Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are now serving in every vicinage in New Jersey, as of 2008, with nearly 1,000 volunteers serving more than 1,800 children in out-of-home placement. With the first CASA program in New Jersey established in Morris County in 1985, the statewide expansion has been realized with the 2007 roll-outs in Burlington and Passaic counties.
The concept of CASA originated within the Family Court jurisdiction. Superior Court Judge David Soukup established the first CASA program in Seattle, WA in 1977. He realized that he was deciding a child's fate with, often, only a few minutes to ascertain the facts of a case and deliberate and, knew that he needed a more thorough investigation. His goal was for CASA to ensure that he obtained all pertinent facts and that each child in foster care received proper representation. Other Family Courts throughout the country have come to the same conclusion and have authorized CASA programs nationwide. Eventually, national standards were developed by the National CASA Association (NCASAA).