What is CASA?

Appointed by the court, CASA volunteers advocate for the best interest of children who have come into the dependency system as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Information and recommendations provided by the CASA volunteer assist the court in making crucial decisions about the child’s immediate needs and long-term permanency.

Volunteers are asked to commit to at least 2 years with the program so they can provide consistency for the child and stay with the case until the child is with returned safely to their parents or placed in a safe, permanent home. For many children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.

History

In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed guidelines to help the juvenile justice system protect the child’s right to a safe, permanent family. The committee coined the umbrella term “Court Appointed Special Advocate” – CASA – denoting any volunteer following a clearly defined role as a friend of the court.

From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The Clark County CASA program was established January 1982 as the “Guardian ad Litem Project”. The first volunteer CASA started advocating for children in February of that same year. The “Guardian ad Litem Project” eventually was renamed Clark County CASA and was supported by YWCA Clark County. The relationship between the CASA Program and YWCA Clark County thrived and continues today.

Mission

Our mission is to provide quality advocacy in the best interest of each child in dependency and support permanency in a timely manner served by highly-trained volunteer advocates so the children we represent may thrive in a safe, permanent home as soon as possible.

Commitment to Diversity

Our program is committed to training culturally competent volunteers and staff to ensure we support the cultural needs of the children in Clark County. One of our key goals is to maintain a volunteer base that reflects the diversity of the children we serve and to be an inclusive organization that values the viewpoints and life experiences of each volunteer.