Every year millions of children in the United States are abused, neglected or abandoned. Eventually, many of these children end up in court where a judge must decide their future. Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup, experienced this when he began hearing abuse and neglect cases in his court room, "In criminal and civil cases, even though there were always many different points of view, you walked out of the courthouse at the end of the day and you said, 'I've done my best; I can live with this decision.' But when you're involved with a child and you're trying to decide what to do to facilitate that child's growth into a mature and happy adult, you don't feel like you have sufficient information to allow you to make the right decision. You can't walk away and leave them at the courthouse at 4 o'clock. You wonder, 'Do I really know everything I should? Have I really been told all of the different things? Is this really right?’”
To ensure he was getting all the facts and the long-term welfare of each child was being represented, the Seattle judge came up with an idea that would change America's judicial procedure and the lives of over a million children. He recruited his staff; the idea caught on and was developed. Now community volunteers called Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer to step into courtrooms on behalf of abused and neglected children. This unique concept was implemented as a pilot program in January 1977. During that first year, the program provided 110 trained CASA volunteers for 498 children in 376 dependency cases. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association in Seattle , Washington provides leadership and technical support to new and existing programs. Over the past twenty five years, tens of thousands of CASA/GAL volunteers have served hundreds of thousands of abused and neglected children. Today the National CASA Association acknowledges 950 CASA programs across the country, including Washington D.C. and Virgin Islands.
CASA began in Laramie County in August 2002 and has been serving children since July of 2003. and is a member in good standing with the National CASA Association. Since CASA began in Laramie County, almost one-fourth of the abused and neglected children who have been through the court process have been served by a CASA volunteer.