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 670 foster youth with 261 volunteer advocates in 2019. 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.