CASA stands for “Court-Appointed Special Advocates”. We train qualified adults to advocate in court for abused and neglected children. The CASA volunteer will have a Court Order appointing them as the advocate for the children in a specific Abuse & Neglect case.
The mission of the National CASA Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.
National CASA and their network of local community programs support volunteers serving children. The role of local CASA programs is to recruit, train and support volunteers in their work with abused and neglected children.
Since its creation in 1977 by a family court judge in Seattle, Court Appointed Special Advocates has become one of the most effective programs of its kind. Today there are almost 1,000 CASA programs around the country. CASA is a unique blend of private support, public need and the kind of people power that comes from 70,000 volunteers all committed to the rights of every child in the foster care and child welfare system.
The Southeast CASA Program opened its office in October 2011. It currently provides CASA volunteers for the children in Yankton, Clay and Bon Homme counties who are in the social services and family court systems due to abuse and neglect by their parents.
The mission of the Southeast CASA Program is to promote and protect the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings through the advocacy efforts of trained volunteers.
The Southeast CASA Program is an affiliate of the National CASA Association. We became a provisional member on April 1, 2011, and our office opened in Yankton, SD on Oct. 17, 2011. The Southeast CASA Program received full membership status on July 12, 2012. We currently provide advocacy services for abused and neglected children in Yankton, Clay, and Bon Homme counties. Eventually the Southeast CASA Program will also serve Union, Charles Mix, and Turner Counties in South Dakota.
To read more about the National CASA Association, visit http://www.casaforchildren.org/
Before coming to CASA, Sherri was the Director of Education & Outreach Services at South Dakota Public Broadcasting for nine years. She was a classroom teacher for many years, and she also worked at the SD Developmental Center in Custer and at the South Dakota Human Services Center in Yankton.
Sherri is the Past President of Interchange, Inc. in Yankton, and she is also on the planning committee for SPARK Community Conversations. She was a founding member and President of the PFLAG-Yankton group, and she was a board member for NAMI-South Dakota (the National Alliance for Mental Illness). Sherri also served one term on the Yankton School Board.
Sherri is married to Doug Conti. She has four grown children and seven grandchildren.
Crystal Gemar is the CASA Case Manager at the Southeast CASA Program. She began her duties on May 29, 2016. Prior to joining us, Crystal worked in Child Protection Services at the SD Department of Social Services for several years.
Crystal is married to Lance Gemar, and they have two sons.
Southeast CASA Forms and Documents
SOUTHEAST CASA ACTIVITIES