Winter 2022
We continue with the fourth spotlight in our series on individuals whose personal and professional trajectory was influenced by their CASA involvement.

In this issue, we spotlight Chief Justice David E. Nahmias of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Chief Justice Nahmias was elected to the Supreme Court in 2010 and 2016, following his appointment by Governor Perdue in 2009. This past year, he was unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as Chief Justice following the departure of Chief Justice Harold D. Melton. Chief Justice Nahmias also now serves as the Chair of the Judicial Council of Georgia, which establishes policy for the judiciary in the state, and for the past four years he has served as Chair of the Georgia Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children (J4C). The J4C administers a federal grant allocated to Georgia to improve outcomes in juvenile court dependency cases and to improve the state’s child welfare system. The Chief Justice notes that his J4C work is usually at the ‘big picture’ and ‘cheerleader’ levels, whereas many other individuals, such as those with the CASA organization and other child welfare groups, are on the front lines doing the day-to-day work with children and families.

Chief Justice Nahmias grew up in DeKalb County, and his father was a prominent pediatric infectious disease expert at Emory University who later became involved in policymaking to improve the health of Georgia’s children. Through his father’s professional career, Chief Justice Nahmias observed the child welfare field from a distance. Then, in the spring of 1989, as a first-year law student at Harvard Law School, he learned about the CASA program. Boston CASA was looking for volunteers, and he thought it seemed like a good way to help children while simultaneously learning about the juvenile court system. He completed the CASA volunteer training and served as a CASA volunteer during his second and third years in law school. This experience, as well as being an adoptive father, would inform his leadership as the Chair of J4C.

Through his CASA experience, he learned that the child welfare system, and the juvenile court process in particular, can be confusing and intimidating for young children whose well-being is supposed to be the focus of the proceedings. He appreciates how useful it is for each child to have an advocate – not just an attorney with a huge caseload. He tries to remember the lessons he learned a as CASA volunteer as the J4C members and policymakers discuss problems and improvements in Georgia’s child welfare system. Recalling recent results from a survey of children in foster care that was conducted by Georgia Appleseed, a nonprofit on whose board of directors he serves, the surveyed youth expressed the same concerns and the same desire to have good advocates.
Chief Justice Nahmias wants CASA volunteers to know their work really matters to the children being served and to the state’s overall child welfare system. The work can be difficult and stressful – because these cases are almost always difficult and stressful – but it is important and can be very rewarding. He encourages advocates to take advantage of trainings, especially in multidisciplinary settings with juvenile court judges, parent and child attorneys, GALs, and DFCS case workers.

When asked about the realities of the child welfare system, Chief Justice Nahmias shared that the system is beginning an important transformation. Stimulated by the federal Family First Prevention Service Act and recognizing the trauma that removal causes, the system is focusing more on efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect by identifying children and families in need and addressing their issues before those issues require removal of the children. Georgia DFCS is at the front end of the work, and the CASA organization’s full engagement and support of the efforts will be beneficial to all.

While there is still plenty of room for improvement, he believes the child welfare system today is much better than it was when he served as a CASA volunteer three decades ago. So much more about trauma and treatment is now known. More decisions are made based on data and measured outcomes instead of anecdotes and hunches. The juvenile courts in Georgia are better funded and staffed by specially trained and better-paid judges. Collectively, we are much better at viewing the system as a whole and engaging in multidisciplinary communication and training. And to top it off, soon there will be CASA programs in all 159 counties and many more CASA volunteers over the years.

When not working or watching his sons’ events, Chief Justice Nahmias enjoys spending time with his fiancée, watching sports of all kinds, staying fit, and reading. Chief Justice Nahmias and his late wife adopted two boys who have grown into wonderful young men – a high school senior who will attend Duke University, his dad’s alma mater, in the fall on a football scholarship and a 10th-grader who is in Air Force JROTC and on the fencing team.
A big thank you goes to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority alumnae chapter in Atlanta for coordinating a youth service project to benefit children and youth served by CASA volunteers in Atlanta.

A total of about 40 toiletry bags, for males and females, were put together by the youth in the chapter. Led by Lisa Jones, former CASA volunteer with Atlanta CASA, the youth were inspired to provide toiletry items for children and youth in foster care who often don't have their own sets of toiletries, which many of us take for granted.

