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CASA’s conference to deal with youth mental illness

GENEVA – CASA Kane County, based in Geneva, will host its annual Educational Fall Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 in the St. Charles Ballroom at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, the agency announced in a news release.

The topic of this year’s conference is “A Generation in Crisis: Youth Mental Illness,” the release stated.  

CASA Kane County recruits, trains and supervises court appointed special advocates and guardians ad litem – known as CASAs and GALs – for children who are in court due to abuse, neglect or private guardianship.

The goal is for every child to be placed in a safe and permanent home, allowing them the chance to reach their full potential in life, according to the agency’s website,

With Northwestern Medicine, the Kane County Regional Office of Education, Christ Community Church, Administer Justice, the INC Board, NFP and Mutual Ground, the conference will tackle the root causes of mental illness in youth, the release stated.

The conference will offer practical solutions for how the community can identify children who are struggling and how to get them the help and support they need, the release stated.

Among the contributors are Mark Reinecke, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, who will discuss youth depression, trends, treatment and prevention, according to the agency website.

Also contributing will be Cassandra Kisiel, principal investigator and director at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Center for Child Trauma Assessment, who will discuss understanding the impact of complex trauma on youth and families.

In addition, Allison Johnsen, manager of behavioral health at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, will discuss vicarious trauma – also called compassion fatigue – which comes from the chronic stress of caregiving and repeated exposure to another’s trauma, the website stated.

A five-member legal panel will discuss how the justice system interacts with those who have mental illness. Panelists will be Donald Hudson, presiding judge for the Illinois Second District Appellate Court; Kane County Judge Clint Hull; Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer; Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Lark Cowart; and attorney Lyndsay A. Markley, the website stated.

The cost to register is $120 for general admission; discounted rates are available for other groups. The cost covers the conference, a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and a lunch, the website stated.

Participants can register to attend through the website.

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