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.