A Powerful Voice In A Child’s Life


Debra D. Hauser
Executive Director

Our Mission

Nearly 700,000 children are victims of abuse or neglect each year. Instead of playing with neighbors and making happy family memories, they’re attending court hearings, adjusting to new foster homes and transitioning to new schools. That’s a heavy burden for a child to carry. With a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteer dedicated to their case, America’s most vulnerable children will have someone speaking up for their best interests. With your support, more children will have the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home. 

Our Staff

My name is Debra Hauser. My family and I have resided in London, KY for the past 23 years. I have 34 years of experience working with at risk children in Laurel and Knox Counties. For the past 28 years I have worked in Laurel County Public Schools in various positions, most recently as the Director of Pupil Personnel, from which I retired in December, 2018. Prior to being employed by the school district, I worked for the Administrative Office of the Courts as one of the first Court Designated Workers for the 27th Judicial District. I attended Union College, Barbourville, KY and Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY. While at EKU and Union I earned a bachelor’s degree in Education, Social Work and Psychology, Masters of Art in School Leadership and a Rank I in Pupil Personnel and School Superintendency. Even after retirement, it is my desire to continue working with at risk children of Knox and Laurel Counties. By being the Executive Director of the CASA OF KNOX AND LAUREL Counties, I may continue to do so. It is my hope to positively impact the lives of these children through my work as the Executive Director of the CASA of Knox and Laurel Counties.

What Is A Court Appointed Special Advocate?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer child advocate sworn in by the Family Court Judge to represent the best interest of children who are dependent, abused or neglected and are active cases in the Juvenile Court System. The CASA volunteer investigates the child’s circumstances, provides fact-based information and makes recommendations to the court while becoming a source of support for the child.

The CASA program is independent, but works closely with the court, social workers, therapists, attorneys, care providers and other professionals involved in a child’s case. CASA volunteers work under the direct supervision of the CASA Program Director or Volunteer Coordinators to further the child’s welfare and to expedite the case through the system.

The CASA volunteer’s ultimate goal is to move the child out of temporary placement, usually in the foster care system, into a safe and permanent home. This could mean return to the parent’s care, adoption, the appointment of a legal guardian, or some other permanent living arrangement that satisfies the court and fulfills the child’s needs.

Board Affiliations

CASA of Knox and Laurel Counties, Inc.


Donna Cornett, Director of Pupil Personnel Secretary, Laurel County Schools

CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS (in alphabetical order)

Robert Abner CPA, Christian Sturgeon Associates
Susan Carpenter, Owner, Laurel County Ambulance Service
Jane Winkler Dyche, Attorney-at-Law, Laurel County Master Commissioner
Claudia Greenwood, Executive Director, Knox County Chamber of Commerce
Kathryn Hardman, Retired, Laurel County Adult Education
Russell Jones, Region 9 Program Manager, Division of Family Resource & Youth Service Centers
Brendia Moses, Public Resource Director, KCEOC Community Action Partnership
Maxine Reid, Outreach Volunteer, Kids First Dental
Carolyn Smith, Retired Nursing Home Administrator


Debra D. Hauser, Executive Director
Rhonda Welch, Senior Coordinator


Requirements To Be A Court Appointed Special Advocate:

  • Must be 21 years of age
  • Must successfully pass screening requirements, which include a written application, three reference checks with non-relatives, local, state and national criminal record checks, a National Sexual Offender Registry check, Child Abuse and Neglect Registry check, Adult Protection Registry check, verification of social security number, and personal interview.
  • Must successfully complete initial training provided by the CASA Program, which is at least 30 hours. Any sessions missed must be made up by the applicant before being appointed to a case.
  • Must attend three hours of court observation
  • Must be accepted as a volunteer by the CASA Program Director and sworn in by the Family Court Judge.
  • Must participate in ongoing training, a minimum of 12 hours annually
  • Must accept supervision and seek feedback from the Program Director on a regular basis
  • Must be able to keep information confidential and to work within established program guidelines
  • KRS 620.505(7) which states: “Employees of the Cabinet shall not become volunteers or employees of the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program.”

Volunteer Training (Required):

  • Online guided curriculum
  • Supplemental in-person training & support
  • Court observation required in Laurel or Knox County Family Court

Get in Touch

Interested in learning more about CASA of Knox & Laurel Counties? Fill out our interest card and we’ll be in contact with you soon!

PO Box 3156
London, KY 40743
Phone: 606-389-5968

Please check all that apply


We need your help to ensure every child has a champion, a CASA or GAL volunteer.

CASA’s network serves more than 250,000 children and youth who have been abused or neglected.

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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