Michael Piraino is the former CEO of National CASA. He served as chief executive officer of the National CASA Association since 1994, overseeing such projects as a nationwide grants program providing millions of dollars in funding for volunteer advocacy programs, a new 30-hour comprehensive volunteer training curriculum, a national quality assurance program, a major multi-site outcome evaluation project and national public relations efforts.
Piraino has law degrees from Cornell Law School and Oxford University. While practicing law, he represented children as a guardian ad litem and served as a consultant to international social service and child advocacy organizations in Europe and Southeast Asia. Piraino has also worked as a juvenile probation officer and was an associate research scientist for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University.
National CASA and our network of over 900 local community program offices support volunteers serving children. The role of local CASA programs is to recruit, train and support volunteers in their work with abused children. Following is how National CASA and our state organizations work with local CASA programs.
Role of National CASA: National CASA offers critical leadership and support to provide quality advocacy and lead the continued growth of the CASA network. Some of our specific activities:
- Training & Curriculum: National CASA creates new, research-based training opportunities, such as our new e-learning series on educational advocacy, and continuously improves our core volunteer training curriculum
- Technical Assistance: We offer extensive technical assistance to help programs serve more children more effectively
- Volunteer Recruitment and Public Awareness: We coordinate national campaigns to help recruit CASA volunteers and raise awareness about child abuse. In recent years, the CASA cause has been featured in various media, reaching more than 155 million individuals. Much of this awareness is the result of National CASA being selected as a CBS Cares network charity
- Resource Development and Grants: National CASA provides pass-through funding to local and state CASA/GAL programs. Grant funding comes primarily from the Department of Justice but also from private corporations and foundations
Role of State Organizations: Working in partnership with National CASA and local CASA programs, state organizations provide:
- Additional support, technical assistance and information to local CASA programs
- Support for developing new CASA programs in the state
- Opportunities for communication, networking and support among CASA program staff
- Increased awareness of CASA work and the needs of children who are abused and neglected in their states
National CASA's Services
In addition to providing leadership, training, technical assistance and grants to CASA programs across the country, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association stages an annual conference and promotes CASA programs through public awareness efforts. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, National CASA offers consultation and resources that help start CASA programs and provides vital assistance to established programs.