Happy Spring to all our Volunteers,
This is an exciting time for Child Advocates of Fort Bend. The big news is that we will be moving on April 12 into temporary offices for the next 10 months while our building is being remodeled and expanded. As many of you know, we have experienced exceptional growth in the number of children we serve and are forecasted to continue this growth. Last year alone, we grew 23% which followed a 20% growth the previous year. Over the past year, we have developed plans for a complete remodeling of our current offices and adding a new wing to house a new training and conference area, more interview and therapy rooms, and family meeting rooms. We will keep you posted on our progress and celebrate with you when we move back into our new digs!
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Special thanks to Emerson and Peter Chin, who leads up their Pressure Relief Valve business in Stafford and stopped by recently with a donation! We’re looking forward to partnering with Chin and the team from Emerson in 2019.
SAVE THE DATE!
APRIL 26, 2019
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Gus George Law Enforcement Academy of Fort Bend County, 1521 Eugene Heimann Circle Richmond, TX 77469
Please make plans to join us for our annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Conference discussing Understanding the Impact of Trauma in families and how to address it in the Legal System.
You don’t want to miss this informative training!
We have some exciting speakers joining us to discuss Adverse Childhood Experiences, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®), Trauma Informed Care in the Courtroom and Ethical Considerations in a Trauma Informed Court.
Dr. Christopher Greeley (Texas Children’s Hospital)
– Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Understanding and Responding
to Childhood Adversity in our Community”.
Carole Clarke (Retired Judge-Smith County)
-Trauma Informed Care in the Courtroom
Jennifer Gregory (TBRI® Educator)
– What is Trauma Informed Care? Trauma Assessments and its Importance
James Carter (Attorney at Law)
– Ethical Considerations in a Trauma Informed Court
7.0 hrs of CEUs will be provided for social work professionals.
7.0 CLE approval will be provided (4 hours of ethics)
Volunteer Q and A Lunch
Eighteen Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteers met recently for lunch and a question and answer session with Program Director Fiona Remko, Therapist Jessica Hernandez, and Program Assistant Melissa Johnson. Topics were discussed and suggestions made to improve the CAC experience for volunteers, clients, and their families. Topics discussed included: sanitizing toys; toy drives; continuing education ideas; therapy dogs; how to encourage healthy boundaries in the playroom; a CAC Volunteer directory with names, pictures, and shifts; best practices to help children with behavior issues; and upcoming events. These meetings will be held quarterly as a way for CAC Volunteers to share their experiences, get to know each other better, and get answers to questions about all things at the CAC.
Continuing Education for Volunteers
Just a reminder to all CASA Volunteers – all volunteers are required to have 12 hours of Continuing Education annually following their 1-year anniversary. There are variety of ways to obtain Continuing Education hours. Did you recently read a book or view a documentary or webinar? If it deals with children, abuse, family dynamics or anything related to your work as a volunteer, it counts! You can enter your training hours in Optima under the “Training” tab online. Please contact Casey Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. We’re here to help!
Online Training Opportunities
We have a couple of new online training opportunities that will enhance your knowledge and help you as you are working your cases and help you meet your continuing education requirements.
1. Cultural Considerations: NCWWI Webinars & Resources to Promote Racial Equity
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) works to increase the equity and effectiveness of child welfare practice through diverse partnerships that focus on workforce systems development, organizational interventions and change leadership. NCWWI’s recent newsletter contains a host of resources and online learning opportunities related to racial equity:
- A 6-part webinar series co-hosted with the Center for the Study of Social Policy that featured workforce and organizational development stories and strategies to achieve racial equity, and
- a racial equity resource collection to support child welfare staff and leaders as they confront implicit bias, implement system changes, and work to achieve racial equity within their organizations and across systems.
Texas CASA is committed to our goal of ensuring the highest quality advocacy possible for all children in the child protection system, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or disability status – that’s why we are highlighting resources to support the CASA network’s journey to becoming more inclusive, welcoming, affirming and culturally considerate. Explore more Cultural Considerations articles.
- Collaborative Family Engagement Online Webinar
Welcome to the Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) course. Throughout this e-learning, you will receive an overview of the CFE process, concepts and tools; and foundational information. The course is intended for users from CASA, CPS and other stakeholders participating in Collaborative Family Engagement in their CASA cases.
Education Committee Q & A
Wondering what to do if your youth needs summer services? There are different services offered by different school districts. Reach out to your youth’s counselor for more information. If you need more help navigating, please feel free to reach out to the Education Committee.
Legislative Advocacy Team
The deadline for filing bills in Austin was May 8, 2019. The legislative session is at the midway point. Texas CASA and LAT Champions are hard at work.
Great news! CAFB had detailed five priorities for Fort Bend County including keeping children in foster care closer to home. The online placement portal, which will keep youth in foster care closer to home, is scheduled to be live this fiscal year. Andy Homer of Texas CASA wrote, “DFPS included $3.8 million as a capital item in (the) base budget in the LAR”. This will be a valuable asset for CPS and CASA looking for placement availability.
The Fort Bend Delegation is very important in Austin. Rep. John Zerwas chairs the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Rick Miller is on Appropriations, Human Services and Resolutions Calendars. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst chairs the Health & Human Services Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee. Sen. Joan Huffman is on the Administration, Criminal Justice and Finance Committees. Sen. Boris Miles is on the Health and Human Services and Criminal Justice Committees. What does this mean to us? Fort Bend County residents can make a difference to move legislation and show support for CAFB bills.