The toiletry bags were delivered to the Georgia CASA's office, then given to staff at Atlanta CASA for distribution to children and youth served by Atlanta CASA. The toiletries were included as part of Atlanta CASA's holiday gift drive. Additionally, some sorority members participated in Atlanta CASA's holiday gift wrapping project.

In conjunction with the youth service project, a representative of Georgia CASA was invited to speak at the sorority's virtual youth conference on October 30th. The attendees, along with their parents, learned more about the impact of CASA volunteers on children and youth and the CASA volunteer opportunity in Georgia.

Georgia CASA and the entire CASA network in Georgia appreciate the support from members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority across the state!
(l) Delta Sigma Theta youth and adult representatives with Joyce Jones, Georgia CASA Staff
(r) Delta Sigma Theta representatives at Atlanta CASA holiday gift wrapping project
(below) Toiletries included in toiletry bags
CASA Day at the Capitol returns in 2022 on Thursday, February 10th as a hybrid event. CASA staff, board members, and volunteers across the state are encouraged to take part in this annual event to include a legislative briefing, for both in-person and virtual attendees, to provide details for legislative appointments. Onsite attendees will then visit legislative offices and distribute CASA materials. Legislative visits take place anytime during the session and may be concentrated around or after February 10th.
As of December 31st, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children grant-funded branding campaign wrapped up for the Atlanta and Macon markets. Below are a few key facts from the 11-week campaign. We look forward to increased awareness of the CASA program throughout the state and welcoming new CASA volunteers and supporters to the CASA family!

  • Website total page views more than doubled each day compared to before campaign
  • 1,054 volunteer inquires received (weekly increase of 20% compared to before campaign)
  • Top 3 ways inquires listed for hearing about CASA:
  1. Social media
  2. Website
  3. Personal referral
  • Average of 92% of inquiries from greater Atlanta metro area/North Georgia and 8% of inquiries outside greater Atlanta metro area
Check out this powerful video that gives an inside look into the work of CASA volunteer Cindy Evers with Coastal Plain CASA in Tifton. Your support of Georgia CASA ultimately impacts children served by CASA volunteers like Cindy.
Georgia CASA Executive Director Jen King was recently a guest on a podcast, Community Possibilities, hosted by Ann Price of Community Evaluation Solutions. They discussed the support CASA volunteers provide to children and how the CASA organization is a healing partner for families. Discussion also centered around what communities can do to support families in care and the policy work Georgia CASA is doing alongside other child welfare partners. Listen to the podcast here.
Congratulations to Vickie Duggan and Amy Potter, CASA volunteers in Georgia, who were recently appointed to serve on the National Volunteer Council of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children for a two-year term. The National Volunteer Council is a working council, of approximately 15 members, whose purpose is to advise and partner with National CASA/GAL to address strategic issues impacting volunteer advocacy.
Thank you to our donors who supported the work of Georgia CASA for Fall 2021, including our year-end donors. Because of your investment, more children were provided with a CASA volunteer to advocate for their best interests. We truly appreciate your investment in children!

If you are not yet part of our donor group, you can give online here! Please consider becoming a Georgia CASA donor or give your next gift as a repeat donor. You can make a difference with a gift of any amount - and a recurring gift is an easy and convenient way to give! Your support has been critical and much appreciated as CASA volunteers continue to serve children and 'keep their eyes on them' during the challenging times of COVID-19. CASA volunteers are a critical component of the child welfare system.
February 10: CASA Day at the Capitol (hybrid event/in-person in Atlanta)
March 1: Patron Party (Atlanta)
April 30 - May 1: National CASA/GAL's Walk. Run. Thrive. (local communities)
August 13: Save the Date: Georgia CASA Annual Conference (Atlanta)
October 12 - 14: Save the Date: Georgia Conference on Children & Families (Augusta)
November 30 - December 2: Save the Date: The Summit, Georgia's Child Welfare Conference (Alpharetta)

Video About Becoming a CASA Volunteer in Georgia

Interested in joining us to support CASA in Georgia?

Check out these easy ways to support Georgia CASA. Our Kroger Community Rewards number is IY574 or search by our full name - Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Georgia CASA | 404-874-2888 | 800-251-4012 |

In partnership with local affiliates, our goal is that every child who must enter state custody will benefit from the best interest advocacy of a trusted, consistent CASA volunteer. We remain dedicated to supporting the CASA network in the provision of CASA volunteers for every child who comes to the attention of the juvenile court due to abuse or neglect.