History of CASA
Brush Country CASA (formerly known as CASA of Kleberg County) is located in Kleberg County, in the city of Kingsville, Texas. We are located in the heart of an area known as the “Brush Country” – a large, vast, and rural area comprising 5,929 square miles.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program began in Seattle, Washington in 1977 by Judge David Soukup, the presiding judge of King County Superior Court. Judge David W. Soukup felt that due to an overburdened system, he wasn’t getting the facts needed to make a well-informed decision affecting the future of the children whose cases where before him.
He believed it was feasible to recruit and train qualified community volunteers to step into the court room and speak up on behalf of the children. “In criminal and civil cases, even though there were many different points in view, you walk out of the courthouse at the end of the day and you said, ‘I’ve done my best, I can live with this decision’,” he explains.
In 1978, a nationwide study was conducted for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to evaluate volunteer programs in juvenile courts. Currently there are over 800 with more than 42,000 volunteers serving over 164,000 children.
In 1982, it was clear that a national association was needed to direct CASA’s emerging national presence. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association was formed that year.
On April 22, 1985, President Ronald Reagan presented the National CASA Association with the Presidents Volunteer Action Award for “outstanding volunteer contribution, demonstrating accomplishment through voluntary action.”
In August of 1989, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges named CASA “Outstanding Volunteer Program” in America’s juvenile and family courts.
Today, the National CASA Association represents 710 CASA programs in all 50 states, Washinton D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It provides support for starting programs, technical assistance, training, and fund-raising, media, and public awareness services.
State and Local History of CASA
The most recent statistics from the State of Texas, which were compiled in 2005, revealed that the number of children in foster care in Kleberg County had increased by more than 5%. The number of births to teens, ages 13 to 19, had also increased, as had the number of confirmed victims of child abuse.
More children in foster care, more teenagers giving birth, and more confirmed victims of child abuse have added to the caseloads of the already overburdened CPS caseworkers. A decrease in funding for CPS Region 11 has further impacted the quality of services provided to children in foster care in the Brush County service area.
Brush County CASA and Child Protective Services (CPS) in Kleberg County have developed a good working relationship. The agency’s Program Director has expressed strong support for the CASA program, and welcomes our assistance in obtaining what is in the best interest of the abused and neglected children in the area. CASA also has the support of the Kleberg County Child Welfare Board.
Preliminary findings show that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers tend to spend less time in Court and less time within the foster care system than those who do not have CASA representation. Judges have observed that CASA children also have better chances of finding a permanent home than non-CASA children. Texas contains a large percentage of the nation’s dependent children and is the second most populated state in the country.
Funding support is provided by city, county, state and federal grants, community organizations, memberships, private foundations, small businesses, corporations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and individuals like you.
Brush Country CASA
635 East King, Ste. 110
Kingsville , TX , 78363