The Junior League of Kingston was approached in the 1987 by two juvenile judges in Ulster County to request that the League find details of how to bring Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to Ulster County. The members researched what it would mean to create a CASA office in the county by reaching out to the national organization and visiting other offices around the region. In Ulster County, what began as a grassroots effort led by members of the Junior League and the local judiciary became incorporated as Court Appointed Special Advocates of Ulster County, Inc. in 1989. The League took on the financial responsibility of creating the program and much of the fund-raising efforts through auctions. These funds went towards creating and maintaining CASA for nearly five years before it was turned over to the county and eventually the state through CASA: Children for Advocates of NYS.
CASA requires an intensive training program for their volunteers to ensure CASA’s mission of providing a voice to children in need of care cases within the juvenile justice system. Each volunteer is assigned a case and follows it from the time the child enters the system until a permanent placement is made. There were five Junior League members who went through the training and were able to participate actively in the program for several years. Today, CASA remains in Ulster County and works tirelessly for the needs of children who are in need of care. They continue to require the same rigorous training and expectations the Junior League members created nearly 25 years ago.