Celebrating over 30 years of Volunteer Advocacy Service

to Wood County's Abused, Neglected and Dependent Children

Since 1988, Wood County CASA/GAL Program provided a volunteer advocate
to over 2,700 children who provided
over 76,000 hours of volunteer service to these children.
  A Brief History of the CASA/GAL Program 
In 1977, a Seattle Juvenile Court Judge (Judge Soukup) concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. This became the first named "King County GAL Program."   (Later named "Dependency CASA Program").

In November 1980, as this concept spread across the country, the first CASA program in Ohio was established in Lucas County.  This was the third CASA program in the nation.

In May 1987, the Ohio CASA/GAL Association was organized in order to assist with  program development and supports throughout the statehttp://www.ohiocasa.org/


In 1988, under the leadership and encouragement of then Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Robert Pollex,  and with the input and support from members of the public, the Wood County CASA/GAL Program began as a component of the Juvenile Probation Department.

Additional timeline information includes:
1988 - The Citizen Review Board was developed and implemented.

1994 - Hired a part time Volunteer Coordinator, who reported to Probation Director.

1995 The Volunteer Coordinator position became full time.

1995 Friends of CASA, 501(c)(3) established; controlled by Board of Trustees. Goals: public awareness and aid program with financial needs.

1996 - Judge Pollex approved CASA Program to become a separate Juvenile Court department.

2000 (Spring) - Program reorganization included the development of formalized program specific policies, job descriptions and program goals; prioritized appointing a volunteer advocate to children who had been alleged as abused, neglected and dependent. Staffed with one full-time Director, hired in May 2000, and two part-time Volunteer Coordinators.

2000 (Nov) - First program review by Ohio CASA for National CASA Standards of Quality Practice-100% compliance.

2001 (June) - Judge Woessner granted GAL status to CASA volunteers.

2015 (Fall) Staffing hours gradually increased beginning in 2008. By 2015 the program had two full-time Volunteer Coordinators and a part-time Recruitment/Office Support position funded by the federal VOCA grant with county/in-kind match in addition to a full time Program Director funded by the county.

2017 With the assistance of 41 volunteers, 171 Wood County abused, neglected and dependent children received the services of a CASA/GAL Volunteer advocate. The largest number of children served since program was established.




Local advocates make the voices of abused and neglected children heard across the community recognizing April 30 as CASA Day in Ohio, as proclaimed by the Ohio General Assembly.

The resolution was sponsored by Representative Taveres, Senator Wagoner and Senator Niehaus.

"CASA Day is an opportunity to recognize the difference that volunteer advocates make in the lives of abused and neglected children and bring attention to the critical needs of these children.”

Children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as more than three years in care. In a recent national study about 13 percent of children who had CASA volunteers were in foster care for more than three years, compared to 27 percent of children who had no CASA volunteer. Additionally, children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive the services they need and less likely to re-enter the foster care system.

"CASA programs in Wood and across the state call upon all Ohioans to learn how they can make a difference in the life of an abused and neglected child in their community.”