Court Appointed Special Advocates ( CASA ) First Judicial District Serving Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Los Alamos Counties
The mission of CASA, First Judicial District is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that abused and neglected children in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties can be safe, establish a permanent home and have the opportunity to thrive.
"Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASAs, are volunteers that work through the courts and with child protection agencies to ensure that each child to whom they are assigned receives rehabilitative services, medical care, educational assistance, and most importantly placement in a permanent loving home. The advocacy and dedication of CASA volunteers literally change the lives of the abused and neglected children they serve."
Marty Braniff, author of Step Over Rio and nationally known speaker and advocate on behalf of children who have been abused and neglected, including those who are victims of human trafficking.
Nationally, CASA was formed in 1977 when a Seattle judge, concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. So successful was this program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today there are more than 950 independent CASA programs with more than 75,000 trained men and women serving as CASA volunteers for 250,000 children.
Locally, CASA, First Judicial District (CASA First) has served foster children in three northern New Mexico counties, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos, since 1995. We are active members of the National CASA Association and the New Mexico CASA Network. Today we support more than 50 CASA volunteers who advocate for over 170 abused and neglected children every year to help them reach safe and permanent homes.