CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. The first program began in Seattle, Washington and was lead by a local judge who was concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information. The judge decided to recruit and train community volunteers who would speak for the best interest of the children in court. Due to the remarkable success of the program, similar programs were implemented all over the United States.
Mandated by Oklahoma statutes, the CASA volunteer functions as an officer of the court and has access to all confidential records pertaining to the child. CASA volunteers get to know the children and communicate with all parties in the case and people in the child’s life in order to provide complete information and sound recommendations to the court. As “the eyes and ears” of the judge, the CASA volunteer offers a neutral, third-party opinion to the court, one that is unbiased and child-focused. These recommendations and concerns help to better inform the Judge as they make decisions on the case. The CASA volunteer offers consistency for a child when others in their life may change due to moves in placement or other circumstances. CASA volunteers are guided by their advocate supervisors, who provide coaching and oversight throughout the case.