David Soukup and Roxana Colman-Herak

Retired King County Judge David Soukup and Roxana Colman-Herak, during a National CASA Conference in Seattle, Washington.

By CSKT Court Appointed Special Advocates

PABLO — In the past, judges across the country too often had to base their decisions on incomplete information. The truth is, the court systems are overloaded. Child Protective Service workers are often understaffed. Attorneys rarely have extra time to thoroughly monitor compliance with court orders or to determine what is really in the best interests of the child. 

In 1977, Judge David Soukup organized the first team of court appointed special advocates in King County, Washington. While sitting as a judge in juvenile court, he realized that there was no one in the courtroom to provide a voice for children. Judge Soukup worried about whether he was making the right decision in a child’s best interest. He recognized the need to recruit and train volunteers to investigate a child’s case to ensure children could be provided a voice in court proceedings. When Judge Soukup was asked if he worried that volunteers would become emotionally involved with the children, he answered, “if they don’t, they are the wrong volunteers.” After he retired from the Superior Court bench, he became a CASA volunteer and shared, “It was an extraordinary experience--both the hardest—and the best thing I’ve ever done.” 

Trained Court Appointed Special Advocate Guardian ad Litem’s volunteer time, energy and effort advocating for our most vulnerable children. CASA GAL’s are the voice of the child and eyes and ears of the Court, always protecting and advocating for the best and legal interests of the child.

• Be at least 21 years of age 

• Have reliable transportation 

• Drivers license and proof of insurance 

• Must pass local, state and federal criminal background checks 

• Must not have had any substantiated CPS referrals 

• Must sign and strictly adhere to confidentiality agreement 

• Must complete the required 30 hours Pre-Service CASA training 

• Must be Sworn in by Tribal Judge 

• Must present testimony in a Tribal Court training simulation 

CASA-GAL roles require 10-15 hours a month conducting interviews with people involved in the child’s life: parents, foster parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, mental health professionals and social workers. 

If you have the heart and time to become a CASA-GAL volunteers must 

CASA-GAL will never be put in a situation of having to “wing-it.” You will be well trained, confident and supported. 

A thirty (30) hour CASA Pre-Service training course will be offered in April 2020. If you are interested in becoming a CASA-GAL volunteer advocate, let’s visit. Roxana Colman-Herak, CSKT DHRD Court Appointed Special Advocate Program Director at (406) 210-7343 or roxana.colmanherak@gmail.com

Becoming a CASA-GAL volunteer advocate can be a very rich and rewarding experience, but it requires a compassionate heart, willingness to work hard, commitment, time and energy.

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