Annual Report

Rappahannock Area CASA
2022-2023 Annual Report &
Program Accomplishments

Rappahannock Area CASA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to advocating for abused and neglected children in the Fredericksburg area. Our program provides independent, high-quality advocacy to vulnerable children involved in court cases due to parental abuse or neglect. Most children we serve are in foster care, though some live at home under child protective orders or Child In Need Of Services petitions. Judges appoint CASA to give voice to the children’s needs.

In 2022-23:

  • Rappahannock Area CASA advocated for 124 children.
  • 40 volunteer advocates donated nearly 4,500 hours of service.
  • CASA volunteers submitted 117 written reports to local judges, who incorporated the vast majority of CASA’s written recommendations into their court orders.

The children our volunteers worked diligently to serve in 2022-23 included:

  • An elementary-schooler who reported physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a stepparent, only to be branded a liar by her other parent.
  • A young boy who had already endured a stint in foster care in another state before being placed with relatives in Virginia, who were then charged criminally with beating and starving him.
  • A sibling group who immigrated to this country and sought refuge with a relative, who then abused them.
  • A teenager struggling with the same substance abuse issues that plagued her parents.
  • Several infants and toddlers with unexplained bruises and broken bones.


In 2022-2023:

  • CASA volunteers and/or staff attended more than 230 court hearings and submitted 117 CASA reports prior to court hearings. (Reports are required for many but not all hearings.)
  • Judges considered 64% of CASA’s written recommendations and incorporated 95% of those considered into their court orders. Overall, judges incorporated 61% of CASA’s total recommendations into their court orders. (Some recommendations are made to highlight a concern and spur action by child welfare professionals but are not necessarily intended to trigger action by a judge.)
  • 93% of foster children served by CASA were placed in safe, permanent homes when their cases closed in 2022-23. (In one case, CASA was concerned about a child’s return home, and that child eventually returned to the foster care system because of the parent’s inability to care for her; in another case, the child – a teenager – ran away and has not been located.)
  • 71% of foster care cases involving CASA ended within the 17-month timeline mandated by federal law. CASA’s foster care cases lasted an average of 15 months. (Court and procedural delays are among the factors that can stretch out some children’s cases.)
  • CASA volunteers logged nearly 11,000 “contacts,” or conversations with teachers, therapists, social workers, foster parents, parents and other service providers in the children’s lives to better understand the children’s needs and provide targeted advocacy.

In many ways in FY23, our efforts helped ensure that children’s best interests were served and that common sense prevailed – even when the system’s focus on laws and regulations threatened to overshadow what was plainly best and safest for kids. CASA’s voice mattered – for kids being brought to visits with parents they feared or children left in homes where they didn’t feel safe; for kids on the verge of returning to parents who couldn’t or wouldn’t protect them; for teens grappling with feelings of abandonment; and for families desperate to reunite and working hard to earn the chance.

In FY23, we feel confident our advocacy protected children and helped guide them to safe, permanent homes. We also feel positive about the concerted efforts we made to help foster teens prepare for adulthood – by completing written assessments of their life skills, assessing gaps in their knowledge, giving them a book on preparing for adulthood, and initiating conversations about topics such as how to get a job, how to handle money, how to access college and how to lead healthy lives.

The intervention CASA provides, in collaboration with social workers, Guardians ad litem and the court system, is crucial to increasing the likelihood that children suffering from atrociously adverse experiences can develop the resilience and coping skills needed to succeed in life. Child abusers are rarely held accountable by the criminal justice system. The civil court system in which CASA operates is often the only system holding child abusers accountable for their damaging actions.


Our volunteers include educators, lawyers, government employees, stay-at-home parents, counselors, grandparents, retired service members and others. Each person brings an impressive mix of compassion, intellect and life experience to their work, and each passed comprehensive background checks before serving a child.

To advocate for children, CASA volunteers: 1) investigate the children’s lives; 2) identify the children’s needs; 3) speak up for the children’s best interests through written recommendations to judges; and 4) communicate with Guardians ad litem and others to promote the children’s well-being for the duration of each case. CASA’s recommendations address the children’s physical safety as well as their emotional, educational, health and other needs.

In FY 2022-2023, 40 Rappahannock Area CASA volunteers spent 4,500 hours advocating for abused and neglected children in the Fredericksburg area. Most children served by CASA are involved in court cases in Spotsylvania County or the city of Fredericksburg, while others are in King George or Stafford counties.

