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What is CASA?

Court Appointed Special Advocates® (CASAs) are community volunteers, just like you, who speak up for abused and/or neglected children.

Our CASA program belongs to a network of nearly 950 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and/or neglected children in courtrooms and communities.

  • Children in care in Washoe County on an average day 2023
    Children in care in Washoe County on an average day 2023


  • Children served by CASA volunteers in 2023
    Children served by CASA volunteers in 2023


  • Estimated volunteer hours in 2023 (in-kind value over $50K)
    Estimated volunteer hours in 2023 (in-kind value over $50K)


  • You can be the ONE we need!
    You can be the ONE we need!


News & Notes

Introducing the National CASA/GAL Executive Leadership Team

As we continue to look to the future and anticipate the finalization of our new strategic plan, we are organizing ourselves at National CASA/GAL to meet the new opportunities for the future. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight and introduce you to each staff team, so you have a deeper understanding of our engagement and will know whom at National CASA/GAL can provide you with support.

This week, I am introducing you to our Executive Team and in the following weeks, I will share information about the duties for each team and its members.

Warm wishes,

Tara Lisa Perry
Chief Executive Officer

Sally Erny, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Sally Wilson Erny is Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the National CASA/GAL Association. During her more than 20-year career with National CASA/GAL, Sally has served in several roles, including Director of Program Development and Chief Program Officer, before assuming her current position.

She leads the Stakeholder Engagement Team, which oversees the annual conference, external communications, judicial engagement, government relations, marketing and resource development.

Sally works with legislative, judicial, executive, and national partners, with a focus on federal appropriations and policy work, along with assistance to state CASA/GAL organizations on state legislative and budget efforts.

Prior to joining National CASA/GAL, Sally served for 13 years as Executive Director of CASA of Jefferson County (now CASA of the River Region) in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to that, she served as a policy analyst for Kentucky Youth Advocates.

E. Denice Hairston, Chief Compliance, Quality and Accountability Officer

Denice Hairston is our Chief Compliance, Quality and Accountability Officer and has been with the National CASA/GAL Association since October 2016. Denice provides oversight for the functional areas tasked with quality assurance for state organizations and local programs, membership compliance and grants administration and accountability for the pass-through awards to the network.

Denice has worked for several social services agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Grants Management Center for Public and Indian Housing, three local United Way organizations and the District of Columbia’s homeless services continuum of care program. Denice has experience in quality assurance, monitoring, grants administration, contracts and procurement, and standards development. She holds bachelor and master degrees from the University of Maryland. Her graduate degree is in Program Management for Family and Community Development. She has more than 25 years of experience in the health and human/social services arena, working professionally in nonprofit, government, and for-profit agencies.

Sarah Mackey, Chief Network Development Officer

Sarah Mackey joined the National CASA/GAL Association in November 2022 as our Chief Network Development Officer. She provides oversight and leadership to the Network Development team in its mission to provide training and development opportunities and enhance the capacity and effectiveness of CASA/GAL local programs and state organizations. The team informs, equips, and connects the network through resources, training, grant support, practical guidance, news and information, and measurement and connectivity.

Sarah has spent her entire career working with federated organizations. She spent the past 12 years with Habitat for Humanity, working at the local, state, and national levels.  As Vice President, US Transformation and Volunteer Programs with Habitat for Humanity International, Sarah led the strategy development, change management and implementation for initiatives and services supporting the success of Habitat for Humanity’s network of 1,100 organizations across the United States. Sarah earned a doctorate in public administration from University of Illinois Springfield and holds several professional credentials, including Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA) and Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE).

Lori Morris, Chief Program Strategy and Impact Officer

Lori Morris, Ph.D., joined the National CASA/GAL Association in May 2022 as our Chief Program Strategy and Impact Officer. She provides support and supervision to the Research and Evaluation team, Data team and the Program Design and Innovation team. The Data team focuses on performance measurement; the Research and Evaluation team focuses on evaluation of new programs and trainings and impact of the network; and the Program Design and Innovation team creates evidence-informed programs.

Although this is a new role for Lori, she has been involved with CASA since 2000 as co-founder and first Executive Director of CASA of Mercer County, Inc., in central New Jersey. During her time as Executive Director, CASA of Mercer County merged with CASA of Burlington County and Lori oversaw both CASAs.  After leaving CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties in 2016, Lori served as Interim Executive Director for CASA of Union County and CASA of Bergen County in New Jersey. Lori has been involved in numerous county, state and national CASA/GAL committees, including a role as co-chair of the National CASA/GAL Performance Measurement Committee.

Lori is trained as a sociologist and prior to her work with CASA, she served as a Research Scientist for Educational Testing Service, and as a consultant for the NJ Administrative Office of the Courts and the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Center.