Our Story

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.

CASA Today

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.

CASA Leadership

Lariana Forsythe


Cory Adler

Community Engagement Director

Sherry Clester

Dir of Survivor Support Services Non-residential

Kelly Conroy-Scott

Dir of Survivor Support Services Residential

Debbie Doran

HR Manager

Jill Flansburg

Sr Grants & Compliance Manager

Mindy Forey

Chief Financial Officer

Karen Lasker Mchugh

Lead IFP Attorney

Marilynn Tuten

Director of Admin & Special Projects

Taylor Withers

Director of Marketing & Communications

CASA Board

Gaelynn Thurman

Board Chair

Sheila King

Board Vice Chair

Nicholas McDevitt

Board Member Past Chair

Patty Robinson

Board Treasurer

Kristen McGettigan

Board Secretary

Debi Alberdi

Board Member

Kristina Alspaw

Board Member

Renee Baker

Board Member

Rachel Carpenter

Board Member

Colonel David Danzig

Board Member

Mark Dawson

Board Member

Samuel Heller

Board Member

Patti Helton

Board Member

Major Mark Hensley

Board Member

Tricia Manning

Board Member

Andrea Masterson

Board Member

Brittany Maxey-Fisher

Board Member

Justin McClain

Board Member

Kathleen Premo

Board Member

Linda Rendleman

Board Member

Patrons For Peace

David Baldwin
Foundation Member Emeritus

Brian Clark

Mark Dawson

Harvey Goodman

Bob Heyman

Sheila King

Jean Krause

Dan Mageras

Our Programs

Program Overview

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.



Learn about our domestic violence support programs.

CASA in the


Learn about our proactive engagement in the community.



Discover how you can help us end domestic violence.

Our Awards

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

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