How CASA grew from one judge to
1,000 nationwide programs
The first CASA program started in 1977 by Judge David Soukup in Seattle, Washington, who realized that he was making far-reaching decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without hearing from the unique perspective of the child. He decided to train community volunteers to independently investigate the cases and make recommendations about what was in the best interest of the child. A pilot program began in 1978 with 110 trained volunteers.
A word from our founder…
“As a judge, I had to make tough decisions. whether to take a child from the only home he’s ever known or leave him somewhere he might possibly be abused. I needed someone who could tell me what was best for that child–from the child’s viewpoint. That’s what CASA does.”
– CASA founder, Honorable David Soukup
In 1982, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association was formed.
Currently, there are over 1,000 state and local CASA programs with over 70,000 volunteers throughout the United States.
CASA of New Jersey
CASA of New Jersey began in 2000 with the goal of establishing independent, non-profit CASA programs throughout the state. Today, CASA of NJ supports a statewide network of affiliated community-based CASA programs in all 15 court vicinages and 21 NJ counties.
CASA of Bergen County
Recognizing the enormous need for a CASA program locally, Judge Ellen Koblitz, Presiding Judge of Bergen County’s Family Court, contacted the state CASA association (CASA of NJ) in the spring of 2002. An initial steering committee was formed to develop a local CASA program to serve Bergen County’s most vulnerable children. That steering committee became a founding board for CASA for Children of Bergen County in 2003.
Our CASAs support approximately 200 children annually. The children range from birth to age 21, reside in group homes, or residential facilities in Bergen County. You can read about the powerful impact we make for these vulnerable children here.