In 2005, President Judge Louis J. Farina realized the benefit that a CASA program could bring to Lancaster County. Judge Leslie Gorbey, chair of the Family and Juvenile Courts, was appointed to spearhead the steering committee. And the rest, as they say, is our history.
Judge Gorbey gathered a committee of community stakeholders to begin the process of bringing a CASA program to fruition in Lancaster. Those dedicated steering committee members still remain supportive of the CASA program today and we would not be the program we are without them: Crystal Natan, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency; Lisa McCoy, partner at Nikolaus and Hohenadel; Alice Yoder, Director of Community Health at LGH; Dennis Hockensmith, former Executive Director at the PA CASA Association; Wanda Noll, Executive Director at York County CASA; and Stacey Spangenburg, Admissions Counselor at Milton Hershey School. The steering committee met for the first time in 2005 and built the foundation of the organization, recruiting and bringing together CASA's first Board of Directors.
The first meeting of the Board of Directors was in 2007 and, together with the foundation of the steering committee, these dedicated community professionals completed the necessary groundwork and fundraising to hire the organizations first staff member Jessica Laspino began as CASA's Executive Director in the fall of 2009 and remains with the organization today. In January 2010, the Lancaster County Dependency Court appointed CASA its first case.
In 2020, CASA’s leadership team began the process of expanding the current program to serve children in Lebanon County. Leveraging existing relationships with the Lancaster County Judiciary and Children and Youth Agency, CASA began to meet with stakeholders in Lebanon County. In January 2022, CASA was able to begin the formal process with the National CASA/GAL Association to rebrand as “CASA of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties” and officially begin training advocates for children in Lebanon County’s foster care system. In August 2022, the Lebanon County Dependency Court appointed CASA its first case.