CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties
CASA of Mercer County was established in 2000 with support from the National CASA Association, CASA of NJ, and Mercer County Family Court Division and the Division of Youth and Family Services to address the needs of Mercer County children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect and are living in out-home-placements. Approximately 205 Mercer County children were served by 138 advocates this past year.
CASA of Burlington County was established in 2007 with support from the National CASA Association, CASA of NJ and Burlington County Family Court Division and the Division of Youth and Family Services to address the needs of Burlington County children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect and are living in out-of-home placements. A total of 75 Burlington County children were served by 40 advocates this past year.
CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties joined forces into one entity in April, 2011 to increase efficiency and sharing of resources, and maintaining offices in Ewing and Mount Holly. This past year, 280 children were served by nearly 180 advocates across the two counties.
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to independently investigate the cases, make recommendations, and speak up in court about what was in the best interest of the child. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement. News of the success of Judge Soukop’s experiment spread like wildfire and CASA programs sprang up all over the United States. Currently there are over 1,000 CASA Programs throughout the United States and CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.
The first CASA programs in NJ were established in 1986 and 1987 with Essex County and Morris County respectively. CASA of NJ was created in 2000 to address the need to expand CASA Programs throughout the state. In addition to expanding the CASA model into all counties, CASA of NJ provides support to community-based CASA Programs in NJ, primarily through funding, training, public education, and technical assistance. Additionally, it provides a forum for local CASA Programs to share resources, improve their Programs, and unifies CASA’s voice on behalf of children in foster care statewide