The Dependency CASA Program was established in 1977 by King County Superior Court Presiding Judge David W. Soukup, who was concerned about the lack of information available to the court when decisions were being made for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. He asked friends and staff to recruit volunteers to go out and meet these foster children, see what they needed, and come to court and report to him. His program, originally called the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program, has grown into a nation-wide movement called CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates. It is now a federal requirement that children removed from their families to foster care have advocacy in court, usually through a dedicated CASA volunteer.
Pride of Pacific Northwest. King County citizens should know about and be every bit as proud of CASA as we are of Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, our mountains, beautiful islands and pacific coast. In 40 years, CASA started from a handful of volunteers recruited by word of mouth and has grown to 70,000+ volunteers across the United States. The volunteers are trained by the court to investigate and advocate for the needs of children removed from their families due to abuse or neglect allegations. CASA volunteers investigate, report to the court on the needs of the child, assist the court in making difficult decisions, and make sure that the children’s needs are heard. We know of no other volunteer work that is more important, transformative or rewarding.
Help is needed. Our most vulnerable children need support from the community. DSHS social worker caseloads have grown, community services such as mental health and tutoring and after school sports and arts programs have shrunk, and the number of CPS filings has grown. We need your help to identify the needs of children in foster care and help make sure their needs are met and not lost in the caseloads of overburdened social service agencies.
The CASA Program needs volunteers who are able to advance and promote equality and cultural understanding in the dependency courts by carefully communicating all the needs of dependent children.
We look for qualities rather than credentials. We look for individuals who are:
- Committed to Children
- Open to Personal Growth
- Seeking a Challenging Way to Make an Impact
- Culturally Compentent
- Skilled in Interpersonal Relationships
- Willing to Maintain Objectivity
- Able to Use Common Sense
- Creative Problem Solvers
- Willing to Make an 24-Month Minimum Commitment
- Able to Pass a Background Check
- Able to Communicate Clearly Both Orally and in Writing
- Technologically savvy
- 25 years of age
CASA is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will support children being returned safely to their families of origin or if that not possible, finding a permanent alternative placement.