CASA Volunteers are a voice that fights when others aren’t able. A voice that is brave, yet maintains a soft heart. A voice that serves to reassure that everything will be alright. Every child has the right to be heard, the right to be safe, and the opportunity to thrive. A CASA Volunteer can be a key factor in ensuring a brighter future awaiting every child who has experienced abuse and neglect.
Children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect are among the most vulnerable populations in America. A child in foster care may have faced physical, psychological or emotional trauma and years of uncertainty as they wait to go home, be adopted or simply see what happens next. All that chaos has long-term effects. Young people who have spent time in foster care are more likely to face incarceration, homelessness and unemployment. They are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to be victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
There is a simple and effective solution: A CASA Volunteer. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. A CASA is a trained community member who acts as an agent of the court. They work directly with the professionals on the case to make sure that the best interests of the children and youth they serve are always front-and-center. A young person who has a CASA Volunteer has the best chance of a successful outcome.
Child Advocates – Denver CASA advocates for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect by training diverse volunteers who create opportunities for children, youth and families to thrive.
Our vision is that all children, youth and families are thriving emotionally, mentally, and physically with lifelong connections to caring and responsible adults, a permanent home, and a safe and nurturing environment where they have a sense of belonging.
- Community: We nurture and cultivate meaningful relationships that contribute to stronger, safer and more supported communities.
- Collaboration: We collaborate with our team, stakeholders, community members and other organizations to form strong working partnerships.
- Diversity: We seek to include people with diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and viewpoints in all areas of our work and create a community where each person can feel their authentic selves, and their views and contributions are valued and integrated, thereby enriching the organization.
- Justice: We act with empathy to understand and respect lived experiences of the children and families we serve and pursue equity and justice while acknowledging power structures and bias.
- Learning: We continue to learn and grow as individuals and a team.
- Integrity: We practice honesty and show consistent ad uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
Denver CASA continues to build a diverse and inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the distinct voices of our employees, volunteers, board members and children served. We want every child, family member, staff and volunteer to feel valued and appreciated and bring their full authentic selves to our organization. We use the following definitions in our work:
- Diversity: Diversity refers to all of the ways in which people differ encompassing all the different characteristics that make an individual different from another. This includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance.
- Equity: Access, opportunity, and advancement for all, while at the same time identifying and reducing barriers that have prevented the full participation of some individuals or groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that a dynamic approach is needed to address the imbalance and promote opportunities for all.
- Inclusion: The Act of creating environments in which any individual or group is welcomed, respected, supported and valued fully to bring their authentic selves and lived experiences to the organization. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words, actions and deeds.
- Belonging: Each person feels their authentic self, views and contributions are valued and integrated by the organization. A sense of belonging is a human need that may improve motivations, health and happiness enriching the experience of the individual, group, or organization.
The History of CASA
The idea of a Court Appointed Special Advocate was originally started by Seattle Judge David W. Soukup in Seattle, Washington in 1977 who felt that children needed more support as they moved through the dependency and neglect system. As a judge, he did not think he had enough information to make decisions about the fate of children in dependency and neglect cases. He came up with the idea that a trained volunteer could speak up on behalf of children who had experienced abuse and neglect.
Since then, this idea of a CASA has expanded into 49 states, including the National CASA Association, located in Seattle. In 1995, Child Advocates – Denver CASA was founded. For over 25 years, Denver CASA has recruited and trained volunteers to serve in the 2nd Judicial District of Denver advocating for children and providing a stable, caring adult to help children through a difficult time.