Concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, in 1977, 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 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today more than 900 CASA program offices are in operation, with trained women and men serving as CASA volunteers.
Today the National CASA Association represents 930 CASA programs across the country, including Washington, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National CASA provides support for starting programs, technical assistance, training, and fundraising, media, and public awareness services.
CASA of Northeast Tennessee had its beginnings as an East Tennessee State University initiative when in 1985, at the initiative of the Sociology Department, funds were obtained through a one-time grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to establish the organization. In 2004, CASA of Northeast TN moved out from under the umbrella of ETSU and became established as an 501(c) 3 entity. CASA of Northeast TN has made hard won gains, increasing full-time staffing, opening a Greeneville satellite office, and growing our group of Volunteer Advocates to more than 70.
The most telling and compelling dimension of our history will surely to be reflected in the lives of the children we have spoken for and assisted in the trying process of finding a safe, stable, and caring home in which to grow and become adults and citizens of merit.
You can learn more about the history of CASA at the National CASA Website.