About Us

History of CASA

All children need a safe and loving home. Unfortunately, some children are abused and neglected by their own parents or caregivers. When a court must intervene to help these children, someone should be there to tell their story and protect their future. That is where a CASA/GAL Volunteer steps in.

The CASA/GAL (Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem) Program began in 1977 when Judge David Soukup from Seattle, WA, felt frustrated in making critical decisions for children with no input from children, and only limited information from others involved in their cases. Judge Soukup felt that committed Volunteers from the community could be trained to be advocates for the abused and neglected children in the court system. Since that time, the CASA Program has grown to programs in all 50 states.

The Mahoning County CASA/GAL Program was founded in 1988 to provide a voice in court for the abused and neglected children in Mahoning County. Housed in the "Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center", the program recruits, screens, trains and monitors Volunteers who become the voice for children identified by the court as abused and neglected and advocates for their need for safe permanent placement.

The mission of the Mahoning County CASA/GAL Program is to provide a Volunteer's voice for abused and neglected children in juvenile dependency proceedings and to advocate for the best interests of the children regarding their placement, care, protection and development in a safe, secure and caring environment; with the vision to have every abused and neglected child in association with the Mahoning County Juvenile Court to receive a CASA Volunteer to ensure that the best interests of the child are met and to increase public awareness of CASA and its mission.

The Mahoning County CASA/GAL Program operates under the guidelines and standards of the National CASA Association and the Ohio CASA/GAL Association. While these associations help in providing resources, guidance and training, each local CASA Program operates independently. The Mahoning County CASA/GAL Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with most funding for the program being provided through foundations, corporations, grants and individual donations.

Cathy Kristan
Executive Director
Board of Directors
Carla Baldwin Magistrate for Mahoning County Juvenile Court
Jennifer Beck Attorney
James Carpenter Financial Specialist-PNC Bank
Marie Delpine Retired-Juvenile Justice Center
Ann Gardner Assistant Director-Youngstown State University  Dept. of International Studies
Holly Hanni
Alex Mangie Staff Auditor-Mahoning County Auditor
Theresa Pancoe Mahoning County Children Services
Richard Rogers Assistant Professor-Youngstown State University

Advisory Committee
Theresa Dellick Judge
David Barbee Attorney
Contact Mahoning County CASA at 330.740.2239