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MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Whatcom County CASA Program is to ensure that the best interests of every abused and/or neglected child involved in a dependency in Whatcom County is represented by a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), unless already represented by a contracted Guardian ad Litem (GAL). To goal of the CASA Program is to ensure that each child has a voice and that their best interests are continually evaluated and promoted.
Whatcom County is the latest county to join the list of 34 CASA programs throughout Washington State and over 900 programs nationwide.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. The first CASA program was developed in Seattle, in 1977, by Judge David Soukup who recognized the need for children involved in dependency court to be represented by an impartial advocate who could speak on behalf of the child. To meet this need, Seattle began recruiting, training, and appointing qualified community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. Following the success and model of this program, numerous programs began cropping up across the nation. In 1984, the National CASA Association opening its doors in Seattle followed by Washington State CASA in 1988. Today there are over 50,000 CASA volunteers advocating for children across the county and Whatcom is County is very excited be begin adding to that number.
CASA is the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the court. In an overburdened social welfare system, abused and neglected children often slip through the cracks among hundreds of current cases. CASA volunteers change that. Appointed by judges, CASA volunteers commit to staying on that case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide that one constant that children need in order to thrive.
- Emily O'Connor
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