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About CASA

Giving children a voice. Giving judges a valuable perspective.

CASA of Kent County is a non-profit organization that looks out for the best interests of abused and neglected children as they make their way through the family court system.

We do this by training volunteers to investigate, facilitate, advocate and monitor services for children who are wards of the court due to abuse and/or neglect. CASA volunteers present first-hand information and observations to help judges make the very best decisions about children’s futures.

No other organization does what we do in Kent County—so when you support CASA, you are providing what may be the only opportunity for these children to overcome their family traumas and build a new life.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Every child in Kent County deserves a safe and loving home.
  • A CASA volunteer is essential for affecting the optimal outcome in all referred cases of child abuse and neglect in Kent County.
  • Our volunteers are our most valuable asset and should reflect the diversity and cultural make-up of the children we serve.
  • Our work would not be possible without the support of our philanthropic community.

History

The model for CASA of Kent County dates back to 1977, when Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup developed a pilot program to train volunteers to serve as the “eyes and ears” of overwhelmed family court judges—and to ensure that a child’s voice is present in court, even if the child is not. The program was so successful that, after the passage of the U.S. Congress Victims of Child Abuse Act in 1990, the CASA model spread rapidly throughout the country.

Kent County’s first CASA volunteers were recruited, screened and trained in 1992, under the direction of the late Judge John P. Steketee and a group of then-Juvenile Court judges. In 2005, CASA of Kent County, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) agency to enhance its appeal to volunteers and donors. Since then, CASA has served an ever-increasing number of abused and neglected children.

CASA of Kent County is one of 1,000+ local CASA programs that rely on 70,000 volunteers from all walks of life. We maintain membership with both the National CASA Association and the State CASA Organization—Michigan Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (MICASAA).

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