The Mission of Great Plains CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Kids, Inc., is to train and supervise community volunteers to be a leading voice in advocating for safe, permanent, nurturing homes for children in need of our services.
A CASA for every child.
Great Plains CASA for Kids is part of a national volunteer movement that began in 1977 when Judge David Soukup in Seattle decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. His solution was to ask community volunteers to act as a “voice in court” for abused and neglected children. These Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASAs) provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children’s best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The program was so successful that it was copied around the nation.
The first CASA program established in Texas was Dallas CASA in 1980. Today, the CASA movement has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country.
Great Plains CASA for Kids is a non-profit organization that provides trained community volunteers to represent the child’s best interest in the court. Great Plains CASA for Kids serves abused and neglected children in Deaf Smith, Bailey, Castro, Oldham and Parmer Counties. Our program was 60th program in Texas and was formed in June, 2003. We were appointed to our first case in November, 2003 in Bailey county.
Great Plains CASA is a member of the National and Texas CASA Associations. Great Plains CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.
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 Great Plains
- CASA 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.
- 80% of people in Texas prisons today were in foster care yesterday.
- 90% 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.
- Great Plains CASA supported over 40 volunteers in 2019 who advocated for 126 children