To give a child a CASA volunteer is to give them a voice.
To give them a voice is to give them hope.
To give them hope is to give them the world.
CASA provides abused, neglected, and exploited children a voice in court.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA of Scotts Bluff County is a non-profit organization whose volunteers serve as non-legal parties to child abuse and neglect cases in our county court system. CASA volunteers are appointed by the Judge to advocate for a child’s best interests and stay with each case until it closes, and the child is in a safe, permanent home. CASA serves children from birth through eighteen and is a constant in a child’s life when caseworkers, foster parents, and schools could change periodically.
CASA volunteers advocate for children who have entered the Juvenile County Court System – not because of what they did, but because of what someone did to them. These cases are often classified as child abuse, child neglect, homeless/destitute, or abandonment cases. Case issues include, but are not limited to, physical child abuse, domestic violence, drug or substance use, neglect, inability to protect, sexual assault, human/sex trafficking, and more.
Advocates give children a voice in court by discussing the child’s preference for placement and any needs they may have, and then prepares a written report for the court. CASA Reports give a better insight into a child’s wants and needs and include the volunteer’s opinion on the child’s best interest regarding placement, opportunities, and any concerns.
The children we serve are our purpose, and our volunteers are our heart.
Our Local History
In 1993, Judge Glenn Camerer, County Court Judge for Scotts Bluff County, began the process to establish a CASA Program in Scotts Bluff County. Shelly Fales, the local Foster Care Review Board Director, worked with Judge Camerer in start-up procedures. The first director of CASA of Scotts Bluff County was Cindy Howard who took over in December of 1995. The first training was held in September of 1996 with ten volunteers.The first funding for the CASA program was $5000 from the Department of Social Services Committee for the Protection of Children. CASA of Scotts Bluff County was a member of the Oregon Trail Community Foundation until the year 2000 when non-profit status was achieved.
History of National CASA/GAL Association
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) was formed in 1982 to provide a unified voice for CASA programs around the country. Since its inception, CASA/GAL advocacy has grown to change America’s child welfare and judicial systems, helping more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.