History of CASA
The History of CASA
In 1977, Judge David Soukup in Seattle, WA, presided over a complicated case involving the construction industry. It took about three weeks, and ended on a Friday. The following Monday, resuming the bench, he was presented with a 3-year-old deprived little girl, and had about 20 minutes to decide what was best for her. The judge has said that he had a hard time sleeping at night, thinking about that little girl, and about how much more information he would like to have had. Judge Soukup conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court, and decided to invite the community to a meeting to discuss this concept. He expected maybe a dozen people to show up. To his surprise, nearly 60 people attended. CASA was born – Court Appointed Special Advocates. So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1982 the National CASA Association was established to serve as an umbrella organization for the growing movement. Today more than 900 CASA programs are in operation, with 70,000 women and men serving as CASA volunteers. Georgia CASA was established in 1988, two pilot CASA programs were implemented in 1989, and CASA Glynn was established in 1994.