In 1992, an Allegheny County child was murdered at the hands of her foster father who had a violent history unbeknownst to the court. The Judge later said that had he known about the man’s past, no child would have been placed in that foster home. The Court’s desire to have an extra set of eyes and ears to help make informed decisions led to the establishment of CASA in Allegheny County.
Shortly after CASA of Allegheny County was formed, Camille Toth became a volunteer in 1995. Camille was a long-time volunteer for CASA, becoming a volunteer after she retired as a teacher and school psychologist in secondary education. It was her experience in schools and her longevity as a CASA that made her so effective in giving voice to the children’s needs and ensuring that they received the proper services.
Camille became the CASA to a brother and sister who had experienced unimaginable trauma, the death of their sibling due to child abuse. Through 12 different schools, 8 caseworkers and 4 judges, Camille was the one constant in the lives of the kids, serving as their advocate and confidant for 14 years, when their cases closed as they each turned 18 years of age. The children had significant trauma resulting in multiple hospitalizations, and Camille gave voice to their needs when no one else would or could. “Camille became their memory. She helped fill in the gaps for them, and she was the keeper of their story, holding it safely and sharing it with them as they became adults” said, CASA Executive Director, Melissa Protzek. “Camille always said it was a privilege and a gift to be in their lives.” For years after the court case closed, one of the children continued to contact Camille for friendship and guidance.
For her commitment to CASA as a CASA advocate, Camille was the inaugural recipient of the CASA Veteran Award in 2009, honoring her long-standing commitment to two children who suffered unspeakable trauma. We honor the memory of Camille Toth, CASA volunteer and advocate for vulnerable children.