The CASA concept was founded in 1977, when Superior Court Judge David Soukup of Seattle was frustrated he did not have the information needed to make life-changing decisions for each child. He conceived the idea of training volunteers to learn about each child's needs, family, and living situation, to ensure their best interests are being met. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement.
Today, there are nearly 98,000 advocates serving in 939 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. While each CASA program is independent, the National CASA Association, located in Seattle, develops, and maintains the volunteer curriculum, ensuring that the highest standards are kept.
In the last 30 years, CASA of DuPage County has made a meaningful difference in the lives of children who have been abused or neglected and removed from their unsafe homes. Because of our long-lasting partnership with the DuPage County court system that began in 1993, we are proud have provided advocacy to more than 3,000 children. We started with 15 volunteer advocates who were the voices of 33 children. Today, CASA has grown into a strong and impactful organization in the DuPage County community—with experience, expertise, and resources, now supporting over 400 children with 180 volunteer advocates in the past year. We attribute our success to the profound generosity of our DuPage County community, allowing CASA of DuPage to provide every child a volunteer advocate, often the only stable adult in their lives.
“The juvenile court judges regularly state that the Advocate is the “eye and ears of the court.” But they are also my eyes and ears. I can’t imagine the juvenile court system without the dedicated and conscientious work of the CASA Advocates.”
~ Chantelle Porter, Guardian Ad Litem