The nation's first CASA program was developed in Seattle, Washington in 1977 by Judge David Soukup.
Judge Soukup realized that he needed help in determining what was in the best interest of the children whose cases he had before him in court.
“Over 30 years ago, while sitting as a judge in juvenile court, I realized that there was no one in the courtroom whose only job was to provide a voice for those children. Caseworkers have obligations to their agency, the parent and others. Lawyers cannot investigate the facts and advocate for the mental health and social needs of the child. While sitting at juvenile court, I never got a night’s sleep without waking to wonder if at least one decision I made that day had been the best for a child. It struck me that it might be possible to recruit and train volunteers to investigate a child’s case so they could provide a voice for the child in those proceedings, proceedings which could affect their whole lives. I had my bailiff call four or five people in the community who might be resources in recruiting volunteers to ask if they would meet for a brown bag lunch at juvenile court to discuss the idea. There were 50 people in the room when I walked in for that lunch. I thought, “This idea is going to work.” It has.”
Since then over 1,000 CASA programs have been established throughout the nation.