To recruit, train and support community volunteers who assist the court in protecting the best interests of abused and neglected children in Southwest Missouri.
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri (CASA of SWMO) was started in 1986 as a project of the Child Advocacy Council of Greene County, which was originally organized to find ways to strengthen family life in the Southwest Missouri area. The Council found there were several abused and neglected children that were lingering in the foster care system and proposed to start a CASA program. The first CASA volunteer was appointed in 1988, and in April 1989 the program was incorporated as a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
In 2019, CASA of SWMO celebrated 30 years of work in Greene County, as well as expansion into Christian County. The expansion was a monumental occasion for our CASA program. CASA of SWMO was the first program in the state to expand into a separate court jurisdiction. From our humble beginnings in 1989, we now have over 165 active CASA volunteers who are serving over 300 foster children.