HARTFORD - The Connecticut Court Appointed Special Advocates Association has launched two new programs, CASA of Northern Connecticut and CASA of Southern Connecticut, to support and advocate for abused or neglected children.
Leading CASA of Northern Connecticut is Executive Director Gary Brochu. Brochu comes to CASA from the law firm of Shipman & Goodwin, LLP, at which he served a partner for 12 years specializing in school law, representing boards of education and school districts throughout the state.
Additionally, Brochu served as a member of the Berlin Board of Education for 19 years, and as its president for 17 of those years. He continues his work with the Connecticut Center for School Change as a facilitator as part of its Parent Education outreach and education.
Brochu is also a member of the Board of Directors of Coram Deo Recovery, a New Britain-based nonprofit that provides sober housing and services for women recovering from addiction and abuse.
Connecticut CASA, one of nearly 950 CASA programs nationwide, recruits, trains and supports volunteers who advocate in court for the best interests of children.
Connecticut CASA was established in 2018 to expand and support Court Appointed Special Advocates programming in service to Connecticut’s most vulnerable children. Its advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
“There were over 10,000 children under the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction in 2018 because of abuse or neglect. We are committed to growing and expanding CASA’s proven volunteer advocacy programs to ensure better outcomes for children facing these extraordinarily difficult circumstances in our State,” said Lauren Messner, executive director of the Connecticut CASA. “We’re eager to begin service to the New Britain and New Haven communities, and to continue providing high-quality services to children in Stamford.”
CASA of Northern Connecticut is based in Hartford and CASA of Southern Connecticut is run out of New Haven. An existing program, CASA of Southwestern Connecticut, operates out of Stamford.
Heading CASA of Southern Connecticut is Executive Director Josiah Brown. Brown comes to his new role after having served as the first associate director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
Earlier in his career, Brown was an aide to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and to the director of a center at Columbia University. Brown is also a former president of Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven and a former member of the New Haven public schools’ Community Engagement Team. He is also a volunteer youth basketball coach and, since 2008, has been an associate fellow of Saybrook College at Yale University, advising undergraduates each year.
“Both Gary and Josiah bring passionate, strategic and results-driven experiences in serving their communities and will be key assets for Connecticut CASA’s leadership moving forward. Both leaders are vitally concerned with the well-being of youth in Connecticut and will continue to build relationships with all stakeholders dedicated to supporting youth in our state,” said Messner.
To raise awareness of its new programs serving children in Greater Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut CASA won a grant to implement a broad-based advertising campaign, “Change a Child’s Story.” Created by the National CASA Association, the campaign’s message is told from the point of view of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. The campaign shows the importance to these children of having a volunteer by their side to advocate for their best interests.
For more information about the Connecticut CASA Association, visit www.connecticutcasa.org .