The first volunteer Guardian Ad Litem program serving abused and neglected children was organized in 1977 in King County, Seattle, Washington. In the following years, word of the success of the King County program spread and similar programs were begun all over the United States.
Because some state statutes require the Guardian Ad Litem to be an attorney, the term CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) was coined to denote volunteers from the local community who had been trained to serve as advocates for children involved in court proceedings.
In 1982, the National CASA Association, Inc. was established to serve as an umbrella organization for the growing number of programs in the country. National CASA provides information, training, technical assistance, research, and hosts an annual national conference. Membership in National CASA is open to programs and individuals throughout the U.S.