QUINCY (WGEM) – With child abuse cases at an all time high in Adams County, a new Illinois law hopes to protect children during the legal process.
The new law requires courts in counties with fewer than 3 million people to give a neglected or abused minor a court-appointed special advocate, or CASA — if one is available.
CASA volunteers advocate for the best interest of abused or neglected children by writing court reports or recommendations to the judge.
According to the Advocacy Network for Children, child abuse cases in Adams County are extremely high this year.
Advocacy Network for Children CASA Manager Danielle Buss said there are more than 200 cases of child abuse in the county, with 44 new cases in the last three months.
“Our cases range from children being born with meth, heroine, cocaine,” Buss said. “We have children that have been physically abused, sexually abused.”
Buss said this law is beneficial for giving abused and neglected children a voice in court.
“Kids are able to have a voice or are able to have somebody advocate for them, and I think that is needed in these cases where kids are being abused and neglected,” Buss said.
There are only 48 CASA volunteers in Adams County, and CASA volunteer Erica Parrish said there will need to be more to meet the need this new law brings.
“There’s so many abused and neglected children coming into the community each week,” Parrish said. “And as far as a CASA volunteer, there’s only so much we can do so we need the community’s help to take on those case loads.”
If you would like to become a CASA volunteer, click here.
CASA volunteer requirements:
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