About Us

Mission:  CASA of Pike County aims to connect children being served by dependency courts with volunteer advocates who collect pertinent information about a child’s case to help the court act in the best interest of the child.

Vision: CASA of Pike County envisions that all children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect 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!

Pike County established a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program to advance the well-being of children in dependency court proceedings and help them find permanent homes. The program began in January 2022.

With the support of President Judge Gregory H. Chelak, retired Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini was instrumental in bringing this program to Pike County and establishing a local CASA Steering Committee, consisting of the Commissioners, Dependency Court Judge Kelly Gaughan, and other community professionals. The Steering Committee completed the local chapter application with help from a Pennsylvania CASA representative.

“We recognized the need for a program that helps to support children during what is already a very difficult time, said Commissioner Chairman Matthew Osterberg. “We see CASA as a tool to be utilized by Children and Youth Services as well as the Courts in order to set these children up to thrive by determining the optimal course of action. We as a community need to provide as much support, tools and resources that we can to this population.”

“Children aren’t asked to come into the dependency court system,” said Judge Gaughan. “Imagine yourself being lost in this world. These children need one consistent advocate. They deserve a voice.”

The Pike County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program held its first Swearing-In Ceremony on April 4, 2022 at the Pike County Courthouse. Eleven individuals were sworn in during the ceremony and are now able to serve local children in dependency court proceedings as volunteer advocates. 

Pennsylvania CASA

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. 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.


National CASA/GAL

Judge Soukup, a Juvenile Court Judge, watched as many parties entered and exited the juvenile dependency courtroom, but he never heard anyone speak strictly on behalf of the child. Inspiration came when Judge Soukup had insufficient information to make a life-changing decision for a 3-year-old girl who had suffered from child abuse. Judge Soukup’s idea of training volunteers to speak up in the courtroom on behalf of a child’s best interests came to fruition in 1977. The first CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program was established in Seattle (King County), Washington, and was endorsed as a model for safeguarding a child’s rights to a safe and permanent family by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. As the program model continued to grow and develop in other states, the National CASA Association was formed in Seattle in 1984. Currently, there are nearly 1,000 CASA programs throughout the United States. The CASA/GAL network has reached over 2 million children since National CASA/GAL’s inception.

The National CASA/GAL Association, together with state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.

For additional information, please refer to the National CASA/GAL website.