The mission of Tri-Lakes CASA is to provide trained advocates to safeguard the best interests of all abused and neglected children by providing factual information to the court to guide decisions made on their behalf.
We envision a community where every child is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe, loving, and permanent home.
The History of our Local Program
Tri-Lakes CASA was was originally formed as Garland County CASA in 1996 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1995 the Hon. Judge Vicki Cook was the sitting juvenile judge. She and the attorney ad litem were sent by the administration of courts to the National CASA conference in Portland, Oregon, where they instantly saw the value of the CASA program and it’s benefits to children in the system. Upon arriving home, they began recruiting staff and volunteers to start the Garland County CASA program.
In 2017, we changed our name to Tri-Lakes CASA to better represent the three counties that we now serve: Garland, Hot Spring, and Grant.
How Do CASA Volunteers Help Children?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care.
Who Are CASA Volunteers?
Last year, more than 76,000 CASA volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA program. Our goal is to continue to recruit quality volunteers from Garland, Hot Spring, and Grant counties.
Who Are the Children CASA Volunteers Help?
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. Because there are not enough CASA volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign CASA volunteers to their most difficult cases. The goal of Tri-Lakes CASA is to serve every child who needs us in all the tri-county area.
How Did the CASA Movement Begin?
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 and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Read more about the history of the CASA movement. (Connection magazine, 1.82 MB PDF).