Mission: Crawford County CASA trains and provides quality volunteer advocates for children who are involved in juvenile court proceedings as a result of abuse and/or neglect.
Vision: Crawford County CASA envisions that all abused and neglected children have a safe, permanent and nurturing home in the shortest time frame possible.
When a community of caring people come together, just about anything is possible!
In October of 1991, three local foster parents attended a Pennsylvania conference regarding permanency for children; they heard presenters talk about a program that provides volunteer advocates, someone who is there just for the child. They thought that this role in a child’s case was so needed. This program was called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). They spent time developing a plan over the following year to present the program to Crawford County Courts. So along with the Children and Youth Services Director at that time, as well as other human services agencies directors, the Erie County CASA Director presented the CASA concept to retired Judge Gordon Miller, who gave his full support and the go-ahead to proceed.
In September of 1993, a permanent founding Board of Directors was established and regular board meetings began and in November the first class of CASA volunteers were trained and sworn-in by President Judge Miller. A few months later Crawford County CASA was incorporated and the first class of volunteers were assigned to cases.
A few years later funding was secured so that additional staff could be hired to serve more children. At that time, volunteers advocated on behalf of 31 children.
More than twenty-five years later Crawford County CASA remains committed to serving our most vulnerable population, children who have experienced abused and neglected.
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.