Mission: Giving a voice to children, under the protection of the Juvenile Court, seeking safety and permanency.
Vision: To continue to give a voice to abused children within the juvenile court system and become the local leader in advocacy by recruiting volunteers and educating the public as to the scope and availability of the services for the protection of children.
We are called to help individually and in our own way, but together, we can make a difference in a child's life.
In December of 2002, Warren County Children and Youth Services presented information about CASA to the Child Abuse Prevention Committee of Warren (CAP), a partnership of many community agencies committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. After forming an initial steering committee, hearing a presentation by Pennsylvania CASA Association, and visiting outlying CASA programs in other parts of the state, CAP became energized about the concept of initiating a CASA program in Warren and Forest Counties. In August 2003, the CAP steering committee expanded its membership to form the CASA Task Force and a business plan was developed.
Members of the CASA Task Force included: Directors of Children and Youth from Forest and Warren Counties, the Director of the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center, the Courts Guardian ad Litem, and President Judge and several concerned citizens from both Warren and Forest Counties.
In May 2003, the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center agreed to serve as the start-up site for CASA of Warren and Forest Counties. CASA has received a non-profit status under the umbrella of the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center tax-exempt status. For 15 years, Lisa Thompson served as Director, she was hired in May 2004 and the inaugural class of CASA volunteers were sworn in November 2004. Lisa was instrumental in the development of CASA of Warren and Forest Counties.
In January 2020, Melissa Sproveri was hired and sworn in as the new Director of CASA of Warren and Forest Counties, which is one of 21 local CASA programs in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (PA CASA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 to grow, strengthen, and unite local CASA programs so they can ensure the safety, well-being, and forever home for every abused and/or neglected child in Pennsylvania. To fulfill its mission, PA CASA supports the existing network of local CASA programs, builds new CASA programs, and secures resources critical to CASA’s mission. Currently, PA CASA provides training, technical assistance, and continuous quality improvement services to the 21 local CASA programs serving 27 counties. In the remaining 40 counties, PA CASA actively pursues program development and provides critical program development support. Through statewide advocacy, PA CASA provides resources that make it easier for CASA programs to serve children. PA CASA’s vision is for every abused and/or neglected child in Pennsylvania to have access to the service and support of a CASA volunteer.
For additional information, please refer to the PA CASA website.
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up in court to assist the judge in determining what course of action was in the best interest of the child. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement. News of the success of Judge Soukop’s experiment spread like wildfire and CASA programs sprang up all over the United States.
Currently, there are over 1,000 CASA programs throughout the United States, and CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive. CASA programs across the country are known by several different names, including Guardian Ad Litem, Child Advocates, and Voices for Children. Since the inception of CASA advocacy, volunteers have helped well over 1,000,000 children find safe and permanent homes.
For additional information, please refer to the National CASA/GAL website.