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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.
Today, there are more than 77,000 advocates serving in more than 930 state and local program offices nationwide. CASA programs across the country are known by several different names, including Guardian ad Litem, Child Advocates and Voices for Children.
Since the inception of CASA, volunteers have helped well over 1,000,000 children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.
Grand Prairie CASA
In 1999, Lonoke County Circuit Judges felt more could be done for the foster children in the Court system. CASA (court appointed special advocates) was selected as the best approach to address this growing need and the local chapter was formed in 2000. Since then, CASA has been recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers who advocate for children in the 23rd Judicial District (Lonoke County). CASA’s goal is to ensure safety and permanency for children whose lives are in turmoil. After 15 years of effective and compassionate advocacy, over 1,500 children’s lives have been changed for the better in the 23rd Judicial District.
Lonoke County CASA expanded their services into both Monroe and Woodruff Counties in 2015 and into Arkansas County in 2016.