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 in 49 states and Washington D.C. CASA programs across the country are known by several different names including Guardian ad Litem (GAL), 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.
Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocate (MOCASA) Association supports, improves, and grows local Court Appointed Special Advocate programs and leads advocacy efforts for abused and neglected children across Missouri.
MOCASA envisions that all Missouri children have safe permanent homes free of abuse and neglect. To achieve that vision, MOCASA works to ensure that CASA programs are in all Missouri judicial courts, supported by the Missouri Legislature, and sustained by highly-trained CASA Volunteers.
MOCASA values Trust, Accountability, Efficiency, Commitment, and Relationships.
MOCASA is the coordinating agency for CASA programs throughout Missouri. Currently, there are 22 CASA programs in Missouri serving 24 of the 46 Judicial Circuits.
MOCASA, together with its affiliate programs, provides support and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for Missouri’s abused and neglected children so they may thrive in safe, permanent homes.
MOCASA 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.
MOCASA cultivates resources, improves systems and advances public policy to further the CASA movement in our state. MOCASA 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, Executive Director.
In 2017, there were 1,601 dedicated CASA volunteers in Missouri serving nearly 4,000 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, leaving around 8,000 children (67%) without a CASA volunteer to lift up their voices. There are currently over 13,000 children in Missouri Foster Care.
Click here to learn how you can lift up a child’s voice.