CASA was founded in 1977, when a Seattle superior court judge, amidst an overwhelmed child welfare system, grew concerned about making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children in his court without enough information. He felt that more individualized attention and time for gathering important facts would produce better outcomes for the children. He decided to appoint community volunteers to work on behalf of the children in his court.
Dallas CASA was one of three pilot programs established in 1979. The agency, then called FOCAS (Foster Child Advocate Services), was founded by the National Council of Jewish Women with funding from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. Our first class of volunteers graduated in 1980.
Judges appoint Dallas CASA volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, helping these children gain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Dallas CASA exists so that abused and neglected children in protective care have the chance to become successful adults. With the help of caring advocates, the cycle of abuse and neglect will be broken.
Last year more than 1,300 volunteers served more than 3,100 children annually in Dallas County. Since the inception of CASA advocacy, Dallas volunteers have helped thousands of children find safe, permanent homes. Today, more than 76,000 advocates serve in nearly 1,000 state and local program offices nationwide.
Dallas CASA is a charter member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association and of Texas CASA. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit social service agency governed by a board of directors.