Innovating Advocacy for the Most Vulnerable
LANCASTER, PA (February 1, 2018) – An ‘innovator’ is defined as someone who introduces new methods or ideas. Someone whose mind is always racing – wheels are always turning – in order to make things better for those around them. Once a year, the Fine Living Lancaster Innovator Awards honor several innovators making a big impact in the Lancaster Community. Among the 2018 winners was Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster County’s Executive Director, Jessica Laspino.
We often hear about innovators in technology, or innovators in pop-culture, but rarely do we hear about local innovators –our hometown heroes – who work tirelessly to introduce and establish change for the better. Recognized for her innovation in child advocacy, Laspino has been an activist through this child welfare program of Lancaster County for about 10 years. “I think there’s a common misconception that child abuse is a byproduct of growing up in a low socioeconomic status, but the truth is that child abuse and neglect does not discriminate; it cuts across all races and socioeconomic levels,” stated Laspino. When Laspino came to Lancaster County, the CASA program – a program that trains community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children within the court system – was poised for success, under the right leader. Under her leadership and innovation, the program has grown to serve about half of the children in Lancaster County’s foster care system.
Laspino is quick to assert that it’s not all her work, but that of the 150 CASA volunteers in the community. “Our volunteers train and work hard – giving so much of themselves. They spend hours month after month on their case so that every child CASA advocates for have their best interests represented in court.” And though CASA of Lancaster has seen such tremendous growth, they are still striving to represent more children. Thankfully, the program has the help of Laspino’s innovation to combat the rising number of child abuse and neglect cases.
The abuse and neglect of children is devastating. We are all affected by this issue. Please join Laspino, and all of CASA, and learn how you can change a child’s life. Help make Lancaster County a place where every child grows up in a home free of abuse and neglect by contacting CASA at (717) 208-3280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.