About Us – CASA of the Eastern Panhandle

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.

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

Tim Hott
Erie Insurance

Secretary

Heather Henry
Washington County Public Schools

Treasurer

Tim Pownell
United Bank

Directors

Carol Asam
Bavarian Inn

Kerry Asam
Bavarian Inn

Patty Bachner
VP, Bachner Communciations

Rosa Clark
Retired Education Administrator

Cindy Kitner
Jefferson Security Bank

Karen Luttrell
Luttrell Legal Corporation

Lindsey Matschat
Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office

Lara Omps-Botteicher
United States Attorney’s Office

Kathy Santa Barbara
The Law Office of Kathy M. Santa Barbara, PLLC

Bernadine Somers
Morgan Academy

Bill Wertman
Retired Judiciary

Roy Winkel
Community Volunteer

Staff Leadership

Michelle Sudduth
Executive Director
michelle@mycasaep.org

Cari Lefeber
Volunteer Supervisor
cari@mycasaep.org

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

Brian Truman
Office Volunteer
brian@mycasaep.org

Julia Yuhasz
Outreach & Marketing
julia@mycasaep.org

Nikki Johnson
Program Coordinator
 
Melody Stotler
Volunteer Supervisor