Our Beginnings

 

A synopsis of how Ohio’s CASA/GAL programs were started

 

CASA of Allen and Putnam Counties

 

Established in 2009 as a non-profit program under the umbrella of the Allen County Crime Victim Services.   Attorney and Allen County native Tammie Hursh was the driving force behind the program’s creation, aided by the support of Allen County Juvenile Judge Glenn Derryberry and Putnam County Juvenile Judge Daniel Gerschutz. 

 

Athens County CASA/GAL Program

 

Established in 1994 as a court-based program with a non-profit status through the efforts of Judge Edward Robe following his election to the bench.

 

PARACHUTE: Butler County Court Appointed Special Advocates

 

Established in 1988 as a non-profit program. The impetus for beginning the program was provided by a local doctor’s wife who garnered support from judges following the tragic death of a three-year-old in the child welfare system. The Hamilton Women’s Junior League raised sufficient start-up funds and ProKids provided initial program guidance.

 

Clark County Juvenile Court CASA Program

 

Established in 1989 as a court-based program.

 

CASA for Clermont Kids

 

Established as a non-profit program in January 1988 under the umbrella of Child Focus, Inc. In 2009 the program changed  from being cour based with a non-profit component to a non-profit only. After being revamped in 2001, the program was renamed CASA for Clermont Kids.

 

Columbiana County GAL Program

 

Established as a court-based program in 1992.

 

Darke County CASA, Inc.

 

Established in 1994 as a court-based program with a non-profit status.

 

CASA Program of Delaware County

 

Established in 1984 as a court-based program through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Thomas Louden. The program is a unit within the court’s community-based services division. 

 

Erie County CASA Program

 

The program was first established as the Erie County CASA Program (a non-profit program) in February 1991 at the urging of two community women, Esther Sutton and Jackie Niven. These women, who later served as volunteers, worked with the court and the steering committee for over a year until the first case was appointed.   Domestic Relations/Juvenile Judge Donald Ramsey gave support and assistance in launching the program, and has remained supportive. Judge Ramsey retired in 2000 and the program is now building a relationship with a new judge, the Honorable Robert Delamatre.

 

In July 2004, the program expanded to include Ottawa County after state representative Chris Redfern became involved after attending the Ohio CASA/GAL Association legislative breakfast. Representative Redfern, with the assistance of the program director and a community planning committee, contacted Juvenile Judge Kathleen Geisler, and received an expansion grant from the Ohio CASA/GAL Association to develop the program. In 2008, the Ottawa County Program became an independent CASA/GAL program.

 

CASA of Franklin County

 

Established in 1991 as a non-profit program through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Ron Solove and a community steering committee. The first training class was offered in spring 1992 and the first case appointed later that year. 

 

CASA for KIDS of Geauga County

 

Established in 1995 as a court-based program. The program has recently established a non-profit fundraising arm called CASA for KIDS of Geauga County, which is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status.

 

Greene County CASA Program

 

Established in 1996 as a court-based program.

 

Guernsey County CASA Program

 

Established in 1991 as a court-based program through the efforts of Judge Blaise Urbanowicz. Originally housed at the courthouse, the program acquired new office space a block from the courthouse in 1999.

 

CASA/GAL of Hancock County

 

Established in 1986 as a court-based program. In 1992, an advisory group was formed to develop structured bylaws and a mission statement to enable the program to apply for non-profit status and identify funding sources. The program received non-profit status in 1994.

 

Henry County CASA/GAL

 

Established in 1990 as a court-based program. In 1997, the program became a non-profit organization.

 

Holmes County Volunteer CASA Program

 

Beverly Theil once served as the director of Wayne County CASA, and impressed the Holmes County Judge with her private GAL services. Beverly was quickly asked to help develop a program for Holmes County and was selected to receive start up funds from the Supreme Court of Ohio. The program was established in October of 2005.

 

CASA of Huron County

 

Established in 1989 as a court-based program through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Thomas Heydinger. The director received assistance from the Stark County GAL program to develop the program.

 

Logan County CASA/GAL Program

 

Established in May 2004 by former Delaware County court administrator Stu Berry. The Association provided a start-up grant to support the implementation of the program.

 

Voices for Children (Lorain County)

 

Established in 1990 as a court-based program with non-profit status. A director was hired at that time, and worked with Judges Basinski and Zieba to develop the program.

 

Lucas County CASA/GAL Program

 

Established in 1980 as a court-based program with non-profit status, the first program to be established in Ohio. Juvenile Judge Andrew Devine heard a pro-CASA presentation in Tennessee and came back to Toledo to implement his vision. He took his idea to the Junior League, and they worked together to plan and fund the start-up of the program. Judge Devine served as the volunteer coordinator for the first 2 ½ years of the program.

