CASA is a national volunteer movement that began in 1977 when Judge David Soukup in Seattle decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. His solution was to ask community volunteers to act as a "voice in court" for abused and neglected children. These Court Appointed Special Advocates® (CASA) provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children's best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The program was so successful that it was copied around the nation.
The first CASA program established in Texas was Dallas CASA in 1980. During that decade, 14 CASA programs were started in Texas. In 1989, Texas CASA was formed as a result of a merger between the Texas Task Force on Permanency Planning and the Texas CASA network that was made up of the existing CASA programs in the state.
Today, the CASA movement has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country. In Texas, there are 69 local CASA programs with more than 6,600 volunteers serving nearly 21,000 foster children in 204 counties.
Texas CASA, Inc. advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system through the development, growth and support of local CASA programs in Texas. Texas CASA also advocates for foster children in the Texas Legislature.
Who is CASA?
CASA volunteers are people like you. They’re teachers, business people, retirees, stay-at-home moms, grandparents, college students; extraordinary people who want to make certain the voices of abused and neglected children are heard.
What do CASAs do?
CASA volunteers get to know the child and speak to everyone involved in the child’s life, including their family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers, and others.
The information they gather and their recommendations help the court make informed decisions. CASA volunteers commit to a child until the case is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home.
Judges truly value the observations and recommendations of CASA volunteers, knowing that they have the child’s best interests at heart.
CASA volunteers help shorten the time a child spends in foster care.*
Children with a CASA volunteer are less likely to re-enter the child welfare system once their case is closed.*
CASA volunteers help children and their families receive the services they need.*
CASA has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program.
*Source: Study conducted by National CASA and U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, 2006
Statements from former CASA youth