CASA is a national volunteer movement that began more than 25 years ago, when Judge David Soukup in Seattle decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. His solution was to ask community volunteers to act as a “voice in court” for abused and neglected children. These Court Appointed Special AdvocatesTM (CASA) provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children’s best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The program was so successful that it was copied around the nation.
The first CASA program established in Texas was Dallas CASA in 1980. During that decade, 14 CASA programs were started in Texas. In 1989, Texas CASA was formed as a result of a merger between the Texas Task Force on Permanency Planning and the Texas CASA network that was made up of the existing CASA programs in the state.
Today, the CASA movement has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country. In Texas, there are 73 local CASA programs, with more than 8,476 CASA volunteers serving 25,947 of the 47,348 children in foster care in 2015.
Judges truly value the observations and recommendations of CASA volunteers, knowing that they have the child’s best interests at heart.
– CASA volunteers help shorten the time a child spends in foster care.*
– Children with a CASA volunteer are less likely to re-enter the child welfare system once their case is closed.*
– CASA volunteers help children and their families receive the services they need.*
– CASA has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program.
*Source: Study conducted by National CASA and U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, 2006
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a national volunteer movement founded in 1977. Voz de Niños is a member of the National and Texas CASA Associations. There are more than 1,000 CASA programs nationwide and 73 CASA programs in the state of Texas.
What it means to be a CASA volunteer
When a child enters the foster care system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate®, or CASA.
CASA volunteers are screened and highly trained and then appointed by judges to represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system. CASA volunteers are each assigned to help one child or set of siblings at a time, so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need. CASA volunteers save taxpayers money and children’s futures by helping children find a safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.
Voz de Niños continues to provide valuable volunteer advocacy for every abused child in this area. CASA volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases. This includes researching each child’s situation and making objective recommendations to help them reclaim their childhoods from abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are frequently the only stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate the foster care system.
These volunteers bring three critical qualities to their work: they focus on one case at a time; they bring a unique perspective to the court case; and their sole objective is representing the best interests of the child.
Voz de Niños advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system through the training and support of community volunteers.
A safe, permanent, loving home for every child.
Voz de Niños is part of a national volunteer movement that began in 1977 when Judge David Soukup in Seattle decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. His solution was to ask community volunteers to act as a “voice in court” for abused and neglected children. These Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASAs) provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children’s best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The program was so successful that it was copied around the nation.
Voz de Niños has continued to serve abused and neglected children in Webb County by providing trained community volunteers for children assigned to the program through the court.
Voz de Niños is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.
Voz de Niños is a member of the National and Texas CASA Associations. There are more than 1,000 CASA programs nationwide and 73 CASA programs in the state of Texas.