Tennessee CASA provides training and technical assistance to existing CASA programs, and assists in the start-up of new CASA programs. With the support of the local judicial system and citizens, Tennessee CASA has many of the resources needed to help counties start programs.
The first local CASA agency was started in Nashville in 1984. During the following three years, Chattanooga, Memphis and Knoxville started programs. The Tennessee CASA Association began in early 1986. This is when the directors of these local CASA agencies began to meet informally to share ideas and discuss concerns. Later that year, the Tennessee Legislature appropriated the first state money for CASA programs, which helped to strengthen the CASA network across the state.
In 1988, the Tennessee Bar Foundation awarded grants to several CASA agencies in Tennessee through its IOLTA fund. The time was right to officially form a state organization, and the Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocate Association was chartered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership corporation.
Today, 29 CASA programs serve 52 counties across Tennessee, from Bristol in the Northeast corner, all the way down to Memphis on the Mississippi River. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 1,673 CASA volunteers advocated for 5,208 of Tennessee's abused and neglected children and provided more than 133,142 hours of volunteer service.
The Tennessee CASA Association is a member in good standing of the National CASA Association.