Safety, Empowerment and Prevention programs to end domestic violence
Founded in 1977, CASA is the official 501c3 domestic violence center based in southern Pinellas County, FL.
We operate the area’s 24-hour hotline and emergency shelter; non-residential programs, such as support groups, economic empowerment and legal advocacy; Child Protective Investigative Team support; community and corporate training; and the CASA Peacemakers anti-bullying and healthy relationship school curriculum.
Our Humble Beginnings
CASA was founded by Sr. Margaret Freeman in 1977 as the “Free Clinic Spouse Abuse Shelter,” a service of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic providing emergency housing for up to 8 domestic violence survivors at a time. It soon became an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization, able to expand its services with financial support from a network of caring community organizations and members.
A community champion
CASA was incorporated in 1981 as an emergency shelter to accommodate 22 participants, children’s programs, and an Outreach department to provide support groups and peer counseling, and the fundraising groundwork was laid in order develop a 30 bed shelter, which opened in 1992.
Under the leadership of Linda A. Osmundson, CASA grew to include enhanced support groups, a 24-hour domestic violence hotline, outreach services, training for law enforcement and other community members, and youth programs such as the Peacemakers Program teaching violence prevention in Pre-K through 8th grade classes. CASA Collections Thrift Shoppe was opened in 1998 to collect items for domestic violence survivors and raise funds for CASA.
In July 2015, CASA opened the doors to a newly constructed 133-bed domestic violence center. In addition to providing safe refuge to more than three times as many people at a time than before, it adds an integrated array of on-site support services such as a resource center and rapid re-housing program to help domestic violence survivors attain safety and economic opportunity.
CASA is currently led by CEO Lariana Forsythe, an experienced executive with more than two decades in the nonprofit sector.
Chief Financial Officer
Community Engagement Director
Sr Grants & Compliance Manager
Dir of Admin & Special Projects
Sr Communications Manager
Board Member Chair
Board Member Vice Chair
Board Member Past Chair
Board Member Treasurer
Board Member Secretary
Colonel David Danzig
Patrons For Peace
Foundation Member Emeritus
CASA staff members understand the courage it takes to disclose abuse, and they work with the community to build a network of support for survivors and their children.
2017 Nonprofit of the Year
Pinellas Park / Gateway Area Chamber of Commerce
2017 Be More Knowledgable and Be More Entertaining Awards
WEDU Be More Awards
2016 Outstanding Victim Advocate of the Year (Vanessia Washington)
Florida’s Attorney General Office
2016 Best 501c3 Nonprofit
LocalShops1 8th Annual Community Awards
2016 Outstanding Achievement in Preventing Domestic Violence (Elyssa Broussard)
Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force
2015 CDFA Florida Financing Board Roundtable Excellence Award
Council of Development Finance Agency
2014 Good ‘Burger Award – Services & Nonprofits
St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce
2014 Best Nonprofit
Crisis Resources, Tampa Bay Business Journal
2013 Be More Encouraged
Judges’ Choice, WEDU 8th Annual Be More Awards