 

Mahoning County CASA Program

 

Established in June 1988 as a non-profit program through the efforts of Judge Martin Joyce, a group of local attorneys, and children services personnel. Initial funding for the program came from the National CASA Association and a youth services grant.

 

CASA/GAL of Miami County

 

Established in 1994 as a non-profit program.

 

Montgomery County Juvenile Court CASA Program

 

Established in 1988 as a court-based program with a non-profit status. The Junior League and the court worked together to establish the program.

 

Ottawa County CASA Program

 

In July 2004, the Erie County program expanded to include Ottawa County after state representative Chris Redfern became involved after attending the Ohio CASA/GAL Association legislative breakfast. Representative Redfern, with the assistance of the program director and a community planning committee, contacted Juvenile Judge Kathleen Geisler, and received an expansion grant from the Ohio CASA/GAL Association to develop the program. In 2008, the Ottawa County Program became an independent non-profit CASA/GAL program

 

Pickaway County CASA/GAL Program

 

Established in 1990 as a court-based program through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Roger Kline.

 

Preble County CASA/GAL Program

 

Established in April of 2002 as a court-based program through the initiative of Juvenile Judge Wilfrid Dues. The Association provided a start up grant from the Celebrate Kids! license plate funds to support the development of the program. 

 

ProKids (Hamilton County)

 

Established in June 1981 as a non-profit program and began receiving cases in September of that year. The program was initiated through the joint efforts of the Junior League of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bar Association, and the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. ProKids was the third program established in Ohio and among the first twenty-five in the nation.

 

Richland County Juvenile Court CASA Program

 

Established as a court-based program in January 1998 through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Ron Spon. The judge provided leadership within the court and community, and contacted Art Haring to become program coordinator. Start-up assistance was provided by both the National CASA Association and the Ohio CASA/GAL Association, as well as other local CASA/GAL programs.

 

CASA of Seneca, Sandusky & Wyandot Counties

 

The initial Seneca County office was established in 1990 through funds from the mental health board and the Seneca County Commissioners. The program expanded to Sandusky County in 1992 and to Wyandot County in 1998.

 

Shelby County CASA/GAL Program

 

The Shelby County Victim Services Program, under the leadership of Kathy Lindsay, is responsible for initiating interest in starting a CASA program in Shelby County. This court-based program was started in February 2002 with the support of Judge Norman Smith under an Association start up grant from Celebrate Kids! license plate dollars.

 

Guardian ad Litem Program of Stark County Family Court

 

Established in 1982 as a court-based program through the efforts of Juvenile Judge Ronald Reeder, who approached the Junior League for support in developing the program. Initially the program operated within the court’s Citizen’s Review Board; however, they have since split.  

 

CASA/GAL Program of Summit County

 

Established in 1981 through the efforts of Judge William Kannel; the Junior League; and other community representatives. Initially the program served permanent custody cases only and the volunteer training class was one day. Currently the program is court based and all the staff are court employees, yet the program also has a very strong non-profit component which was established in 1998.

 

Warren County CASA Program

 

Jackie Wilson was approached by Karen Kistner in 2003 during the Annual Celebrate Kids Conference. Ms. Kistner expressed interest in beginning a program in Warren County. Soon thereafter Ms. Kistner met with the Expansion Committee and contacted Judge Powell. Judge Powell agreed to apply for start up funds, and the Warren County CASA Program was established in October of 2005.

 

Wayne County Volunteer GAL Program

 

Established in 1991 through the efforts of Judge William Bailey during his first year on the bench. The judge managed the program himself until a part-time staff person was hired in 1993.

 

Wood County CASA Program

 

Established in 1988 as a court-based program by a Wood County juvenile judge who saw a need for improved advocacy for abused, neglected, and dependent children in the court system. The program was initially operated within the probation department of the court (until 1996). In 1995, the program established a non-profit component, Friends of Wood County CASA, to increase funding and support program enhancement.

 

Ohio CASA/GAL Association

Established in 1993 as a non-profit organization to serve as a network-wide support association for Ohio’s local CASA/GAL programs. The Association monitors the statewide implementation of National CASA Association standards of practice; holds quarterly director’s meetings and bi-annual training meetings; communicates regularly with local programs via a quarterly newsletter, monthly updates via e-mail, facsimile, and Web site; collects statewide data; provides technical assistance and training; manages the “Celebrate Kids!” specialty license plate and disseminates related funds; tracks CASA-related legislation; and holds an annual “Celebrate Kids!” conference.

For technical questions and comments regarding this website,
please contact the Webmaster.