“CASA” is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
The CASA program was established in 1977 by a Seattle judge who conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children. The program was so successful that judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA programs with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today there are 60,000 CASA volunteers serving more than 240,000 abused and neglected children through 954 local program offices.
The Family Court Division was established in Kenton County in January of 2007. Upon assuming the bench, our new judges sought ways to augment the quality of services for children under the court’s judicial supervision. They recognized that Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) could assist their efforts and they committed themselves to the task of establishing a CASA program. They assigned a court staff member to gather information and coordinate a community advisory group charged with setting up an organizational framework for the CASA program. The role of the staff member evolved into that of volunteer Acting Director for CASA of Kenton County. In the fall of 2007, a Board of Directors was appointed and the program was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Volunteer recruitment, training, case assignments, community education initiatives and fundraising activities commenced. The National and State CASA associations provided valuable assistance and guidance during the early developmental stages of our program. CASA of Boone County has served as our model, and the program and its supporters have provided constant encouragement and practical assistance.
As CASA of Kenton County is a Family Court initiative, the Court has provided multiple resources to support it. Both judges have consistently provided their time and energy to help educate our community about the need for the CASA program to better serve abused and neglected children. Their public advocacy on behalf of the program has contributed to the number and quality of recruited CASA volunteers. CASA of Kentucky Inc. recognized both for their unwavering support by honoring them with the “Rookies of the Year” award at the 2008 annual state convention.