Better Business Bureau Report for
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County

Better Business Bureau Report issued October 2013
Better Business Bureau Report expires October 2015


Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...


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Charity Contact Information

Name: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County
Address: 1100 S. Hamilton 8-W
  Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 312-433-4928
Web Address: www.casacookcounty.org
Also known as:CASA of Cook County
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 1986, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: CASA of Cook County speaks up in court for abused and neglected children and ensures that children live in safe, permanent homes. CASA of Cook County’s trained volunteers research cases and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on this additional information to make the best decisions about children’s futures. CASA dedicates one volunteer advocate to champion one child; ensuring that the child’s voice is present in court even if the child is not.

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Evaluation Conclusions

              

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet the following 6 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 1: Oversight of Operations and Staff - Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because its board of directors does not:

  • Ensure that the organization‘s arrangements with outside fundraising firms are made in writing.

Standard 3: Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings - An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board of directors did not hold a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings in the past fiscal year.

Standard 6: Board Policy on Effectiveness - Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because:

  • Its effectiveness assessment policy does not specify that this assessment will take place at least once every two years.

Standard 7: Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness - Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because:

  • It did not produce a written report outlining the results of its most recent effectiveness assessment.

Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures - Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because the organization's website, www.casacookcounty.org, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:

  • Total income.
  • Total program expenses.
  • Total fund raising expenses.
  • Total administrative expenses.
  • End of year net assets.
  • Electronic access to the organization’s most recent IRS Form 990.

Standard 18: Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy - Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County does not meet this Standard because the privacy policy on this website, www.casacookcounty.org does not indicate:

  • What personal information is being collected and how it will be used.
  • How to contact the charity to review personal information that is collected and request corrections.
In addition, the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s finances and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following Standard for Charity Accountability: 14.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County meets the remaining 13 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Programs

              

CASA of Cook County’s vision is to protect abused and neglected children by providing them a voice in court, a safe and permanent home, and an opportunity to grow, learn and thrive. Through caring and dedicated volunteers, CASA will advocate for all children in need, will generate awareness of their plight, and will cultivate strong partnerships with individuals and organizations committed to bettering the lives of abused and neglected children.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County's program expenses were:

  
Program Services 453,454
Program Services In-kind 30,382
Total Program Expenses: $483,836
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Governance

              

Chief Executive : Annie Higgins, Executive Director
Compensation*: 
$60,000

Chair of the Board: Board of Directors
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Director, Forensic & Litigation Services, ORBA

Board Size: 14

Paid Staff Size: 8

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising

              

Method(s) Used:

direct mail, invitations to fund raising events, grant proposals, membership
Fund raising costs were 13% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $422,387, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status

              

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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Financial

              

The following information is based on Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cook County's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.

Source of Funds  
Grants 290,511
Gross Proceeds 129,031
Contributions 97,496
Donated Facilities 24,380
Donated Services 10,000
Interest 863
Other 120
Direct Expenses -24,518
Total Income $527,883


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Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 87%  Fund Raising: 10%  Administrative: 3% 

Total income $527,883
Program expenses $483,836
Fund raising expenses 56,256
Administrative expenses 14,269
Total expenses $554,361
Expenses in Excess of Income (26,478)
Beginning net assets 259,687
Ending net assets 233,209
Total liabilities 567
Total assets $233,776


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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

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