In 1977 Judge David Soukup, the presiding judge of King County Superior Court in Seattle, Wash., grew frustrated with making decisions about a child’s welfare without enough family background.
“When you’re involved with a child and you’re trying to decide what to do to facilitate that child’s growth into a mature and happy adult, you don’t feel like you have sufficient information to allow you to make the right decision,” he said. “You wonder, ‘Do I really know everything I should? Is this really right?'”
That’s why he created the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. CASA uses trained community volunteers to speak for abused and neglected children’s best interests in court so judges have all the facts to make the best decision for the long-term welfare of each child.
Judges around the nation began using CASA Volunteers for their cases, and in 1982 the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association was founded to direct the emerging movement.
Since the first program was established in 1977, CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million abused children across the nation.
Since 1983, Jackson County CASA has been providing guardian ad litem (legal advocacy) services for abused and neglected children and youth, birth to age 21 who enter the Jackson County Family Court system. Accredited by the National CASA Association (NCASA), and a member of the Missouri CASA Association, Jackson County CASA is one of over 900 programs nationwide and 24 statewide.