THE NEED FOR CHILD ADVOCATES
According to the Memphis & Shelby County Juvenile Court 2010 Annual Report, more than 3,600 children were referred to the Court due to allegations of dependency, abuse, and neglect. Approximately 860 of those children were committed into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and placed in a foster home, group home or inpatient facility. The child welfare system and the courts, while made up of caring and dedicated individuals, are completely overburdened and underfunded. As we look at the need, the statistics can seem overwhelming, but each one represents a child. CASA Memphis gives each child a voice.
THE HISTORY OF CASA MEMPHIS & SHELBY COUNTY
- In 1976, the presiding Judge of King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington, began to look for alternative ways to make sure a child’s best interests would be consistently presented to the Court. He decided to use trained community volunteers who would be asked to make a commitment to advocate for the child’s best interests in Court – to be the child’s voice.
- Believing that such a program would greatly benefit the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court, the late Judge Kenneth A. Turner established the Memphis CASA program. Since its founding in 1986, CASA has served more than 16,000 children.
- In 2013, CASA became a stand-alone program of The Exchange Club Family Center