In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement.
Today, there are more than 76,000 advocates serving in nearly 1,ooo state and local program offices nationwide. CASA programs across the country are known by several different names, including Guardian ad Litem, Child Advocates and Voices for Children. Since the inception of CASA advocacy, volunteers have helped well over 1,000,000 children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.
CASA of the Pikes Peak Region
In the 1980’s, studies conducted by the Junior League of Colorado Springs indicated child abuse victims in El Paso and Teller Counties did not have representation and advocacy. CASA (court appointed special advocates) was selected as the best approach to address this growing need and the local chapter was formed in 1989. The Junior League and El Pomar Foundation provided start-up funding for the first two years of operation. Since 1989, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region has been recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers who advocate for children in the 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller Counties). CASA’s goal is to ensure safety and permanency for children whose lives are in turmoil. After 27 years of effective and compassionate advocacy, over 13,000 children’s lives have been changed for the better in the Fourth Judicial District.