In 1976, Superior Court Judge David Soukup of Seattle, WA, saw a recurring problem in his courtroom: "In
criminal and civil cases, even though there were always many different points of view, you walked out of the
courthouse at the end of the day and you said, 'I've done my best; I can live with this decision,' he explains.
"But 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. You can't walk away and leave them at the courthouse at 4 o'clock. You wonder, 'Do I really know
everything I should? Have I really been told all of the different things? Is this really right?'"
To ensure he was getting all the facts and the long-term welfare of each child was being represented, the
Seattle judge came up with an idea that would change America's judicial procedure and the lives of over a
million children. He obtained funding to recruit and train community volunteers to step into courtrooms on
behalf of the children: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers. This unique concept was
implemented in Seattle as a pilot program in January 1977. During that first year, the program provided 110
trained CASA volunteers for 498 children in 376 dependency cases.
In 1978 the National Center of State Courts selected the Seattle program as the "best national example of
citizen participation in the juvenile justice system." This recognition, along with a grant from the Edna
McConnell Clark Foundation of New York City (one of CASA's earliest and strongest supporters), resulted in
the replication of the Seattle CASA program in courts across the country. As CASA projects developed, each
new local program director made an on-site visit to the original Seattle host program for observation and
By 1982 it was clear that a national association was needed to direct CASA's emerging national presence. The
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association was formed that year.
By 1984 the National CASA Association received financial support from several significant sources: the
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. National CASA also receives support from the Kappa Alpha Theta
Foundation. This international women's fraternity selected CASA as its philanthropy and has provided funds
for a variety of projects, including start-up grants and a public awareness video.
The Association opened its national headquarters office in Seattle, Washington, in the summer of 1984, and
launched a membership and fundraising drive.
On April 22, 1985, President Ronald Reagan presented the National CASA Association with the President's
Volunteer Action Award for "outstanding volunteer contribution, demonstrating accomplishment through
voluntary action. "In August of 1989, the American Bar Association, the country's largest professional
organization of attorneys, officially endorsed the use of CASA volunteers to work with attorneys to speak for
abused and neglected children in court.
In July of 1990, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges named CASA "Outstanding Volunteer
Program" in America's juvenile and family courts.
Also during that year the U.S. Congress authorized the expansion of CASA with the passage of the “Victims of
Child Abuse Act of 1990” (P.L. 101-647), so that a “court-appointed special advocate shall be available to
every victim of child abuse or neglect in the United States that needs such an advocate.”
The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect included utilization of CASA and GAL volunteers among
critical first steps recommended to bring the “national
emergency” of child abuse and neglect in America today under control.
In July of 1991, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, named
CASA an "Exemplary National Program in Juvenile Delinquency Prevention."
In December of 1992, David Soukup, founder of CASA, was recognized with an award from the Caring Institute
of Washington, D.C. Also in 1992, Congress initiated funding of a grants program to expand CASA
representation of abused and neglected children.
|COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES OF HIDALGO COUNTY
|We are the voice of abused & neglected children of Hidalgo County
HISTORY OF CASA
|15th Annual Candlelight Vigil
|Wednesday, April 4th 2012
April is National Child Abuse
Prevention Month and everyone is
invited to attend in remembrance
of our children who have lost their
lives due to abuse and neglect.
|1st Annual CASA of Hidalgo Super
|Saturday, April 14th 2012
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Bring out the Super Hero in you
and help to support CASA of
Santa Fe Steak House