In 1977, Judge Soukup in Washington State determined he was not getting enough information to make very important decisions in the lives of children before him as abused and neglected children.
In answer to this concern, he created an innovative program that trained volunteers to advocate for children and provided judges in court with more information so they are better equipped to make life changing decisions about the children. As a result, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was born.
In 1980, Monroe County Family Court Judge Donald Corbett attended a Juvenile Court Judges Conference and heard Judge Soukup explain the CASA mission. Judge Corbett returned to Rochester, researched the issue, and became convinced that children in Monroe County were staying in foster care too long. With the help of the Junior League of Rochester, CASA Rochester was formed. Although initially formed as "Rochester Action for Foster Children" in 1980, CASA of Rochester/Monroe County continues to fulfill that same mission.
CASA of Rochester/Monroe County was formed in 1980 and is the fifth oldest in the country, the second oldest in New York State and the first program in upstate New York. The National CASA Association was formed in 1982. Today there are over 950 CASA programs across the United States. CASA of Rochester/Monroe County provided a blueprint for other programs and was pioneered by two very exceptional women, Laurie Holmes and Pat Slimmer, who each served over 30 years.
Since serving our first case in 1981, our program has grown to a full-time Director and three Advocate Supervisors to support our 50 CASA Volunteers. We are governed by a board of directors representing the diverse population of our community.