To provide specially selected and trained community volunteers, CASAs, Court Appointed Special Advocates, to advocate for abused and neglected children in the pursuit of safe and permanent homes.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) started in 1977 in Seattle by a judge who felt he was not getting the essential information needed to make critical, life-altering decisions about abused and neglected children. The nationwide program recruits, trains, and supervises community volunteers who advocate on behalf of youth victims who were abused or neglected by their parents or guardians and are involved in the court system. The judge founded the CASA Program to empower these volunteers to advocate on behalf of children throughout the legal process
CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties was established in 2000 in response to the need to improve the representation of abused and neglected children living in the two counties. The CASA Program recruits, screens, trains and supervises community volunteers who are independent lay advocates and appointed by judges to advocate for child abuse victims, birth to age 21, who were physically or sexually abused, who witnessed domestic violence, or who were severely neglected by their parents or guardians and are involved in the court system. In Colorado, only CASA Programs, which are set up by Judicial District, are authorized to provide this service. The duties and responsibilities are outlined in Colorado state statute C.R.S.§19-1-201 et seq. of the Colorado Children's Code. The law explicitly recognizes that "the work of community volunteers has been proven to be effective in addressing the needs of children. Partnerships between guardians ad litem (court-appointed youth attorneys) and community volunteers can enhance the quality of representation for children." CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties serves the 17th Judicial District, which encompasses the two counties and includes the cities of Bennett, Brighton, Broomfield, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Henderson, Northglenn, Thornton, and portions of Arvada, Aurora, Denver and Westminster.
Since its inception, CASA has grown to more than 200 dedicated CASA volunteers advocating for over 500 abused and neglected children yearly. The Program is highly regarded by the Courts, County Human Service Departments, and municipalities in the 17th Judicial District.
"Being a CASA has made me feel like a better person. I can count the number of lives I have personally impacted and visibly see the diference that it has made. This program gives me a chance to give back to my community, my home."
-Kevin Houck, CASA Volunteer