In criminal or civil cases, even though there were always many different points of view, you walked out of the courthouse at the end of the day and you said, 'I've done my best; I can live with this decision,” he explains. “But when you are involved with a child and you're trying to decide what to do to facilitate that child's growth into a mature and happy adult, you don't feel like you have sufficient information to allow you to make the right decision. You can't walk away and leave them at the courthouse at 4 o'clock. You wonder, ‘Do I really know everything’?”
Superior Court Judge David Soukup
In 1976, Superior Court Judge David Soukup of Seattle, WA, saw a recurring problem
in his courtroom: In criminal and civil cases, even though there were always many
different points of view, you walked out of the courthouse at the end of the day and
you said, 'I've done my best; I can live with this decision,' he explains.
To ensure he was getting all the facts and the long-term welfare of each child
was being represented, the Seattle judge came up with an idea that would
change America's judicial procedure and the lives of thousands of children. He
obtained funding to recruit and train community volunteers to step into courtrooms
on behalf of the children: the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers.
This unique concept was implemented in Seattle as a pilot program in January 1977.
During that first year, the program provided 110 trained CASAs for 498 children.
Voices for Children’s Program
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Seventh Judicial District was founded in 2000 with its first volunteer training class graduating May, 2001. Since that time we have trained over 70 volunteers who have provided 5600 hours advocacy services to over 200 children in the Seventh Judicial District of Western Colorado. In 2004 we took on the d/b/a name of Voices for Children.
"Our goal at Voices for Children’s is to provide quality advocacy services to abused and neglected children and to ensure that the availability of trained volunteer advocates is maintained and, if possible, increased."
The children we serve range in age from birth through 18 with 65% under age 11; 54% are female, 46% male.
Typically nearly 80% of the children we serve suffer severe neglect, about a third suffer physical abuse and 10-15% suffer sexual abuse. More than half suffer from more than one of these factors and nearly half are also dealing with domestic violence. Almost 90% of the families are low income and most have issues that include substance abuse and mental illness, some are dealing with development disabilities, others generational abuse.
To learn more about the financial goals of CASA visit Giving First.