The first Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program was established
by a Seattle Family Court Judge in 1977. While independent CASA programs emerged around the US, it was not until 1990, when the US Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with the passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act, that CASA became a fully national program.
Established in January 2000, CASA of NJ is an independent non-profit organization that ensures that the services of a CASA volunteer advocate – trained and supervised by a local CASA program – are available to every child in out-of-home placement throughout the State of NJ. Through funding, training, public education, and technical assistance, CASA of NJ supports a statewide network of affiliated community-based CASA programs that advocate for the best interests of children removed from their homes because of abuse and/or neglect.
In 1999, existing NJ CASA programs came together with leaders from the Court, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), and community members to create CASA of NJ. The vision was a statewide organization capable of expanding CASA statewide, while supporting existing programs, and extending CASA services to every NJ foster child who needed one.
CASA of NJ is proud to have been an integral part of establishing programs in all fifteen NJ vicinages as well as formidable relationships with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Courts. The nature of these relationships is exemplified through the creation of AOC’s Best Practice Standards for CASA Programs.
CASA of NJ also ensures compliance with National CASA Program Standards, guiding data collection, reporting and analysis, providing technical assistance, facilitating network meetings, and unifying CASA’s voice on behalf of children in out-of-home placement.
Please contact one of the local CASA programs in New Jersey, to learn how to become a CASA advocate and change the life of a child in need.