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What is CASA?

Court Appointed Special Advocates

CASA of the Laurel Highlands’ mission is to recruit, train, and support dedicated community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children who have experienced abuse or neglect in Cambria and Somerset Counties. Through investigating, listening, and advocacy, a CASA Volunteer can change a child’s story, promote positive outcomes, and help them achieve permanency.

Why are CASA volunteers needed?

Judges value our advocates

Judges value our advocates’ thorough investigative work which sheds light on a child’s circumstance while in the system.

System Professionals

System Professionals value our advocates’ role on the case because we act as liaisons, bridging service providers together; ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Constant Person

A child sees their CASA volunteer as a constant person in their lives who has taken an interest in them. CASA volunteers are cheerleaders rooting for the well-being of the child or children in their case.

What training does a CASA volunteer receive?

CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training course conducted by CASA Program staff. The pre-service training is 30 hours and utilizes the National CASA/GAL Association’s training curriculum. CASA volunteers learn about the roles and responsibilities of CASA and how this role fits into the overall system, courtroom procedure and child welfare laws, resilience and trauma, effective communication skills, mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, cultural competence, domestic violence, effective advocacy techniques for children including for educational needs, older youth and LGBTQ youth, court report writing, and are educated about specific topics ranging from child sexual abuse to discussions on childhood development and adolescent behavior. The culmination of the pre-service training is the swearing-in ceremony by the Common Pleas Judge. In addition to the initial training CASA volunteers receive, they are also expected to complete 12 hours of in-service training annually.

CASA of the Laurel Highlands logo

Volunteers Advocate for the best interests of children.


LEARN all you can about the child and his or her family life


ENGAGE with the child during regular visits

Speak Up

SPEAK UP for the child’s best interests in court


COLLABORATE with others to ensure necessary services are provided and in the child’s best interest


REPORT what you have learned and observed to the court

Thorough Training

Volunteers undergo a thorough training course conducted by CASA of Warren & Forest Counties staff.


How can I become a Volunteer?

If you are interested in learning more about CASA, you can schedule an Individual Info Session or join one of our PreScheduled Group Session

Hundreds of volunteers

Are there other ways to support CASA?

Yes! We welcome others who are looking to support and assist CASA in other ways – you can contact our Program Staff to inquire about other Volunteer Opportunities.


Tax Deductible Donation to CASA

We are also greatly appreciative of other in-kind donations, such as office supplies and other needs for children, which can help to offset our operating costs.

Attend an Event

Support and Spread the Word

Even if you cannot dedicate time as a CASA Volunteer, you can still show support and help us spread the word. CASA holds a variety of events you can attend.

Frequently asked questions

Here are just a few of our frequent questions to share and help others in their decision to give back.

Yes! Most of our Volunteers still do work full time. An “average” CASA Case requires about 15 hours a month. That time can be evenings and weekends, too!

CASA Volunteers participate in 30+ hours of pre-service training, facilitated by both CASA Program Staff and other service providers. Active CASA Volunteers also complete at least 12 hours, yearly, of continuing education.

A CASA volunteer is assigned to children already in the foster care system or to those at risk of entering foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or the parents’/guardians’ inability to care for the children.

What our volunteers say

Hear it right from some of our own local Volunteers about the impact the CASA has and what the volunteer advocacy work means to them:

Meet Our Program Staff

Sharon Korzi

Shemariel Gray

Tyler Smay

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