URBANA — Champaign County Court-Appointed Special Advocates will start a new training session soon for potential new advocates to speak up for the more than 400 abused and neglected children in Champaign County Court.
Advocates become the "eyes and ears of the court" and work with the child and social service agencies to ensure that the best interests of the child are met throughout the court process, according to Rush Record, executive director of the agency.
"The need for additional advocates for the abused and neglected children of Champaign County is great. All of these children deserve to have a voice in the courtroom helping to ensure their best interests are met." said Record.
CASA provides all the training necessary to become an advocate. No specific experience is required, but advocates must be at least 21.
The 30-hour training program for new advocates begins Tuesday, Sept. 18. Through a donation from Carle, training sessions will be held at the Mills Breast Cancer Institute three times per week until graduation ceremonies on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
More information about CASA can be found on their website at http://www.casa4kids.org  or by calling the CASA office at 217-384-9065. An application deadline has been set for Sept. 11 and a background check is required.
CASA was established in Champaign County in 1994 and became the guardian ad litem for all abused and neglected children in 2004.
CASA is a member of the National CASA Association and the Illinois CASA Association. CASA currently serves over 400 abused and neglected children in Champaign County.