The CASA movement began in 1977 when a Seattle juvenile court judge, concerned about making life changing decisions concerning foster children with insufficient information, conceived the idea of training citizen volunteers to speak up for abused and neglected children in the courtroom. That initial program has evolved into a national network of over 950 CASA programs that recruit, train, and support volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, in 2017, 261,700 children were represented by more than 85,000 CASA volunteers.
Connecticut has a long and admirable history of providing every abused and neglected child in the State with attorney representation, and in many cases, Guardian Ad Litem advocates as well. At this time, however, only a few dozen children have dedicated CASA volunteers. We believe a CASA volunteer can play an integral role by providing consistent, personalized support for the child in ways that attorneys and caseworkers with busy caseloads cannot. Working in partnership with a child's attorney and social worker, a CASA is able to keep up with the child's day-to-day life and update the Court holistically on the child's well-being and advocate for the child’s best interest; ultimately leading to better long-term outcomes for the child.
On June 10, 2016, the State enacted Public Act No. 16-210 (Bill 347) legally recognizing CASA volunteers in Connecticut’s juvenile court matters. This legislation opens the door for Connecticut’s most vulnerable children to have the benefit of a CASA volunteer.
CASA of Northern Connecticut was established in 2019 to recruit, train and provide court-appointed volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in Connecticut’s Superior Court of Juvenile Matters in Hartford, Tolland, Windham and Litchfield counties