History of CASA

In 1977 King County Superior Court Judge David W. Soukup of Seattle, Washington believed that he was not getting all the facts needed to make well-informed decisions affecting the future of children coming before him in child welfare cases. While attorney guardians ad litem (GALs) were being appointed to abuse and neglect cases in Seattle, they generally lacked the time and specialized training needed to thoroughly investigate these cases. Social workers had high caseloads resulting in inadequate staff to give each child individualized attention. Judge Soukup believed that someone other than an attorney could be trained to speak effectively for each child as an advocate in the courtroom, someone who would help shape the important decisions being made about that child’s future. Judge Soukup reached out to the community for help and the first court appointed special advocate or CASA program was established in his court in 1977. In 1996, the Federal Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act was amended to include CASA volunteers as one of the court’s options for guardian ad litem appointment.

CASA for Kids of Geauga County was initiated by Judge Henry in 1996 and graduated the first pre-service training class in the fall of 1996.