In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge had concerns that he was making drastic decisions for children and families without sufficient information. He conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of children in the courtroom to ensure he was getting all the facts and the long-term welfare of each child was represented. His pilot program has grown into a network of nearly 1,000 CASA programs across the country.
CASA arrived in Multnomah County in 1986 and has grown to one of the largest and longest serving CASA organizations in the nation. Under the leadership of Judge Stephen B. Herrell, the pilot was so successful; the Oregon Legislature passed a law mandating that every abused and neglected child in protective custody is entitled to the help of a CASA volunteer. In 1998, CASA of Multnomah County merged with CASA of Washington County, and with CASA of Columbia County in 2015 to become CASA for Children of Multnomah, Washington, & Columbia Counties. Today we serve Oregon’s largest group of children who are in protective custody of the court. There are over 4,000 children living in the foster care system in Multnomah, Washington, & Columbia Counties alone.
The role of local programs such as the CASA for Children of Multnomah, Washington, & Columbia Counties is to recruit, train and support the volunteers who work with the children in their community. Since 1986, our CASA volunteers have helped nearly 20,000 children find a safe and permanent home.
Read the Oregon CASA Statute: 419B.112 Oregon Revised CASA Statute