Who We Are

What is CASA?

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

CASA is a nationwide organization with state and local chapters whose mission, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so the children can thrive in safe, permanent homes.

Court Appointed Special Advocates are community volunteers trained by local program directors to speak up for abused and neglected children in court. With the information provided by the CASA volunteers, judges are able to make more informed decisions as to what is best for the child.

CASA volunteers review records, gather information, and talk to everyone involved in the case: parents, teachers, foster parents, therapists, and of course, the child. The volunteer submits the information to the Guardian ad Litem (the court-appointed attorney for the child) and judge along with a recommendation. The Guardian ad Litem can then present the CASA volunteer’s findings to the judge. CASA volunteers believe that children deserve every chance to grow up in a safe, nurturing  and permanent home.

The year was 1977. Concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court.

So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today 949 CASA programs are in operation. Last year, over 250,000 children were served nationally by 76,000 women and men CASA volunteers.

The first CASA program in Montana began in 1981. Today, There are currently fifteen CASA programs in Montana, serving 37 of our 56 counties. The CASA of Yellowstone County program began in 2000. In its 15 year history, over 200 volunteer Advocates have served nearly 900 children in Yellowstone County. To learn more about other CASA Programs in our state click here.

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