National CASA History
Texas CASA is part of a national volunteer movement that began over 33 years ago, when a judge in Seattle decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. The solution he started was using community volunteers as a "voice in court" for abused and neglected children. These Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children's best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The program was so successful that it was copied around the nation. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
Today, the CASA movement has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country. There are more than 900 CASA programs in operation - at least one in every state - and more than 52,000 trained volunteer advocates nationwide. In fiscal year 2009 in Texas, 5,646 CASA volunteers advocated for the best interests of 19,818 children in 204 counties.
The first CASA program in Texas began in Dallas in 1979. Texas CASA, which was formed in 1989, serves the 72 local CASA programs currently operating statewide by providing: funding; training; technical assistance; coordination for program expansion and development; and tools and strategies for raising public awareness of child abuse and the need for volunteer advocates.
Texas CASA History
The first CASA program established in Texas was Dallas CASA in 1980. Texas CASA was formed in 1989 when a passionate CASA volunteer from one of our state’s then 13 local CASA programs had the vision of a statewide hub – an organization belonging to everyone in Texas working tirelessly in pursuit of the same mission. That individual was our founding CEO Jane Quentan Piper, and her idea was, and is, Texas CASA.
At the local level, the 72 CASA programs in Texas do the hands-on work of recruiting, training and supervising volunteers to speak up in court and represent the best interests of children. As the statewide organization, Texas CASA provides financial support and services to help ensure the state’s CASA programs operate effectively and can seek out the best possible volunteers who will work tirelessly and diligently to help children find their forever homes.
Today, the CASA movement has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country. In Texas, there are 72 local CASA programs with nearly 8,500 volunteers serving nearly 26,000 foster children in 213 counties. Many things have changed over the years, but Texas CASA has remained focused on one primary mission: to work with local programs to assure every child in the child welfare system has a CASA volunteer.
CASA of Johnson County History
CASA of Johnson County was founded November 20, 2002 when Judge John Neill saw the need for a CASA organization in our community. Volunteers took their first cases in July 2003. Since then, CASA has been assigned to over 600 cases and served more than 1000 abused and neglected children in Johnson County. We currently have 93 trained volunteers and eight office staff providing a powerful voice for 350 abused and neglected children in Johnson County.
We believe that all children have the right to a home with loving people to care for them. But each year in the United States, children are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. They are removed from their homes and placed in foster care or institutions. Eventually, they end up in court. Their only "crime" is that they have been victims. It is up to the judge to decide their future.