A CASA advocate in Springfield, IL, smiling and communicating with a young child who is pointing at a flash card to communicate their feelings.

Giving Voice to Children in Care & Their Families

It’s not uncommon for children in foster care to feel unheard and ignored – in fact, their foster and placement families may struggle to have their voices heard as well. Giving these children and their supporting families a voice is crucial to ensuring that their needs are met and that they receive the support they require. At CASA of Sangamon County in Springfield, IL, we are proud to offer several resources, including our own advocacy, to ensure that every individual involved is heard and supported. Tactics like collaborative family engagement, family meetings that encourage expression, and becoming an advocate can help give a voice to those in need within your local community.

Collaborative Family Engagement

Collaborative Family Engagement, or CFE, is a team-based process of working with the families of children in foster care to find solutions to their problems. This approach recognizes that families often have the knowledge and resources to solve their problems, but they may lack the support and guidance to do so.

Collaborative Family Engagement involves working with families to identify their strengths, build on those strengths, and develop strategies to address their challenges. This approach emphasizes collaboration, respect, and trust-building between families, child welfare professionals, and other community stakeholders. CASA advocates play a major role in CFE programs; at CASA of Sangamon County, our team makes sure that a child in care stays connected with positive family members, friends, and consistent adults. These sessions give children a voice and allow them to express any positive or negative feelings that can affect their open case.

Being Patient & Listening

Being patient and listening to children and their families is crucial to understanding their needs, concerns, and hopes. Children in foster care may have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or loss and have difficulty expressing their feelings and thoughts. Listening to them with empathy, patience, and understanding can help them feel valued, heard, and respected. Our advocates at CASA of Sangamon County focus on communication and patience with each child and family they represent. We are dedicated to creating safe, supportive, and empowering spaces for our children and families to ensure a positive transition after their case is resolved. Contact us at 217.522.2241 to learn more about how to become a CASA advocate or report suspected abuse.

Encouraging Expression

Encouraging expression is another way to give voice to foster children and their families in Springfield, IL. Creative expressions, such as art, music, drama, or writing, can help children and families communicate their experiences, feelings, and needs in a safe and non-threatening way. Encouraging children in foster care to express themselves through play, storytelling, or other activities can also help them build resilience, cope with stress, and develop a sense of agency. For family members, parenting a child who has suffered abuse or neglect can be overwhelming. To ensure your feelings and concerns are heard, CASA of Sangamon County encourages families to express themselves through support groups, counseling, or advocacy to help them connect with others who share their experiences and challenges.

Becoming a CASA Advocate

Becoming a CASA advocate in Springfield, IL, is an excellent way to give a voice to children in foster care. Our volunteers at CASA of Sangamon County are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of children in foster care. Becoming an advocate allows you to work with children, families, child welfare professionals, and other community stakeholders to ensure children receive the support, services, and care they need. All CASA advocates receive specialized training to become effective advocates for children in foster care, allowing them to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families. By giving voice to children, we can help them build resilience, heal from trauma, and achieve their full potential.

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