Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Parkland
CASA is central to fulfilling society's most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child's right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family.
About CASA of the Parkland
The MISSION of CASA of the Parkland is to recruit, train, and support community volunteers who assist the court in protecting the best interests of abused and neglected children in Missouri's 24th Circuit (Madison, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, and Washington Counties).
Accountability, Adaptability, Commitment, Integrity, Relationships, Quality, Respect and Service.
History of CASA of the Parkland
Concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, Superior Court Judge David Soukup of Seattle conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of children in court. In 1977, he created a legacy that continues to flourish when he founded what was then called the Guardian ad Litem Program and is now known as the King County Dependency CASA Program. Similar ideas were brewing around the country at about the same time.
What is now the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children was formed in 1982 to provide a unified voice for CASA programs around the country. It has grown to offer leadership, training, technical assistance and grants to programs as well. National CASA/GAL stages an annual conference, engages in national public policy efforts, promotes volunteer advocacy through public awareness efforts, offers consultation and resources to help start CASA programs and provides vital assistance to established programs.
Today, there are almost 950 CASA and GAL programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
CASA of the Parkland is a member of Missouri CASA and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children, which provides the policies and procedures for the organization and regulates the intensive training each volunteer undergoes. The training program, which requires thirty classroom hours and court observation, has been used across the country in over 900 CASA/GAL programs. CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of pre-service training before being sworn in by the courts as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Volunteers also receive a minimum of 12 hours continuing education annually. Employees and volunteers undergo a criminal background check before being assigned as an advocate for an abused or neglected child. Board members also undergo a background check.
CASA of the Parkland became a National CASA/GAL member since March 2020.