WOMEN YOU SHOULD KNOW IN WYOMING: Casper Probation Agent Honored for Helping At-Risk Teens

Amanda Waldron takes a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to advocacy work

By Jennifer Kocher

Special to the Wyoming Truth

As soon as a missing teen alert pings Amanda Waldron’s phone, she’s out the door. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning or 10 p.m. on a weeknight. Waldron hits the streets, sometimes prowling dark alleys and under bridges in Casper to find and bring the teen home. In the past, she’s rescued a teenage boy from a known drug house and once pulled a 36-hour, around-the-clock surveillance to rescue a teenage girl who she suspected was being sex trafficked in Casper.

“The boots hit the ground, and I go out and get them,” Waldron said. “You do what you have to do to bring a child home safe.”

Amanda Waldron, a tireless advocate for at-risk youth, was recently honored for her work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children volunteer in Casper.  (Courtesy photo from Amanda Waldron)

When she’s not saving teens and missing adults as a private investigator and president of the national nonprofit We Help the Missing, Waldron is sitting with at-risk children in court and helping them navigate thorny legal and life challenges. To date, Waldron estimates she’s rescued a few hundred local runaway teens as a private investigator, and she is currently working on two active missing adult cases. Additionally, she has helped three children and teens through her role as court advocate, where she is assigned one case at a time.  

For this work, Waldon, 36, was named the Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) Volunteer of the Month in April. She was publicly recognized for taking a teenage girl “with life troubles” under her wing. Waldron has mentored the girl, who cycled through a number of foster home placements, since she was in middle school and continues to help guide her through the court system as she prepares to graduate from high school.

“We are so happy to have Amanda as an advocate and community partner,” Vickie McMurry, the organization’s executive director, said in announcing the award. “She makes Casper a better place.”

Waldron accepts this honor humbly. She doesn’t consider her efforts to be extraordinary. Rather, she feels an innate desire to give back to her community, which has been the guiding principle of her career.

“I have always been driven to help others,” said Waldron, who has volunteered on average for two to five hours per week as a court advocate since 2019. “One of my favorite phrases is: ‘I don’t care if you have sat with the best, I care if you have walked with the broken.’ For some reason, this phrase just hits home with me.”

Waldron has a big heart for at-risk youth, a population that she believes are largely misunderstood.

“I think part of that goes to understanding the underlying cause of their behavior such as trauma, abuse, neglect, abandonment. Different things that contribute to that,” she said. “I think just the hands-on approach with them comes with a lot of patience, understanding and compassion.”

To this end, Waldron frequently treats her court-appointed clients and other troubled teens – both boys and girls – to lunch and other activities that most of their peers would take for granted. This might mean getting a manicure, seeing a movie or meeting for coffee.

“It’s important to do what we consider normal everyday things, because even though those are small, normal things to us, those aren’t things that kids in foster care or in the system get to do,” Waldron said. “This provides them a sense of normalcy. And having that female figure to be able to bond with for somebody who has attachment issues or trouble building positive relationships, helps them feel safe and comfortable.”

Paramount to this role, Waldron attends court proceedings with her young clients to advocate on their behalf and be a positive force in their lives. “Navigating the legal system for adults can be scary, let alone a child,” she said.

Previously, Waldron spent two years as a full-time case manager at Court Appointed Special Advocate and another 10 years working in various positions within the Natrona County School District.

Today, Waldron works full time as an adult parole and probation agent for the Wyoming of Department of Corrections Field Service in Casper. She’s not at liberty to discuss the job publicly, only to say she employs the same principles to help adults as she does teens: empathy, compassion and fairness.

Helping the ‘underdogs’

From a young age, Waldron knew she wanted a career in law enforcement, but not as a police officer. Her quest for justice is in her blood: both grandfathers wore uniforms—one, now retired, was a U.S. Marshal in Tallahassee, and the other, now deceased, was a police detective in Orlando.

Waldron spent her early childhood in central Florida before moving to Casper with her family when she was 10. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2018 and a paralegal certificate to provide additional knowledge for her career. Waldron is now pursuing a master’s degree in criminology.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in the legal system, but accepting a job in the school district and working with at-risk students carved out a new path for her.

“It wasn’t something I planned to do forever, but it really became a passion of mine to work with ‘the underdogs,’” Waldron said.

In addition to her full-time job and volunteer work as a court advocate, Waldron serves on the board of directors and helps administer the Facebook page for the Casper-based nonprofit Missing People of Wyoming.  

It’s not easy to work in the world of corrections; it’s a pursuit that requires strength and compassion.

“Working with people from all walks of life can be tough, because, in many cases, they are at the lowest point in their lives,” Waldron said. “They are struggling with various barriers that life throws at them, whether it be addiction, homelessness, domestic violence or other issues. It can be challenging and trying at times to help identify and address their needs to help them.”

But, ultimately, “it can be very gratifying to see people who were once struggling be able to turn their lives around,” she added. 

Though Waldron loves her current job, she hopes to one day open an animal sanctuary that incorporates mentoring youth with animal and equine therapy.

Said Waldron of her future dream sanctuary: “It’s just good for the soul.”

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