CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates
Judge David Soukup of Seattle, Washington first implemented the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) concept in 1977. As a Judge, he felt a compelling need to have more information available on which he could base his decisions that had lifelong ramifications for children. In 1982, the National CASA Association was formed to function as a resource to support and increase the capacities of local programs and their efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA/GAL program.
How Do CASA Volunteers Help Children?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care. Read more evidence of effectiveness.
The Nebraska CASA Association is a network of 22 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.