Our CASA Mission
CASA SHaW provides well-trained, trauma-informed volunteers to serve as advocates in court for children living in foster care. Our goal is to ensure that every child served has a safe, permanent home and the resources and services needed to thrive and not just survive adverse childhood experiences. We are committed to educating ourselves and the community about the causes and impacts of child abuse and neglect, the need for racial equity in a disproportionate system, and how to best advocate for and meet the needs of children in foster care in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties.
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children in foster care without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to independently investigate the cases, make recommendations, and speak up in court about what was in the best interest of the child. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded and became the start of the CASA movement. News of the success of Judge Soukup’s experiment spread and CASA programs sprang up all over the United States. Currently there are over 1,000 CASA Programs throughout the United States and CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.
Today CASA is a network of more than 950 programs in 49 states recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports that children with a CASA Advocate are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and families with a CASA Advocate receive more services and cases where CASA is involved are more likely to be permanently closed, leading the OIG to conclude that "CASA is effective in identifying the needs of children and parents."