Kerry Moles, LMSW, Executive Director. Kerry joined CASA in November 2015 with 25 years’ experience working in the fields of child welfare, youth development and domestic violence. Prior to joining CASA, Kerry worked at the Children’s Aid Society for nearly 15 years. There she was the founding Director of the Family Wellness Program, which serves families impacted by domestic violence, with a focus on families involved in the child welfare system. Her most recent role at Children’s Aid was as Deputy Director of the Division of Child Welfare and Family Services, where she oversaw a range of programs serving justice system involved youth, youth aging out of foster care, and families impacted by domestic violence. Prior to joining Children’s Aid, Kerry did direct service work in residential facilities for children and youth, and worked extensively in the areas of rape crisis and domestic violence/teen dating violence prevention and intervention. Kerry is the author of The Teen Relationship Workbook (2001), The Relationship Workbook (2003) and Strategies for Anger Management (2003) and trains nationally on the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare systems. She has served as adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work since 2011.
Alexis Arnett, LMSW, Advocate Supervisor. Alexis received her M.S.W. from Fordham University and her B.S.W. from University of Utah. As an undergraduate student, Alexis was a CASA volunteer for CASA-Utah for over three years and interned at the Ministry of Social Development in Amman, Jordan working in child welfare. As a graduate student, Alexis interned at The Training Institute for Mental Health providing individual psychotherapy to adults. Prior to joining CASA-NYC, Alexis worked in special medical and therapeutic foster care at New Alternatives for Children, as a Homefinder in the Homefinding Department.
Annie Benedict, LMSW, Manhattan/Staten Island Borough Coordinator. Annie received her M.S.W. from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, with a specialization in Child Welfare, in May 2014 and a B.A. in Psychology and Child Development from Tufts University in May 2008. As a graduate student, Annie interned at Brooklyn Community Services providing family counseling and preventive services. She has conducted ongoing research with families in the NYC child welfare system, in collaboration with the Research Foundation of CUNY and the Silberman School of Social Work.
Elizabeth Beshears, B.A., M.S.W. Candidate, Administrative Assistant. Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Kansas – Lawrence in 2009. Prior to joining CASA-NYC in the Spring of 2016, Elizabeth worked at a fashion merchandising company where she was the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Elizabeth’s interest in CASA stems from her mother’s involvement with CASA in Kansas City, MO and her passion for advocating for children. Elizabeth is currently pursuing an M.S.W. from the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University.
Christine Caruana, B.A., M.S.W. Candidate, Development Assistant. Christine received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Rochester in 2010. Prior to joining CASA-NYC in the Spring of 2016, Christine worked for the New York City Anti-Violence Project where she provided fundraising and database management support. Christine’s interest in CASA stems from her experience with art and social justice non-profit organizations and her passion for advocating for individuals, children, and families who’ve experienced domestic violence. Christine is currently pursuing an M.S.W. from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University.
Alison Caspi, LMSW, Brooklyn Borough Coordinator. Alison received her M.S.W. from New York University in May 2007, and a B.A. in Psychology from University of Massachusetts-Amherst in May 2005. Prior to joining CASA-NYC, Alison was a Social Worker at The Children’s Law Center in the Bronx, as well as a Youth Residence Social Worker at Family Services of Westchester in upstate New York. She also became certified in Seminar In Field Instruction (SIFI) in January of 2015.
Erin Dow, J.D., Staff Advocate, received her B.A. from Smith College, followed by a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2006. Prior to joining CASA in November of 2016, she worked as an Attorney for the Child at the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Division, followed by a position at the City Bar Justice Center's Legal Hotline where she provided advice and brief services in housing, family and consumer law matters. Erin is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been dedicated to serving marginalized clients throughout her career.
Meaghan Ford, LMSW, Advocate Supervisor. Meaghan earned her M.S.W. from Columbia University in May 2016 and her B.S. in Social Work from Skidmore College in May 2015. As an MSW student, Meaghan interned as a Youth Justice Social Worker at Bronx Community Solutions. Her undergraduate internships included substance abuse treatment and providing programming for children in homeless shelters.
Lizaura German, B.A., MPA Candidate, Volunteer Coordinator. Lizaura joined CASA-NYC in January 2017 with over 10 years of experience coordinating and managing volunteer programs in the New York City and New Jersey area. Lizaura is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Administration with a Concentration in Nonprofit Management at Baruch College. At a young age, Lizaura was exposed to the strength of communities coming together to help their neighbors. This seed of volunteerism shaped her professional career path, and as a new mom, Lizaura hopes to help others come together to serve one of our most vulnerable populations: Children in foster care.
Michaele McIlnay, LCSW, Program Director. Michaele received her M.S.W. from Columbia University in May 2004, and B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Michaele joined CASA as an Advocate Supervisor in June 2011 and was promoted to Borough Coordinator in 2012. In May 2016 she was promoted to Program Director. Prior to joining CASA, Michaele’s professional work focused on substance abuse and recovery. As a graduate student she interned at the Manhattan Family Treatment Court and James Lenox House in New York City.
Natasha Pasternack, LMSW, Bronx Borough Coordinator. Natasha earned her M.S.W. from Hunter College in May of 2014 and has been working in the child welfare field since 2007. Prior to joining CASA, Natasha worked in therapeutic foster care at Children’s Aid Society and in public interest law at DC37 Municipal Employees Legal Services. While earning her Master’s degree, she interned at Brooklyn Community Services in the preventive services program. Natasha attended SUNY Buffalo where she received a degree in Art History, African American Studies and Comparative Literature.
Samantha Sauro, LMSW, Advocate Supervisor. Samantha received her M.S.W. from Hunter College in May 2016 and her B.A. in Social Work and Criminal Justice in May 2013. She interned at Bellevue Hospital Center, the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment, and the CUNY Language Immersion Program at LaGuardia Community College. Also during her final semester at Hunter, Samantha participated in the CASA Core Training for volunteer Advocates. Samantha has previous social service experience working in group home, criminal justice and hospital settings.
Elizabeth S. Van Horn
Elizabeth S. Van Horn, LMSW, Queens Borough Coordinator. Elizabeth joined the full-time CASA staff after graduating from Columbia University School of Social Work in May of 2013. She interned at CASA for the 2012 – 2013 academic year. Prior to CASA, Elizabeth interned in a Head Start program and worked with college students as a resident assistant. She also holds a B.A. in Sociology & Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University.