Court Appointed Special Advocate Program


Program Description

CASA is the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program. CASA is a child advocacy organization that seeks to provide trained volunteers to speak for abused and neglected children who are the subjects of juvenile court proceedings. CASA volunteers advocate for safe, permanent homes for children. CASA began in 1977 in Seattle, Washington by Judge David Soukup who saw the need for more information on cases involving children in his court. The social services and legal systems were overburdened and CASA was created to assist in obtaining information and providing follow up monitoring of court orders.

The National CASA Association was founded in 1982, and provides technical assistance and national leadership to local programs across the country. The CASA concept is endorsed by American Bar Association, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. Today there are over 930 CASA programs in the United States that serve over 234,000 children with an estimated 75,000 CASA volunteers.

Virginia CASA Statistics & History

  • 6,205 victims were in complaints with founded dispositions
  • 36,293 victims were in complaints that received a Family Assessment through the Family Assessment Track
  • 29 children died as a result of abuse
  • 4,571 children were served by a CASA volunteer in 2012-13
  • 1,499 CASA volunteers provided advocacy in 2012-13

Source: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Programs, CASA Program, May 2014.

Virginia’s first CASA program began in 1986 in Newport News. In 1990 the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation providing for statewide implementation of the CASA program. The legislation assigned the responsibility for oversight of local programs as well as for development of statewide regulations to DCJS. The Regulations provide programs with standards to help ensure consistency in program development and service delivery; addressing several basic areas including screening, training and policy and procedure development for local programs. The regulations were revised in 2008.

Virginia CASA Programs

CASA programs are initiated, developed and operated at the local level with regulatory and oversight monitoring provided by DCJS. Currently, there are 27 operational CASA programs in Virginia. View our map of CASA programs in the state (.pdf, 1 page).


Virginia CASA Web Sites

Some of the CASA Programs in Virginia have websites you may be interested in visiting:

Role of the CASA Volunteer

The CASA legislation outlines five major duties of the CASA volunteer:

  • Investigate the circumstances of the case
  • Submit to the court a written report of the investigation
  • Monitor the case to ensure compliance with court orders
  • Assist the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) if one has been appointed
  • Report allegations of abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services

Becoming a CASA Volunteer

CASA Program Resources

Contact Information

If you have questions or would like more information on CASA, e-mail Melissa O'Neill or call 804.786.6428.

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1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219


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Department of Criminal Justice Services
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219
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