Human Services

Casa of Lancaster County Inc

Lancaster, PA

Mission

To provide a qualified and compassionate court-appointed volunteer advocate to every child who is abused and neglected, to ensure the fundamental human right of having a safe, nurturing, and permanent home is met.

Ruling Year

2008

Executive Director

Jessica Laspino

Main Address

35 E Orange St Ste 202

Lancaster, PA 17602 USA

Keywords

advocacy, foster care, children, youth, trained volunteers, mentorship

EIN

26-1826650

 Number

3736055582

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

CASA of Lancaster County is dedicated to eradicating the cycle of abuse and neglect by providing children in the foster care system with a trained volunteer advocate that supports them in the attainment of vital social and educational services as well as hastening their placement in a safe, permanent loving home. Child welfare systems are in a state of crisis and across the country, more than 440,000 children are in foster care on any given day. The average child in foster care spends more than a year in care. While the foster care system includes many service components to support the families involved, no system of supports can replace a parent. By providing children with a CASA, they are more likely to be reunified with their family or adopted and spend less time languishing in foster care. By attaining a safe, loving and permanent home, and having the ability to live a stable, supported life they are less likely to return to the system as a child, or in the future as a parent.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

CASA of Lancaster County

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

To provide a qualified and compassionate court-appointed volunteer advocate to every child who is abused and neglected, to ensure the fundamental human right of having a safe, nurturing, and permanent home is met.

Actively recruit adult volunteers from the community to become Court Appointed Special Advocates. Screen them through an application, interview, and background check process to ensure they will be high quality advocates for foster youth. Once selected, volunteers are provided with a comprehensive, 35+ hour training using the National CASA Association curriculum. At the conclusion of their training, advocates are sworn in by the judiciary and at that point they are assigned a case with a single foster youth or sibling group. A CASA Volunteer Manager, part of CASA’s program staff, is also assigned who supports their advocacy, advises them and connects on the details of their case. To investigate their case, CASAs review all records pertaining to the case and the child. Most importantly though, the CASA volunteer speaks with the child and others involved in the child’s life such as biological parents, resource parents, social workers, teachers, doctors and therapists.

CASA uses the nationally recognized, standardized curriculum for training advocates, and complies with all national regulations for recruitment and training. Additionally, CASA employs a Program Director with 10 years of experience with foster youth, and four Volunteer Managers with degrees in social work, psychology and public administration and a combined 16 years of experience working with youth and nonprofits. To support high-quality recruitment, CASA has a Director of Training in Outreach with experience supporting over 40 cases as a Volunteer Manager and a master’s degree in social work. CASA’s Executive Director, Jessica Laspino is the inaugural staff member of the organization, with four years of direct volunteer management experience and a total of fifteen years working for local CASA programs. In addition, she holds certifications in training design, case management, and nonprofit leadership. This team supports over 150 volunteers who are currently supporting 239 foster youth in Lancaster County, 47% of the total foster population in the county. We are considered strong partners of the local judiciary as well as the local child welfare agency and are well respected in the community.

Our primary outcome is that a child from the foster system is ultimately in a safe, loving and permanent home, whether through reunification with family or through adoption. Within that larger goal, we have a variety of outputs that support the overall community and support our long term outcome of breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect. Among them, visibility of the needs of foster youth in the community through awareness building and expanding our volunteer community. We have trained hundreds of volunteers in the county on a variety of topics such as Adverse Childhood Experiences, the impact of trauma, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence that can be largely invisible to socioeconomically advantaged community members. We are additionally supporting a local effort to create a trauma informed community by training all of our CASA’s on trauma informed care and becoming a trauma informed organization.

In the 11 years since CASA of Lancaster County’s inception, we have supported over 600 foster youth achieve placement in a safe, loving and permanent home. We have trained hundreds of CASA’s who have collectively donated decades of their lives to supporting the mentorship, health and well being of foster youth in Lancaster County. As a result of their advocacy, children with a CASA are placed into a permanent home 8 months sooner, are more likely to receive necessary services, and are less likely to be moved around between multiple homes. All of this creates an environment with greater stability and support while diminishing the amount of time a child has to languish in the foster system. To continue improving our high-quality volunteer recruitment, training and support we are implementing a number of program improvements, including a renewed focus on professional development for our volunteer managers and directors, training around diversity, equity and inclusion to support the recruitment and retention of a volunteer base that better matches our foster youth and a comprehensive program evaluation to support protocol and process improvements within our organization.

External Reviews

Financials

Casa of Lancaster County Inc

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable