Supreme Court Justice Mary R. Russell, CASA Volunteer, Anne Moyer, Program Director, Martha Gershun and Judge Russell Steele tell you why CASA matters and how volunteers make a difference for Missouri’s abused and neglected children.
In 1977, Seattle Superior Court Judge, David Soukup, was concerned about making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He had the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court. He made a request for volunteers. Fifty citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement.
Today, there are more than 77,000 advocates serving in 946 programs nationwide. CASA programs across the country are known by several different names including Guardian ad Litem, Child Advocates and Voices for Children.
Since the inception of CASA advocacy, volunteers have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes.
Click here to visit the National CASA Association’s website.
To improve the lives of abused and neglected children in Missouri by promoting the development, expansion and improvement of CASA programs statewide.
- A state where all children have a safe, permanent home free of abuse and neglect, where a CASA program exists in every Judicial Circuit, where a CASA is provided for every child who needs one, and where the needs of children are a priority on the legislative and judicial agendas.
- An association of CASA programs statewide, which is a strong, positive advocate for the children of Missouri, where services are integrated, technical assistance is provided, innovative ideas are encouraged, quality is monitored and enhanced, volunteers are motivated, dialogue is facilitated, and which is a national model for how to speak up for children effectively.
- An environment which encourages the development of new possibilities for abused and neglected children, in which warmth and nurturing replace hurt and fear and in which children receive the attention and support they need to realize their potential and build self-esteem, free from the continuum of violence that plagues their world today.
The Missouri CASA Association (MOCASA) is the coordinating agency for CASA programs throughout Missouri. Currently, there are 21 CASA programs in Missouri serving 22 of the 45 Judicial Circuits.
Missouri CASA, together with its affiliate programs, provide support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy for Missouri’s abused and neglected children so they may thrive in safe, permanent homes.
Missouri CASA and its 22 affiliate CASA programs work cooperatively with the Department of Social Services, the Circuit Courts and other child service agencies to improve the lives of abused and neglected children in Missouri.
The Missouri CASA Association cultivates resources, improves systems and advances public policy to further the CASA movement in our state. The Missouri CASA Association does not provide direct services but provides support and funding for its 22 local programs and is focused on expanding CASA programs throughout the state. If you would like to learn more about starting a CASA program in your area, please contact Leanne Reese, Deputy Director.
In 2013, there were 1,364 dedicated CASA volunteers in Missouri serving 3,309 children. While this is a great accomplishment, more CASA volunteers are needed. Last year, there were more than 12,000 of Missouri’s children in the state’s custody which left over 9,000 children without a CASA volunteer to lift up their voices.
Click here to learn how you can lift up a child’s voice.