man sitting on chair holding newspaper on fire

Who are we? It's hard to recall another year in which this question was more insistent or more relevant. As difficult as it is to inspect our lives, our work, and our community in the searing light of 2020, it is important that we do. We must meet the increasing needs this crisis has created, as well as those it has exposed. 2020 is making it very clear that we have to do more than maintain our services.

It is crucial for us to continue the forward momentum that began seven years ago when we embarked on a course that has now laid much of the necessary groundwork for helping our children and families better survive the ongoing trauma of 2020. Beginning in 2013, Piedmont CASA:
----introduced trauma-informed, reslience-based principles and practices to our staff and Volunteers
----offered annual “Poverty Simulations” to the public
----led the founding of the “Trauma-Informed Community Network” (TICN)
----developed the Bridges to Success for Older Youth in Foster Care program
----convened the “Court/DSS/CASA Trauma-Informed Leadership Team” (CDC TILT)

As part of CDC TILT, we are developing the “Pro Bono Project”. Pursuant to the Code of Virginia, CASA Volunteers and Guardians ad litem (GALs) are required to work together to ensure that final case outcomes reflect a thorough best-interest analysis. However, the work of GALs has been inconsistent nationwide, and Virginia is no exception. Our goal is to encourage more vigorous and effective legal representation for our children and families. Children of color, particularly black children, are overrepresented in the child welfare system. Because their safety and wellbeing can only be assured when equity and justice are pillars of our advocacy, we are seeking an individual or institution to partner with us in developing the tools PCASA needs to ensure a just and racially equitable organization from staff to board to Volunteers. 

Our Mission

Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (CASA) provides trained Volunteers and professional staff to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and youth, promoting and supporting safe, permanent, and nurturing homes for these victims in the child welfare system, the community, and before the courts of the 16th Judicial District of Virginia.

Our History

Piedmont CASA has a 25-year history of providing well-trained and effective court advocates for abused and neglected children. Since 1995, the program has trained more than 700 community members who have advocated on behalf of over 2,000 children. Local judges find the program so valuable that they request a Piedmont CASA Volunteer for each new child who enters their court due to an underlying allegation of abuse and neglect. As a program, Piedmont CASA is unsurpassed in making use of our community’s most valuable asset, its citizens, who as Volunteers donate their time and skill in service to abused and neglected children.

Statement of Solidarity

Like so many others, we at Piedmont CASA feel anguish, rage, sadness, pain and so much more in response to the ongoing violence against Black Americans. We know that these aggressions are not new, and we reaffirm publicly our commitment to action as we stand with all those who demand a just community based in equity for black people. Black Lives Matter.

Piedmont CASA is a majority white organization playing a significant role in the child welfare system, a system in which children of color, particularly black children, are overrepresented. We are charged with advocating for the best interest of all children who have been removed from their families due to safety concerns.

As a partner in the child welfare system, Piedmont CASA must reckon with the role race plays in our interactions, reactions, decisions, and recommendations to the courts. We must recognize and do the work to disarm any biases and prejudices that inform how we talk to and about CASA children and families, and how we walk with CASA children and families as they navigate a system that is intended to help, but too often harms.

All CASA children are in foster care. They come from homes that are living at the intersection of race, poverty, gender, childhood and adult adverse experiences, as well as generational and historical trauma. Taking a hard, clear-eyed look at our work with black children and families will improve our advocacy for all our kids and families.

From our Board of Directors to our staff to our Volunteers, it is up to us to do this work to be deliberately anti-racist. We are listening. We are learning. We are part of this change-movement. We reaffirm our pledge to our community and the children we serve: Piedmont CASA provides a voice for children in court, and their safety and wellbeing can only be assured when equity and justice are pillars of our advocacy.

Piedmont CASA will do this work. We will be better. We start now.

condenser microphone with black background

Board of Directors

Rachel S. Lloyd Miller Chair
John H. Bocock Vice Chair
Frank Winslow Treasurer
Crystal Shin Secretary

Members at Large

Tarpley Gillespie
Ryan M. Kier
Chrystal N. King
Mark W. Menafee
Siri S. Russell
Mark Sackson
Kristin Cummings Streed

Seated in photo above: John H. Bocock and Rachel S. Lloyd Miller. Standing left to right: R. Peter Kilburn, Crystal Shin, Mark Sackson, Kristin Cummings Streed, Frank Winslow, James Miller (retired), and Tarpley Gillespie. Photo by Jennifer Byrne Photography. Not shown: Ryan Kier, Chrystal N. King, Mark W. Menafee, and Siri S. Russell.

CASA Staff

Alicia L. Lenahan  President
BA, Anna Maria College
JD, New England School of Law

Randy Nolt  Program Director
BA, Pennsylvania State University

Lexie Boris  Advancement Director
BA, Emory and Henry College

Cathy Eberly  CASA Supervisor
BA, Shippensburg State College
MEd, University of Virginia

Kati Naess  CASA Supervisor
Medical Technology, University of Munich

Annie Izard   CASA Supervisor
BA, University of Virginia
JD, George Mason University School of Law

Sherri Rosser   CASA Supervisor
AS, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Alison Taravella   CASA Supervisor
BA, University of Virginia

Sue Hoover  Office Administrator
BA, Lehigh University
JD, The American University, Washington College of Law

Bridges to Success Staff

Leah Cole  Bridges Coach
BS, Edinboro University
MEd, University of Virginia

Adam Crist  Bridges Coach
BA, University of Virginia

Gwen Jones  Bridges Coach
BA, Bowdoin College
MS, University of Massachusetts
PhD, Purdue University