HOPE NEEDS

A HELPING

HAND

Our Mission

To recruit, train, and empower community volunteers to advocate for children who have experienced abuse or neglect in West Virginia’s Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties.

Our Vision

Every child who has experienced abuse or neglect has an advocate working on behalf of their best interests and is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home.

Our Work

CASA-EP empowers volunteers to directly influence life-changing decisions affecting children in foster care. Trained and supervised by CASA-EP’s staff of professionals, volunteer advocates become sworn officers of the court before being carefully matched with a child.

As a CASA Volunteer you will:

  • Be a trusted support for a child or youth. The CASA-EP volunteer is often a key person who can be counted on in a sea of ever-changing faces.
  • Advocate for the child’s or youth’s social, emotional, educational, and permanency needs and ensure that they are met (promptly and fully) through appropriate social services, educational support, and access to other community resources.
  • Monitor the progress of CASA-EP children and youth, building a close connection through weekly visits and consistent, caring support for the duration of their time in the system.

Our Values

CASA-EP recruits, trains, and empowers community volunteers to become court-appointed special advocates for all children who have experienced abuse and neglect in West Virginia’s Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties. CASA-EP is committed to better understanding and honoring every child that has a unique circumstance and special factors, especially those from historically marginalized groups. Racial and ethnic differences may be most evident, but we also recognize important differences in heritage, cultural background, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented identities. CASA-EP commits to value these differences and varied strengths among us to better serve the children of our region and, ultimately, our larger community. CASA-EP undertakes this commitment not only in writing, but by strengthening our communications, training, operations, community relationships and overall climate of inclusion to be reflective of the identities of the most vulnerable children in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

When a Child has a CASA Advocate...

THEY ARE...
more likely to
succeed in school

THEY ARE...
more likely to find a safe,
permanent home

THEY ARE...
half as likely to re-enter
the foster care system

Impact

Although their cases are among the most difficult and heartbreaking, children with court-appointed volunteers cycle through fewer foster placements and spend less time in foster care.

When a Child has a CASA Advocate...

THEY ARE...
more likely to
succeed in school

THEY ARE...
more likely to find a safe,
permanent home

THEY ARE...
half as likely to re-enter
the foster care system

They reach safe, permanent homes and loving families more quickly. What’s that worth to a child? To our region? To our state? The answer in dollars is impressive: $1.6 million a year in savings on foster care alone.

The answer for everything else we value as a society—health, happiness, resilience, hope, strength, human potential, faith in ourselves, and in our neighbors—is beyond measure.

Through persistence, partnership, and passion for our mission, CASA-EP now serves over 200 children annually in the Eastern Panhandle.

Help us Serve more Children and Increase our Impact

Fostering Futures

Older youth in foster care are one of the most vulnerable populations in this country. They are less likely to reach a permanent home and may languish in the foster care system for years before aging out, which happens to hundreds of young people every year in West Virginia. Fostering Futures is a new program that pairs CASA-EP volunteer advocates with children who will age out of the foster care system. For more information on volunteering to work with children in our new Fostering Futures program, please fill out an inquiry form.

History

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a national volunteer movement. Its founder, Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup, decided he couldn’t endure any more sleepless nights worrying about the lifelong impact his decisions had on abused and neglected children.

He thought well-trained volunteers could ensure that children’s voices were heard and provide judges with the necessary insight to make the best possible decisions.

By 1977, Judge Soukup formed the first CASA program to recruit, train, and supervise everyday people who volunteered to build meaningful relationships and advocate for abused and neglected children in juvenile dependency court. Today, close to 1,000 CASA programs work within state networks and in affiliation with the National CASA Association to serve our nation’s most vulnerable children.

The CASA-EP program was started in 2003 through the hard work and dedication of Joan Piemme and Val Smith.

Board & Staff Leadership

President

Susan Caperton
Community Advocate

Vice-President

Patty Bain Bachner
VP, Bachner Communications

Secretary

Rev. Dean Lawrence
Zion Episcopal Church

Treasurer

Tim Pownell
United Bank

Directors

Kerry Asam
Bavarian Inn

Terri Beard
Blue Flame, Inc.

Mary Butler
Jefferson Security Bank

Rosa Clark
Retired Education Adminstrator

Daniel Clarke
NexGen.Media

Kristen Gingery
Morgan County Partnership

Kelly Hart
Shepherd University

Kim Himes
Bank of Charles Town

Gloria Keyser
Proctor & Gamble

Cindy Kitner
Jefferson Security Bank

Amy Panzarella
Leadership/Executive Coach

Rev. GT Schramm
Trinity Episcopal Church

Gloria Shoemaker
WV Counseling & Advocacy

Bernadine Somers
Morgan Academy

Emeritus Board

Carol Asam
Kathy Santa Barbara
Val Smith

Staff Leadership

Michelle Sudduth
Executive Director
michelle@mycasaep.org

Cari Lefeber
Director of Programs
cari@mycasaep.org

Del Pope
Director of Training & Development
del@mycasaep.org

Nicki Kubovcik
Office Manager
Nicki@mycasaep.org

Brian Truman
Office Volunteer
brian@mycasaep.org

Sarah Pauletti
Volunteer Supervisor
sarah@mycasaep.org

Melody Stotler
Volunteer Supervisor
melody@mycasaep.org

Dave Mulvihill
Volunteer Supervisor
dave@mycasaep.org