The Mission: of CASA of Polk County, Inc. is to recruit, train, guide, and support volunteers appointed by Polk County judges to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the judicial dependency system.
The Vision: For every child to have a safe and permanent home, and that by the year 2020, every child that is a ward of the court be represented by a CASA . Our current overarching goal is to build our capacity so we can achieve our vision.
In 1977, Judge David Soukup of Seattle, Washington realized that there was no one in the courtroom whose only job was to provide a voice for the child. He was consumed by the fact that very little information was provided about the child and didn’t know if he was doing the best job he could. He believed that volunteers, properly trained, could speak for the children and give judges better insight into the facts pertaining to the child. Through his efforts the first volunteer guardian "ad litem" program was established, which later became known as CASA.
The core components of Judge Soukup's pilot program are essentially the same today: judges appoint selected, well-trained volunteers to represent the best interests of children in court. CASA volunteers typically handle just one or two cases at a time so they can provide in-depth, first-hand documented information to judges, attorneys, and social workers to assist in sound decision making.
In 1987, the Oregon Legislature mandated that all abused and neglected children in Oregon should have a CASA (ORS 419B.112) and two pilot programs were started. This mandate requires the CASA to investigate, advocate, facilitate and negotiate, and monitor.