Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Oklahoma County provides trained volunteers to be champions for the individualized best interests of children in foster care.
CASA provides a trained caring adult to advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. CASA volunteers get to know the children and communicate with all parties in the case and people in the child’s life in order to provide complete information and sound recommendations to the court. As “the eyes and ears” of the judge, the CASA volunteer offers a neutral, third-party opinion to the court, one that is unbiased and child-focused.
Who We Serve
Annually, there are over 4,700 Oklahoma children in foster care. Our program serves the most difficult of the abuse and neglect cases in Oklahoma County. Although these cases are under the jurisdiction of our county, the children may be placed in foster homes all across the state.
While volunteering in OKC metro areas, CASA volunteers are the one nonpaid adult who remains with the child throughout their child welfare case and consistently knows more about the child than any other professional involved in the child’s life. CASA volunteers provide a consistent adult presence during what can be a traumatic time, fulfilling a legal capacity with citizen advocacy and reducing costs due to increased outcomes. National CASA data shows that older children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to be adopted instead of staying in foster care through the age of 18. Research from the National CASA Association states that children with a CASA are more likely like to find a safe and permanent home, receive more education and support services while in foster care, and are less than half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) began in 1977 when the number of children in foster care reached nearly a half a million. A Seattle court Judge found himself losing sleep over the number of children entering foster care. Judge David Soukup knew his daily decisions forever changed the lives of abused and neglected children in foster care and he wanted to improve his ability to make informed choices for foster youth.
Judge Soukup stated to the L.A. Times: “I was consumed by the fact that I didn’t have enough information about each child, and I just didn’t know if I had done the very best job I could.” Judge Soukup created the first CASA program in 1977 with the service of 50 volunteers sworn in as Child Advocates. Over time, other Judges around the nation saw the value and impact of the program and began CASA programs in their local communities. Over 40 years later, there are more than 900 CASA programs in 49 states.
CASA of Oklahoma County formed in 1987, swearing in its first Volunteer Advocates in 1988. Our program is established in Oklahoma State Statute under §10A-1-1-105. Since that time, CASA of Oklahoma County has become an essential part of the Child Welfare System in Oklahoma County growing to serve 653 foster youth with 287 volunteer advocates in 2022. For our first 20 years we were under the Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau. In July of 2008, we were established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and changed our name to CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc. We are a member of both the National CASA Association and Oklahoma State CASA Association as well as a United Way Partner Agency.