History of CASA
In 1977, then Seattle Judge Soukup had concerns he was making drastic decisions for children and families without sufficient information. He asked the public for help to come up with a better way of serving children. The public responded with the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of children in the courtroom to ensure the judge was getting all the facts and the long-term welfare of each child was represented. What began with 50 volunteers in King County, WA, has grown into a network of more than 946 CASA programs across the country.
Thanks to pilot programs in Multnomah and Josephine counties, the Oregon Legislature passed a law in 1987 mandating that every abused and neglected child in protective custody is entitled to the help of a CASA volunteer. Shortly thereafter, in 1992, CASA officially came to Yamhill County. The program started out under the umbrella of YCAP and became an independent 501c3 in 1995. Today we are among the longest-serving programs in the state and consistently serve 50-60% of eligible children. There are roughly 125 children living in the foster care system in Yamhill County at any given time.
The role of local programs such as Yamhill County CASA is to recruit, train and support the volunteers who work with the children in their community. Together with the Oregon CASA Network and National CASA Association, we continue to strive to provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.