (740 ILCS 110); the Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency Act (20 ILCS 305) and /or the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Act (325 ILCS 15/5).
CASA will also administer the Medically At Risk Kids (“MARK”) Program with participating local hospitals. Its purpose is to enhance outcomes of medically fragile children who are identified by local hospitals as victims of abuse and neglect. The MARK Program seeks to assign CASA volunteers to monitor the cases of medically fragile children to ensure that they receive the appropriate medical care and to minimize the potential for re-abuse. Once appointed to a MARK case, the Court Appointed Special Advocate shall act in accordance with the rights and responsibilities proscribed in this General Order.
CASA shall also be entitled to notice of and admission to all scheduled court dates, service appeals, administrative case reviews, staff meetings or conferences pertaining to the child and/or the parents except for those meeting or conferences where some form of privilege is attached.
As CASA is not a party to the case, any petition, pleading or other filing of which CASA is the object shall be brought before the presiding judge for resolution.
This General Order supercedes Child Protection Division General Order 05-25.
This order is entered this date, March 19, 2009, and shall be spread of record and published.
Patricia M. Martin
Child Protection Division