Clinical Director, Mind Body Wellness
Associate Legal Counsel, Meadville Medical Center
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Crawford County CASA trains and provides quality volunteer advocates for children who are involved in juvenile court proceedings as a result of abuse and/or neglect.
Crawford County CASA envisions that all abused and neglected children have a safe, permanent and nurturing home in the shortest time frame possible.
Each year, children experience abuse and neglect. If they can no longer stay safe at home, they can be placed into foster or kinship care. Some of our older youth may be placed in a Residential Treatment Facility when there isn't a foster or kinship home for them. Sometimes they are often separated from their siblings and caught up in a confusing and complicated system of social workers, foster/kinship homes, courts, service agencies and child welfare departments. Sadly, most of them must do the best they can to navigate this complex world. Too many remain without permanent homes, fail to graduate from high school, and end up homeless, unemployed, incarcerated or dependent on social and welfare systems as adults.
In 2019, 10 Crawford County CASA volunteers advocated for 21 children, donating close to a 800 hours, attending 41 court hearings, attending 39 meetings and traveling over 5,700 miles. CASA helps these children by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to provide a voice for those who do not have the ability to speak up for themselves in this convoluted process. CASA volunteers stay with their case until it is closed, an average of 22 months locally, showing their commitment to place the child in a safe, permanent home. For many abused and neglected children, their CASA volunteer may be the one constant adult presence that stays with them until they have a safe, permanent home CASA volunteers are only assigned to one case, allowing them the ability to spend more time visiting with the child, and contacting those working with the family.
CASA’s solution is a winning equation for children but also the taxpaying public. Abuse and neglect cost taxpayers $104 Billion each year. Every dollar spent on a CASA volunteer saves at least $27 in taxpayer money. CASA is one of the few success stories where the private sector the public sector and the incredible people-power of 70,000 volunteers has come together to effect real and lasting change.
Paula DiGiacomo - President
Assistant District Attorney
Diane Patton - Secretary
Assistant to VP Development & Alumni, Allegheny College
the djb Group
Crawford County District Attorney
Crawford County CASA staff:
Cindy Knight, Executive Director
Mitch King, Case Supervisor
Jim Babcock - Treasurer
Retired Business Consultant
Dr. Salene Cowher - Vice President
October 1991: Local foster parents attended a PA conference regarding permanency for children;
February 1993 - Three foster parents, the CYS Director, other human services agencies directors, and the Erie Co. CASA Director presented the CASA concept to retired Judge Gordon Miller, who gave his support and the go-ahead to proceed;
September 1993 - A permanent founding Board of Directors was established;
November 1993 - The 1st class of CASA volunteers were trained and sworn-in;
January 1994 - Crawford County CASA was incorporated and the 1st class of volunteers were trained;
June 1995 - A National CASA Association start-up grant was secured to fund the program for two years;
2017 - More than twenty years later Crawford County CASA remains committed to serving the most vulnerable population: abused and neglected children.
2019- Crawford County CASA partnered with PA CASA to receive pass through funding through a VOCA (Victim's of Crime Act) grant. First time ever being awarded this type of grant!!