How The CASA Movement Began
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge, David Soukup, was losing sleep trying to make the best decisions for abused and neglected children in his courtroom. There were many times when he felt that he did not have enough information about each child’s unique circumstances. Judge Soukup knew that the decisions he was making would have a lifelong impact on these children. He came up with an idea: What if he could train community volunteers to get to know these children and their circumstances? These volunteers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, could report back to him with what they had learned and he would then be able to make a decision based on the best interests of the child. He put the word out that he was looking for volunteers, expecting five or ten people to hear the call. Fifty citizens responded. Thus, the CASA concept was born.
Judge Soukup’s idea has blossomed into a nationwide program. Last year, more than 76,000 CASA volunteers served more than 251,000 abused and neglected children through almost 1,000 program offices. CASA volunteers have helped more than two million abused children since the first program was established.
‘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?'”
In 1993, a handful of local attorneys recognized the need for a CASA program in Anne Arundel County. With the support from the local Bar Association, the Circuit Court, and the Department of Social Services, Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. (AACCASA) was incorporated. AACCASA began serving children in July 1997. With a small staff of six professionals, we rely on volunteers to achieve our mission. Since our inception, over 500 exceptional CASA volunteers have worked diligently to improve the lives of the children in need in our community. Our dedicated volunteers contribute over 9,000 hours of their time annually to help these children who are unable to help themselves.
AACCASA is a privately held 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are funded through grants, donations, and fundraising and are part of a network of 16 CASA programs serving 21 Maryland counties.
A copy of our current financial statement is available upon request by contacting Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. at 8 Church Circle, Suite H-103, Annapolis, MD, 21401, or by calling (410) 267-7877. Documents and information submitted to the State of Maryland under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are available from the Office of the Secretary of State for the cost of copying and postage.