"The lawyers know the statutes, the social workers the regulations. But the CASA volunteer is assigned to know the child, one child at a time, to understand the boundaries of her life, to telephone her teachers, to consider her hopes and dreams, to try to come to some conclusion about what will be in her best interests. For children whose pasts have been chaotic and whose futures are uncertain, the CASA volunteer may be the most consistent, interested presence in their lives."Anna Quindlen
Author and Columnist
Since 1986, volunteers in Nebraska have been advocating for children in our court and welfare systems. CASA first began in our country in 1977. Concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children's lives without sufficient information, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates.
In 1982, the National CASA Association was formed to function as a resource to support and increase the capacities of local programs and their efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
The Nebraska CASA Association began informally in 1993 to provide assistance to Court Appointed Special Advocate programs throughout Nebraska. In 1998, the Association incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit and the Nebraska Revised Statute § 43-3701 through § 43-3716 was passed authorizing the establishment of CASA programs designating CASA volunteers as Friends of the Court. This statute empowers the CASA volunteer with the necessary authority to fulfill their duties.
In 1995, Judge Cloyd Clark worked with community leaders to form Prairie Plains CASA to advocate for abused and neglected children in Red Willow, Furnas and Hitchcock counties. Currently we have 10 volunteers advocating for 22 children.