Dauphin County CASA
In 2016, the Honorable Richard A. Lewis, then-President Judge of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, wrote a letter of support for the formation of a local Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program here in Dauphin County. At that time, the Honorable Judge John F. Cherry also gave his blessing, presiding over Dependency Court. The following year, a statement of intent to begin the Dauphin County CASA program was submitted by the Steering Committee Chair to the National CASA organization for the establishment of our local program.
By 2018, the Dauphin County CASA Board of Directors was chosen. We reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the County, Children & Youth Services, and the Court as to how the program would operate. Our organization was granted a tax-exempt non-profit, public charity under 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax-deductible. That next year, enough funds were raised to hire an Executive Director.
With staff in place, we trained the first class of volunteers in 2019. Since the milestone, these volunteers have been appointed to cases. Dauphin County CASA continues to train dedicated citizens in our community to be volunteers, making a difference in the lives of children!
With the invaluable assistance of The Pennsylvania Court Appointed Special Advocates (PA CASA), our program moved from Phase I to Phase II. Founded in 1998, PA CASA is a non-profit organization that develops new programs throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Today in Pennsylvania there are 22 CASA programs, serving 28 county court jurisdictions.
PA CASA also ensures that each local program is following the guidelines and meets all the requirements developed by National CASA.
For additional information, please refer to the PA CASA website.
In 1977, the Honorable Judge David Soukup worried that he did not have enough information to make the necessary decisions in Court on behalf of abused and neglected children. As a result, he conceived of appointing community volunteers to assist him in determining the course of action, serving the best interest of the child. 50 citizens responded to his request for volunteers; the CASA movement had officially begun! News Judge Soukop’s successful experiment spread and local CASA programs, like Dauphin County CASA, were established all over the United States.
For more than 35 years, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children has worked in service of the national network of CASA/GAL programs to offer quality assurance. Known across the country by several different names, including Guardian Ad Litem, Child Advocates, and Voices for Children, CASA volunteers serve close to 300,000 children in the United States annually.
For additional information, please refer to the National CASA website.