Tulsa Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system.
Tulsa CASA, as authorized by Oklahoma law, is organized to speak for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court. We promote and support volunteer representation for children in an effort to provide each child a safe, permanent, nurturing home.
CASA was developed in 1977 by David Soukup, then a juvenile court judge in Seattle. In a 1995 Los Angeles Times interview, Soukup remembers: “I was consumed by the fact that I didn’t have enough information about each child, and I just didn’t know if I had done the very best job I could.” He believed trained volunteers could amplify children’s voices and provide the insight necessary for judges to make the best possible decisions. Today, there are over 93,000 volunteers at 950 CASA programs across the United States. Oklahoma currently has 22 CASA programs, serving children in 61 of the 77 counties in Oklahoma.
Tulsa CASA was originally sponsored by the Tulsa section of the National Council of Jewish Women as part of that organization’s commitment to youth and community service. Today, Tulsa CASA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a member agency of Tulsa Area United Way.
HOW WE WORK WITH THE JUVENILE COURT
The Juvenile Division of the Tulsa County District Court focuses on cases that involve minors (children under the age of 18). A Juvenile Deprived case involves abuse and/or neglect of a minor. Due to the large number of children the Juvenile Court serves, it’s difficult for parties to a case to have direct contact with a child. CASA volunteers are assigned to directly interact with children and make recommendations to the court in the child’s best interest.