In 1974, Congress enacted legislation that required the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem to promote and protect the best interests of abused and neglected children. It soon became clear that legal and social work professionals who typically volunteered did not have sufficient training or resources to effectively advocate for these children.
Our Goal And Mission
Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire provides a voice for abused and neglected children and youth by empowering a statewide network of trained volunteers to advocate on their behalf so they can thrive in safe, permanent homes. It is our goal to provide an advocate for 100 percent of New Hampshire’s children in need.
CASA of New Hampshire is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children
In 1977, a Seattle judge recognized this deficit and began using citizen volunteers to serve as GALs. He believed that there are capable and caring citizens from every walk of life who genuinely want to help children, but lack the means to do so. That first program has grown to nearly 1,000 CASA/GAL programs that recruit, train and support volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
In 1987, Marcia “Marty” Sink of Manchester recognized a similar need in New Hampshire. Inspired and challenged by her own experiences as a foster parent, Marty began a work on a pilot program. Initially, many members of the judicial system believed that an organization relying on non-attorney volunteers to perform in the emotionally-charged and legally-complex world of family law would be ineffective.
In 1989, CASA was incorporated as a private 501(c)(3) organization with 10 volunteers in two courts. With a focused mission and consistently well-managed cases by trained advocates and staff, the walls slowly came down. Court by court, judges began to allow CASA entrance as word spread that unpaid GALs could do an admirable job defending the best interests of vulnerable children.
New Hampshire judges have come to rely on CASA advocates as the voice of reason in a confusing and complex legal system. State law enacted in 2009, mandates that NH judges contact CASA before paid GALs, recognizing the care and dedication CASA advocates give to their cases and the significant savings to the state by using a professional, highly-trained volunteer organization for this work.
We still carry the vision of providing an advocate for every abused and neglected child in our courts. With more than 450 volunteers, CASA volunteer advocates represent the best interests for as many children a year as it can, but more are always needed. With 650-700 volunteer advocates we believe CASA could effectively provide a voice for 100 percent of the state’s children.