In 1976, more than one half million children in the US were in foster care, often unable to be reunited with their families or adopted by new ones. Foster care, designed to be a temporary shelter, became a long-term placement. Many children were in foster care for years. Their lives and futures put on hold, often times with no closure or hope of permanent placement.
Contributing to the situation was the fact that judges were not always provided sufficient information to determine the best long-term placement for a child. That was until a Seattle Washington Judge, David W. Soukup, initiated a volunteer program to aid judges in their decision- making process.
The CASA program, Court Appointed Special Advocates, was born out of an idea that abused and neglected children need trained advocates to stand up for them in court and act in their best interest. They also need and deserve quick, safe and permanent placement. The court appointed special advocate has become the eyes and ears of the court, bringing information that may not otherwise reached the court.
In 1994, in an awareness of the needs of neglected and abused children in Potter and Randall County, Child Protective Services and judicial officials were motivated to request the creation and development of a local chapter of this innovative national program know as CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates). Amarillo Area CASA, Inc. was founded in September of 1994. In 1996, responding to a community need, Amarillo Area CASA expanded services into Hutchinson and Armstrong Counties.
CASA is proud to represent Potter, Randall, and Hutchison counties as Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA advocates are known in Briscoe, Armstrong, and Swisher County as GAL (Guardian Ad Litems).