The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates is to provide court advocacy and support in the 5th Judicial District of Colorado for abused and neglected children in pursuit of safe and permanent homes.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a national organization of volunteers who are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children. It was founded by Judge David Soukup of Seattle, Washington to ensure the children in the social service system don't get lost in the overburdened legal system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. CASA volunteers are independent of the state system and their only objective is to advocate for the child.
In 1996, Colorado's legislature passed a statute formally authorizing CASA services in Colorado. This law, part of the Colorado Children's Code, includes a description of the CASA volunteer as well as the role of the CASA organization. It authorizes the CASA volunteer to "enhance the quality of representation of children," which has been interpreted as referring to the representation of children involved in civil Dependency & Neglect (D&N) cases.
CASA of the Continental Divide (CASACD) was established in 1999 as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. It serves children in Colorado's 5th Judicial District, which encompasses Eagle, Clear Creek, Lake and Summit Counties. The CASACD program is the only one of its kind in Colorado's 5th Judicial District. CASACD is a member of The National CASA Association and CASA in Colorado, and follows both programs' management standards.
Youth reflections on their time with a CASA let us know that CASA volunteers make a difference in their lives. "If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be where we are today." A CASA volunteer is an adult who cares about their well-being. "Consistency is what we crave more than anything." The CASA volunteer checks in, listens, advocates, and provides help with life skills such as cooking, getting a job, applying for college, navigating leases and care buying, and managing finances. "A CASA volunteer becomes a constant when everything else is changing. They don't throw you away." We believe every child facing an uncertain future deserves a chance to thrive.
"Eleanor Roosevelt once said "when you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die". After a few years of 'retirement, sort of' I was feeling the need to be more involved with children, especially those with special needs and special family circumstances." Joy, Clear Creek County
"I have found it gratifying to know that my involvement makes a difference in people's lives. Also, it's rewarding to be part of the team of people who pool their talents and resources to help children and families in need." -Nels, Eagle County
"Some kids have been dealt bad cards through no fault of their own, and that's a real injustice. Being a CASA volunteer is a real way to make sure the voice of those kids gets heard. It can be emotionally difficult at times, but it's incredibly rewarding." -David, Summit County
"It can be a heart-wrenching experience, but it is always worth it. CASA volunteers can be the only constant in a child's life while they are going through many changes, some scary and some good. They need that consistency desperately." - Lynnette, Lake County