Judge Donald Campbell realized that as the law in his jurisdiction expanded, so did the number of experts, such as psychologists and social workers, offering opinions about resolution on his Dependency and Neglect (child abuse) cases. But he noticed that even with all of these professionals around, it was nobody’s primary responsibility to talk to children involved in the cases, or to advocate for and act in the best interest of the children. Because of this inside perspective, this former Fourth Judicial Chief Judge sought to not only acquire enough information to make sound judgments in his cases, but also to create a voice for every child in the court system. What he ended up doing was instituting a community-enriching, not-for-profit resource in the community: CASA of the Pikes Peak Region.
At the time, abuse cases had no one acting as an impartial information gatherer to obtain all relevant facts about the child, and few resources were in place to handle such a specialty. Judge Campbell organized meetings in conjunction with members of the Junior League of Colorado Springs, many of whom would later make up the first board of CASA of the Pikes Peak Region — sworn in by none other than Judge Campbell. These meetings were held to discuss exactly what needs this new organization would serve and how those needs would be addressed. Judge Campbell was heavily involved in the beginning and continued volunteering his time and service for many years. At the first CASA of the Pikes Peak Region office, housed in the court, Judge Campbell often sought advice from CASA volunteers and wasn’t shy about asking CASA to handle important duties. This initiated the creation of many of the programs you see today, including The Supervised Exchange & Parenting Time (SEPT) program.
Through all of Judge Campbell’s efforts, he laid the groundwork for CASA to become a model program in the region. He continues to praise the value of CASA as an adjunct to the court, crediting its management and public support for making it one of the most successful nonprofits.