Colorado CASA works to promote the success of the 18 individual CASA programs in the state of Colorado through effecting the identification and execution of statewide legislative activities, pass-through funding opportunities, data collection and analysis, and brand awareness.
Judge Soukup, while overseeing cases in Seattle, Washington, first thought of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in 1977. He felt that children needed more support within the Dependency and Neglect system (the civil proceeding that occurs once a county opens a case on a child or youth due to abuse and/or neglect). He also felt that an objective perspective was needed, and that a volunteer could do this best.
CASA was introduced to Colorado in 1981 as part of a national demonstration project to find the best way of providing legal representation for children. This was in Denver. The first CASA organization started in Larimer County in 1984. There are 16 CASA programs active currently. In 1989, the executive directors of the local CASA programs formed Colorado CASA as the state-wide coordinating agency.
CASA is a well-established national program endorsed by the Pew Commission, which was created to improve outcomes for abused and neglected children through expediting placement into permanent, safe homes. CASA volunteers develop a close relationship with the child so that they can aid caseworkers, judges, and courts with the long-term goals for a family. Children with a CASA volunteer have been shown to be less likely to re-enter the foster care system.
CASA's work has been recognized over the years by organizations that include the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
"I am a CASA because being a CASA is such an important way to help my community, filling such a critical need. Who wouldn't want to help abused and neglected children if they had a chance?"
"What keeps us motivated is the fact that in just a few hours a week we can make a difference in the lives of the children."
-Christi and Randy Michaelis
"I'm a better person after being a CASA volunteer."