CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, was founded in 1976 by a Seattle judge who felt he did not have enough information to make a determination on the permanent placement of abused and neglected children appearing in his court. Since then, CASA has grown to over 948 programs in all 50 states including Washington, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our local Circuit Court Judges became increasingly aware of the need for a CASA program in their jurisdiction and CASA of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit was created to fill this need.
A CASA is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. All of the children are victims of abuse and neglect, and have been removed from their homes. Children helped by CASAs include those for whom placement is being determined in circuit court. CASA volunteer advocates complete an application, interview, background screening, and 30 hours of pre-service training. After volunteers complete the pre-service requirements, a judge then swears in the CASA volunteers and assigns them to child abuse and neglect cases in the Circuit Court. Each volunteer is also requires to have at least 12 hours of training or in service per year.