Local History

The Lucas County Juvenile Court CASA/GAL department was implemented by then Judge Andy Devine with the assistance of the Junior League of Toledo. When it commenced in November 1980, it was the first CASA program in Ohio and the third program in the nation.

 Lucas County CASA/GAL work is governed by strict standards set by the National and Ohio CASA/GAL Associations and embraced by the Lucas County CASA department.

 The Lucas County CASA/GAL department is funded by taxpayers via the Lucas County Commissioners and the Juvenile Court budget. The CASA department established a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation status to accept funds in the form of honorariums, grants, fees, gifts, bequests, and memorials to support the work of the CASA volunteers.

 Administrative Judge Linda Knepp and Judge Robert J. Jones, Jr. support the work of the CASA/GAL Department and the nearly 200 CASA volunteers. CASA is housed in the Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center on Spielbusch Avenue in downtown Toledo.

The Ohio Scene

The Ohio CASA/GAL Association was organized in May 1987 as a result of a conference funded by the Ohio Juvenile Judges Association.

The Ohio CASA/GAL Association provides technical assistance and support to both existing and developing CASA/GAL programs. The Association additionally develops and monitors standards for the training and work of CASA/GAL volunteers throughout the state. The state Association also hosts an annual convention.

You can read more about Ohio CASA volunteers and events at the Ohio CASA website: www.ohiocasa.org

The National Scene

Concerned about the staggering numbers of children in foster care, in 1974 the U.S. Congress enacted The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which provided financial assistance to states for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The legislation included a requirement that in every case a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) be appointed to represent the abused and neglected child’s best interest.

In 1982, the National CASA/GAL Association, Inc. was established to serve as an umbrella organization for the growing number of CASA programs in the country.



  • Child welfare systems are in a state of crisis, partly due to a devastating opioid epidemic.
  • More than 407,000 children are in foster care on any given day.
  • The average child in foster care spends more than a year in care.


  • Volunteer advocates are screened, trained and supported by CASA/GAL program staff.
  • CASA/GAL volunteers form a one-on-one relationship with a child and get a full picture of the case.
  • Judges depend on CASA/GAL volunteers for critical information to help them make the most well-informed decisions.

You can read more about CASA at the National CASA/GAL Association website: www.casaforchildren.org


state CASA/GAL organizations and local CASA/GAL programs operate in 49 states


dedicated volunteers


children served annually