FAQ: Is CASA the Spanish word for house?

FAQ: Is CASA the Spanish word for house?

Why yes, yes it is! A casa is a house or, more accurately a “dwelling.” The word casa (lowercase) actually originates in Latin and meant “cottage.” The Latin word for house is “domus,” kind of similar to domestic. Casa is also the Italian word for a home, as Spanish and Italianate languages share the same parent language.

However, Boone County CASA, part of the greater national organization of CASA, is not the Spanish word for house. CASA is an acronym for the much longer phrase “Court Appointed Special Advocates.” Therefore CASA is both a national and county organization as well as a person. Confused? Let’s elaborate.

National CASA is the organization which certifies local county based programs. National CASA is a support to the smaller organizations and helps answer questions about the law, funding, and policy changes. National CASA promotes the approximately 1,000 CASA programs throughout the United States as well as helps start CASA programs where there is a need. National CASA states that statistically two out of every three children in the American juvenile abuse/neglect system is waiting to have an advocate appointed to them.

Boone County CASA serves only Boone County, IL. This encompasses Belvidere, Poplar Grove, Caledonia, and the other small towns in the area. In Boone County 100% of children who end up in juvenile court due to alleged abuse and neglect by a parent or guardian are assigned advocates. Boone County CASA is a GAL agency which means that our advocates become the Guardian ad Litems for the children they serve. This is not the case in all CASA programs. Lifecyclemediation.com gives a great summary of the responsibilities of Guardian ad Litems when it says, “It is a legal term meaning guardian for the lawsuit. A guardian ad litem is not the same as a legal guardian.The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) has no control over the person or property of the child and does not provide a home for the child. The GAL is an advocate for the child’s best interest. The GAL does not function as the child’s attorney and does not provide direct social services for the child.

What are the duties of the guardian ad litem?


  1. What has happened to the child
  2. The current needs and circumstances of the child


  1. What the child needs to be safe
  2. What treatment plans should be ordered for the child/family
  3. What permanent resolution is the in the best interest of the child”

Finally, a CASA is a person. The volunteer advocate him or herself is often referred to as a CASA.  They are the person essentially doing all of the footwork and the hardest work. They are the one visiting the child in the foster home, residential treatment center, or temporarily living placement. They are the one calling caseworkers, therapists, teachers, foster parents, and parents. They know the child and see the child in environments where they can witness routines, habits, and preferences.  If a child is not present in court the advocate represents the child’s voice.  If you are an advocate, remember you’re the lifeblood of the CASA organization. You’re wonderful and needed! If you’re not an advocate or sponsor but would like to become one click here.



Sensory Bottles: Learning Time Can be Playtime

Have you heard of them? Sensory bottles are a way to engage your toddler andSensory Bottle teach him/her active observation skills. While children think they’re playing, they’re actually learning and developing new skills associated with touch, sight, and deduction. Sensory bottles can also be called discovery bottles and calm down jars. The best thing about them- they’re almost cost free and can be made from just about anything! Sensory bottles can also be made to engage children from the baby stage to preschool!

Click here to see some examples of some pretty amazing sensory bottles. One of our favorites is the weather themed sensory bottles pinned by two-daloo.com. Can’t you just imagine a little one’s eyes lighting up with the swirl of leaves and snowflakes? Another great idea is the tried and true oil and water sensory bottle. For an example click here to see earlylearning.momtrusted.com’s version.

LemonLimeAdventures.com gives the following list of the benefits of sensory bottles-

Math: Counting, Ordinal Numbers, Matching, Addition, Shapes, Number Recognition

Language: Receptive Language (asking questions), Descriptive Language, Following 2-3 step Directions, Vocabulary Development

Reading/ Pre-Reading: Phonics, Beginning/ Ending sounds, Letter Matching, Sight Word Recognition, Fine Motor

Social Skills: Sharing, Communication, Problem Solving

Science: Sink/Float, Absorption, Classification, Sorting, Predictions, Observation

Sensory: Auditory Discrimination, Visual Perception, Proprioceptive Input, Vestibular movement, and sometimes even Olfactory Input”

So get creative and get actively involved with your little ones!

To visit CASA’s official page or to fill out an application to be an advocate click here.

Heritage Days are Almost Here!

Heritage Days will kick off tomorrow, starting at 11:00 am with the Maxwell Heritage DaysStreet Days Sidewalk Sale. The festivities will run from Friday to Sunday night at 9:00, ending with the fireworks at the fairgrounds. Events will include such things as Go-Karts in front of the Salvation Army, a pig roast, and bed races. The full schedule is to the right. Thank you to the Belvidere Chamber of Commerce for sharing the schedule with us!

Boone County CASA will also be walking in the Heritage Day Parade on Sunday at 3:00. Wave, get some gum, and let us know if you’re interested in becoming an advocate or donating to an organization that serves local abused and neglected children. Remember you can “lift up a child’s voice. A child’s life.”

Belvidere does certainly have an interesting and rich history. Our town was founded in 1835, the same year that the New York Herald was first published and the first and only time the United States had “0” national debt. Belvidere was first called “Elysian Fields” before being renamed, as we know it now, after Germany’s Schloss Belvedere. The schloss is a summer palace/castle located in Wiemar, Germany. Belvidere is the hometown of both Judith Ford, the 1969 Miss America, and Joe Charboneau, a DH and outfielder for the Cleveland Indians.

To visit the CASA official webpage or to fill out an application to become an advocate click here.

Boone County Health Department- Services for Pregnancy and STDs

The Boone County Health Department, located right here in Belvidere, is offering confidential STD testing which they say will be “simple” and “fast.” The testing will be charged on a sliding scale, and chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis can all be tested for. You can also talk to the Health Department about ways to protect yourself from becoming a carrier of these diseases. Visit http://www.boonecountyhealth.org for more information.

In case you’re wondering the State of Illinois Data Portal stated that from the years 2000-2013 Boone County had a chlamydia count of 52, a gonorrhea count of 15, and an early syphilis count of 1. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to any of these diseases get tested right away! The CDC has stated that, “ACHSP considered that the evidence was strong thatearly detection and treatment of other STDs is an effective strategy for preventing sexually transmitted HIV infection.”

The Health Department is also offering free (free!) prenatal classes which include “pampering” and “fun!” During these classes the Department will also be giving out select prizes for things like car seats and play pens. There’s no reason not to go! Transportation can even be made available upon request. Don’t miss out on getting to know other people expecting new additions and learning about nutrition, stress management, and labor and delivery expectations. ChildTrends Databank states that, “Mothers who receive late (defined as beginning in the third trimester of pregnancy) or no prenatal care are more likely to have babies with health problems. Mothers who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby.” This is all the more reason to know as much as you can about the health issues surrounding prenatal health, labor and delivery, as well as newborn care.

As always, to visit the CASA official website or to fill out an application to be an advocate click here.