How CASA Began
In 1977, Judge David Soukup, presiding judge of King Co. Superior Court in Seattle, started a volunteer Guardian ad Litem program to make sure he would know all he could about the long-term welfare needs of each child that came through his court room. During that first year, the King County program provided 110 trained volunteers for 498 children in 376 dependency cases.
In autumn 1977, the Children in Placement Committee of 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.
In 1984, the National CASA Association opened its office in Seattle, Washington. NCASAA provides funding to start new CASA programs, expand existing programs, and develop state CASA Associations. They host a national annual conference for volunteers, program management and board members. NCASAA is a powerful voice for children in Congress and across the nation.
In 1988, Washington State CASA was formed by local CASA programs and stakeholders to carry out statewide training, legislative advocacy, data collection and awareness statewide about the issues affecting abused and neglected children.
Today there are over 75,000 CASA volunteers across the United States. Washington State is 2500 + volunteer CASAs strong serving 6945 + of our most vulnerable children.