CASA of Cook County Launches a New Initiative Helping Older Youth Who are Preparing to Age Out of Foster Care

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Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County presents "Filling the Gaps: Creating Stepping Stones to Success for Older Youth," a symposium launching its new initiative, Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (CITY). The symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2009 in Chicago. The featured speaker will be Dr. Amy Dworsky, Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

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Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County presents Filling the Gaps: Creating Stepping Stones to Success for Older Youth, a symposium launching its new initiative, Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (CITY). The symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the UIC Forum located at 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Amy Dworsky, Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Dr. Dworsky will discuss "National Review of Policies and Program Supporting Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care" and "Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth."

Filling the Gaps: Creating Stepping Stones to Success for Older Youth is a free event, thanks to a generous grant from the Louis R. Lurie Foundation. Registration is available at http://www.casacookcounty.org

Because Every Child Deserves a Safe Permanent Home

About the CITY Initiative
There are approximately 3,000 abused and neglected youth age 16 and older in the Child Protection Division of Cook County Juvenile Court.

CASA of Cook County developed CITY in response to the alarming number of abused and negelcted youth in Cook County who are preparing to age out of foster care without permanent homes and support. CITY recruits, trains and supervises volunteer Advocates to work with foster youth age 16 and older to evaluate their individual needs and determine-with the assistance of the court and all involved parties-the services and tools needed to reflect each young person's individual goals of independence. Volunteers monitor the youth's current living situation for safety and appropriateness and help youth reconnect with extended family members in order to develop long-term supportive relationships.

Youth benefit from having a CITY Advocate in multiple ways. Because each volunteer is assigned to only one case at a time, the youth receive the individual attention they deserve and are able to build a trusting relationship with their volunteer. Through regular and direct communication between the youth and Advocate, the youth's wants, needs and desires for their future are clearly communicated to the court. Most importantly, youth begin to understand how to advocate for themselves and how to become successful, productive members of their communities.

About CASA of Cook County
For nearly 25 years, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County has been helping abused and neglected children involved in the Juvenile Court and foster care system of Cook County. CASA of Cook County provides caring volunteer advocates to make a life-long difference for children.

Advocates are appointed by a judge and assigned to one case at a time, serving as an independent voice for abused and neglected children in court. Volunteers advocate for safe, permanent homes for these children to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers help ensure that children receive appropriate services and treatment by independently monitoring a child's situation, identifying community resources, and participating in the court process.

For more information, visit http://www.casacookcounty.org

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