The CASA Story
It Was a Judge’s Idea
Inspiration came to Seattle juvenile court judge David W. Soukup in 1976.
Judge Soukup had insufficient information to make a life-changing decision for a 3-year-old girl who had suffered from child abuse.
That’s where the idea came from: These children, who had experienced abuse or neglect, needed trained volunteers speaking up in the courtroom for their best interests.
He put out a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded. And that was the start of the CASA movement.
The History of CASA/GAL Movement
- 1977: Judge Soukup starts the first CASA/GAL program in Seattle (King County), Washington.
- 1977: A National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges committee endorses the program as a model for safeguarding a child’s rights to a safe and permanent family.
- 1978: Judge John F. Mendoza of Nevada suggests the term “court-appointed special advocate” to designate the lay court-appointed volunteers.
- 1982: The first Annual CASA Conference is held in Nevada, and participants vote to establish the National CASA Association.
- 1982: The number of CASA/GAL programs reaches 88.
- 1983: Twenty-nine states have CASA/GAL programs.
- 1984: The National CASA Association forms in Seattle.
- 1984: National CASA enters into its first cooperative agreement with the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which remains our largest funder to date.
- 1985: President Ronald Reagan presents National CASA with the President’s Volunteer Action Award.
- 1985: 10,000 children served annually through 159 programs
- 1987: 40,000 children served by 12,000 volunteers in 271 local programs and 44 states. The first CASA program in Maryland is started.
- 1988: Tribal courts first begin CASA programs through grants to five tribes.
- 1989: National CASA becomes Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation’s national charity.
- 1990: 72,000 children served by 17,000 volunteers in 412 program offices
- 1991: The CASA program is first authorized in the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
- 1995: 129,000 children served by 38,000 volunteers in 642 program offices
- 1996: Congress amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to allow the required GAL to be an attorney or CASA volunteer.
- 1997: The National Bar Association endorses CASA volunteer advocacy. Maryland CASA is incorporated.
- 2000: 174,000 children served by 47,000 volunteers in 900 program offices
- 2003: National CASA’s partnership with Jewelers for Children, our largest private funder, begins. CASA of Caroline opens its doors.
- 2007: CASA network reaches 2 million children served since inception.
- 2015: National CASA begins a partnership with Akerman LLP, a top law firm.
- 2016: National CASA Association opens an office in Washington, D.C.
Ways You Can Help
Make a Financial Contribution:
- Click on our "donation" link or send us a check. Monetary donations help cover the costs of recruiting and training volunteer advocates. All gifts are tax-deductible.
- Designate CASA of Caroline in your workplace giving. Don’t forget about matching funds programs and Maryland Charity Campaigns #1363. Please visit mdcharity.org to learn more.
- Honor a CASA advocate you know by making a gift in his or her honor.
- Make a planned gift through a bequest or life insurance gifts.
Become a Corporate Partner
We are looking for like-minded businesses and organizations within the community to become partners. Please visit our "Community Partners" page for more details and to see our current partners.
Make an In-Kind Donation:
- Office supplies like copy paper, file folders, etc.
- Non-perishable food and beverages to be used during trainings.
- Gift cards for gas or restaurants that our CASA's could use during their visits with their child
- Gift cards or items for the auction at our annual fundraiser.
Other Ways to Support:
- Host an event such as a car wash, bake sale, etc. to benefit CASA of Caroline.
- Shop AmazonSmile and designate CASA of Caroline as your charity of choice.
- Invite us to come present to your group, organization or workplace.
- Stay connected with us by signing up for our newsletter and e-mail updates.
Get In Touch
114 Market Street, Suite 100
Denton, MD 21629