Macon County CASA was formed in the summer of 1998 and was initially affiliated with Webster Cantrell Hall. The first training class for Special Advocates was completed in July 1998. The 7 graduates of that first class were sworn in at a ceremony conducted July 24, 1998. Included in that class were Ruth Hawkins, the founder and first Program Director of CASA and Volunteer Advocate and Brenda Turner, who later became Executive Director.
Local legislators Duane Noland, Kevin Kehoe and Julie Curry, who had supported the legislation establishing CASA in Illinois, were present. Mr. Kehoe, an attorney, was particularly aware of the need for CASA because he had served as Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children in Macon County. And, Macon County Juvenile Advocacy Judge at the time, Ted Paine, also was a part of leading the effort to establish a local CASA organization which could offer help to the rising numbers of local foster children.
In that initial partial year of existence, Macon County advocates served 16 children. By 2000, 13 Advocates served 52 children.
Over time, Macon County CASA established independence from Webster Cantrell Hall as a tax-exempt charitable organization governed by a Board of Directors. Today, over 200 volunteer advocates serve just over 300 abused and neglected children who have come under the jurisdiction of the Macon County Juvenile Court through no fault of their own.