Nonprofit research organization Independent Sector estimates the value of a volunteer hour in Virginia at $32.59. Based on this rate, Rappahannock Area CASA volunteers provided $146,655 worth of valuable service to our community in 2022-23.



In 2022-2023, Rappahannock Area CASA continued its volunteer recruitment and training efforts by:

  • Training 9 new volunteers, who were sworn in by a judge after completing at least 32 hours of in-depth, pre-service training. All were quickly assigned to serve a child or a sibling group
  • Providing multiple opportunities for our volunteers to engage in continuing education. After their first year of service, CASA volunteers are required to participate in an extra 12 hours annually of ongoing training to maintain their certification. In 2022-23, our veteran CASAs completed more than 300 hours of ongoing education, including completing workshops at the CASA office on how best to serve teens and the impact of substance abuse on families; participating in webinars addressing topics such as kinship foster care and medically complex foster children; and learning about sex-trafficking and suicide prevention through Advo-Chats, sponsored by Virginia CASA College.
  • CASA staff completed training through the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children-All Families program, which promotes LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and affirming practices among child welfare agencies. We have been designated as a Tier 1 Building Foundation for Inclusion agency.


The Rappahannock Area CASA Board of Directors provides fiscal oversight, strategic planning and fundraising for our organization.  We are currently in the process of recruiting at least one new member. Board members during FY23 included:

  • President Barbara Miller-Richards, former Fredericksburg School Board member
  • Vice President Teri Cortese-Fusaro, an attorney and former CASA volunteer
  • Secretary/Treasurer Marie Fredrick, healthcare consultant at Ramshorn, LLC and former CASA volunteer
  • Nancy Pcsolyar, a nurse and retired office manager at Mary Washington Neurology
  • Bobby Anderson, former RCASA director and former CASA volunteer
  • Delise Dickard, counselor and founder of Mindset Matters and Camelia Cottage LLC
  • Robert Rycroft, Professor of Economics at the University of Mary Washington
  • Jacinta Topps, pediatrician at Fall Hill Pediatrics
  • Shondella Murray, Human Resources Specialist at NLRB and former CASA volunteer


Rappahannock Area CASA serves children ages 0-21 from a variety of racial, ethnic, economic and other backgrounds. Demographic details about the 124 children we served in 2022-23 include:



Rappahannock Area CASA continues to strive for diversified funding from numerous sources. During fiscal year 2022-23, here is where our funding came from – and how we spent it:



Note: CASA’s 2022-23 audit and financial statements have not yet been completed. Figures above are aligned with CASA’s QuickBooks accounting system’s Profit & Loss statement.

 2023-24 SO FAR

CASA’s current fiscal year started on July 1, 2023, and it’s shaping up to be a busy one:

  • Our 35 active volunteers have served 94 abused and neglected children so far this fiscal year. To put that in perspective, we served 88 children all year long in 2020-21, during the height of the pandemic. At this rate, we’re on track to exceed our 2022-23 caseload of 124 children.
  • Of those 94 children, 52% are from Spotsylvania, 31% are from Fredericksburg and 17% are from Stafford County.
  • The primary concerns driving our cases in the first half of 2023-24 are similar to last year, with current CPS involvement, substance abuse and prior CPS involvement coming in as the top 3 indicators; criminal involvement and a single primary caregiver tying for 4th; and mental health concerns landing in the 5th
  • We had 5 new volunteers complete training in October 2023, and all 5 immediately accepted cases following their swearing-in ceremony. We’re scheduling our next training for January/February 2024.
  • Between July and the end of November 2023, our volunteers logged nearly 1,600 hours of work on their cases and had more than 5,500 conversations with teachers, doctors, therapists, parents, foster parents and others to support their advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children.
  • Staff and volunteers have attended 143 hearings and submitted 50 written reports to local judges.
  • Judges have considered 69% of the written recommendations CASA has submitted, and they have incorporated 97% of those into their orders.
  • CASA’s volunteers have completed more than 160 hours of in-service training on topics such as understanding PTSD and trauma reactions in children, advocating for neurodivergent children and how best to protect LGBTQ+ children from maltreatment. In addition, they attended a talk on housing insecurity led by Micah Ecumenical Ministries Director Meghann Cotter in October. And in August, 20 volunteers and CASA’s staff received Narcan training from Sherry Norton-Williams, a prevention specialist at RACSB.
  • Evelyn Amador, one of our amazing volunteers and a native Spanish speaker, has recently translated our brochures for parents and foster parents as well as our Release of Confidential Information form into Spanish. A generous 25th Anniversary Grant from the Community Foundation will cover our printing costs.