Venango’s CASA program ‘desperately’ needs volunteers

A court-based program that provides advocates for abused and neglected children in Venango County needs more volunteers.

The non-profit Court Appointed Special Advocates agency of Venango County, known as CASA, has been around since 2005 and offers training to volunteers who focus on two priorities.

Cinnamon Evans, the executive director of CASA, says the volunteers ensure that every child has a safe, supportive and permanent home, whether with a foster, adopted or natural family; and they also work for the best interests of children within the court system.

“We are in desperate need of volunteers,” Evans said.

The CASA volunteers are trained to work within the child welfare and family court systems and are appointed by judges to individual cases. Evans said that with the help of a CASA volunteer, a child is much less likely to languish in foster care and that much more likely to find a safe and permanent home.

Evans said that only 35 percent of the children in need in Venango County have access to a CASA volunteer. She said the agency needs to more than double the 15 current CASA volunteers to ensure that all children in the system have a qualified volunteer looking out for their best interests.

The volunteers work under the guidance of President Judge Oliver J. Lobaugh, who helped implement the program.

Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer can go to to see how they can help.

Evans can also be contacted at (814) 670-0550, Ext. 2.