CASA believes that every child who's been abused or neglected deserves to have a dedicated advocate speaking up for their best interest in court, at school and in our community. As the state steps in to protect the welfare of the child, the judge appoints a CASA volunteer to make independent, unbiased, and informed recommendations to help the judge decide the best interest of the child.
Who are our Advocates?
CASA empowers everyday citizens as appointed members of the court. Volunteers are teachers, business people, retirees, stay-at-home moms, grandparents, college students; extraordinary people who want to make certain the voices of abused children are heard. Being a CASA does not require a specialized degree or legal experience.
They are investigators. Depending on the case, a volunteer may be asked to investigate the lifestyle and history of child whose parents or guardians seek to maintain parental rights. They will talk to the child, their siblings, teachers, friends, neighbors, close relatives, the police and other related individuals who could shed light on a child’s home life and behavior. They will meet with CPS caseworkers and share information to aid in the development of a plan for family reunification.
They act as monitors. A CASA volunteer will monitor the progress of the court case, and how well a child is doing in their temporary placement, whether it be a foster home, group home residential treatment center, or relative placement. A CASA is notified and present for all hearings and CPS case reviews
They advocate for the child. CASA volunteers can sometimes seek out or recommend suitable placement. CASA volunteers have actually found relatives willing to take children when there seemed to be no hope left. Volunteers work to help serve the immediate needs of their children. They can help children receive tutoring when they feel they have fallen behind in their schooling. They also make sure the child attends scheduled counseling and/or medical appointments. If a child is available for adoption, a CASA volunteer will try to learn all about the prospective adoptive families to ensure safe, permanent placement.
The need in the Amarillo Area.
- CASA/GAL Advocates help break the cycle of child abuse
- National statistics report a child is abused or neglected every 35 seconds and as a result, a child dies every 6 hours
- The Texas Panhandle has one of the highest rates of confirmed cases of child abuse in the state of Texas.
- 66% of people in Texas prisons today were in foster care yesterday.
- 75% of foster children without a CASA volunteer come back into the system
- A child without a CASA volunteer spends 2+ years in foster care while a child with a CASA volunteer spends 1 year in foster care.
- Amarillo Area CASA supported 190 volunteers in 2014 who advocated for 446 children
- Only 1 and 3 kids in the foster care system have a CASA advocate in the Amarillo Area.