Welcoming CASA of Pike County

On April 4, 2022, CASA of Pike County held their first swearing-in ceremony.  There were 11 total graduates, all eager to get started with their first case. Dependency Court Judge Kelly Gaughan, along with Presiding Judge Gregory H. Chelak, welcomed and provided the CASA Oath to all 11 volunteers.  Also participating from the Commissioners office were Chairman Matt Osterberg, Vice-Chairman Ron Schmalzle, and Commissioner Tony Waldron.

CASA of Pike County was officially opened in January 2022. PA CASA staff, with considerable support from Judge Gaughan, worked with the steering committee of 10 through the National CASA/GAL membership process. The PA CASA Eastern Program Specialist assisted the group in creating the foundational documents necessary to establish CASA of Pike County with National CASA/GAL.  Dedication to the cause by everyone involved allowed for productive meetings over “Zoom,” culminating in the hiring of Dawn Allison, as Program Director, in January 2022. 

In the Fall of 2021, AllOne Foundation awarded PA CASA a grant to develop a Trauma-Informed Advocacy program. The grant provides for specialized trauma-informed training for CASA volunteers and tracks the impact of the training on the children they serve. This grant provides the first year of funding for CASA of Pike County in addition to supporting trauma-informed advocacy for the children that CASA will serve in Pike, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, and Tioga counties.

CASA of Pike County joins with the PA CASA state office and a network of now 23 local programs serving 29 counties across the Commonwealth in providing best-interest volunteer advocacy to abused and neglected children. With a newly hired Program Director and graduating class of 11, CASA of Pike County is ready to serve its mission and advocate for children in dependency court in Pike County.

PA CASA is the only organization entrusted by the National CASA/GAL Association to establish new CASA organizations throughout Pennsylvania. Developing new CASA programs across the Commonwealth is an essential function to achieve PA CASA’s vision of ensuring every abused and/or neglected child in Pennsylvania has access to the service and support of a CASA volunteer.

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