Elizabeth Hendrie and Rhonda Kuykendall visited the Capitol March 19, 2019 in support of House Bill 53 authored by Rep. Minjarez. House Bill 53 expands the Preparation for Adult Living curriculum to include automobile and property insurance, how to register to vote, understanding taxation along with several other items. The LAT met with the offices of Kolkhorst, Huffman, and Zerwas share Texas CASA Champion bills. CAFB LAT will be following up with these offices to express our desire to pass Texas CASA Champion Bills and aid legislators however needed.
CAFB’s LAT is building a network of community activists called LAT Champions of Fort Bend. LAT Champions receive emails throughout the session detailing upcoming legislation, the background to why this legislation is needed, the legislators involved and instructions on how to email.
Would you be willing to write emails as bills progress? Become a LAT Champion. If you are interested in joining our team email Rhonda Kuykendall with the words “LAT CHAMPION” in the subject line.
The Facebook group “LAT Champions of Fort Bend” was created so all activity will be posted in one location.
Texas CASA Champion Bills
*companion bills are in parenthesis
HB123 (SB481) authored by Rep. White/Rep. Klick/Rep. Miller/Rep. Minjarez/Rep. Rose /Sen. Watson is a bill “relating to the issuance of personal identification documents for foster children, homeless children or youth and unaccompanied youth.”
Status: The bill was heard favorably in the Human Services Committee on 2/19/2019 and was left pending in committee.
HB811 (SB424) authored by Rep. White/Sen. Watson is a bill “relating to determining appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against a public school student who is in foster care or who is homeless.” Requires public schools to consider whether a child is experiencing homelessness or in foster care when taking disciplinary action.
Status: This bill is scheduled for a hearing in Public Education on 3/13/2019.
HB1486 authored by Rep. Klick is “relating to age-appropriate normalcy activities for children in the managing conservatorship of the state”. It requires the court to review the DFPS’s efforts to ensure the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate normalcy activities following a permanency hearing.
Status: Referred to Human Services 3/5/2019
HB1702 authored by Rep. Howard is a bill “relating to services provided for students at public institutions of higher education who were formerly in foster care”. The bill requires the Liaison Officer to provide these students with information about support services available to them on campus.
Status: Referred to Higher Education 3/4/2019
HB3379 (SB480) authored by Rep. Klick/Sen. Watson/Sen. Zaffirini is “relating to the preparation for adult living program and other services for foster children transitioning to independent living.” It ensures 14- and 15-year-old children in foster care have access to supports sooner to help their transition to independent living. Requires changes in policy that would help 17-year-olds understand the medications they are taking, ensure more youth have stable housing secured before exiting care, and more.
Status: Bill Filed 3/6/2019
SB1333 authored by Sen. West is “relating to duties of the Department of Family and Protective Services to provide training regarding trauma-informed programs and services.” This bill is based on recommendations made in the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care’s Blueprint.
Status: Referred to Health and Human Services 3/7/2019.
SB2110 authored by Sen. Watson is “relating to the process for determining the Medicaid eligibility of certain former foster care youth”. See HB4138 above for more details.
We look forward to working with TXCASA and you to make this a productive session for the children of Fort Bend County. If you have any questions, let us know.
Up Up And Away Gala
Save the Date for our 19th Annual Gala for the Children. This year’s event on May 4th at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square is themed Up, Up and Away. https://www.cafb.org/events/gala/basic-gala-facts/
Please join us for a lively and festive evening of bright colors, sky high dreams and lots of fun. Included in the evening is live music, delicious dinner, silent and live auction, wine and jewelry pulls and a raffle. Past Galas have entertained nearly 600 guests. This is one of those events you don’t want to miss!
For sponsorships, individual seats or auction donations contact Lisa at Lmoore@cafb.org.
Want to help? Could you bring a bottle of wine valued at $30+ for the FRIENDS Wine Pull at our Gala? This Wine Pull is a successful revenue generator at the Gala and the more wine we have = the more money the agency makes. Contact Lisa at Lmoore@cafb.org to schedule a delivery or pick-up. THANK YOU!
Texas Music Festival
Scotty’s Saloon at The Old Trading Post has teamed up with Budweiser to host the Texas Music Festival April 13th and 14th. Child Advocates of Fort Bend is one of the beneficiaries of proceeds from this two-day event. With over 15 live bands scheduled, food, beverages and activities, this is set to be a festival like no other. Listen to KILT and 93Q radio for promotions about this event.
Scotty’s Saloon – 9903 FM 2759 Rd – Richmond TX 77469
Event times: April 13th 10am -10pm AND April 14th 10am to 6pm
Light of Hope / Pinwheel Project
Join us on Saturday, April 13th from 11am until 3pm for The Pinwheel Project. Hosted by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, this annual event is held at Homestead Park at 1422 Eugene Heimann Circle in Richmond – directly across from the Justice Center. This free community event is fun for the whole family. There will be food, games, face painting, music, prize give-aways and more. Child Advocates of Fort Bend will be participating at this event to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention month. Visit us there to pick up your blue ribbons to tie around neighborhood trees, blue ribbon pins, bracelets and other goodies.
Mark your calendar!
And make plans to join us. . .
April 13, 2019 Light of Hope at the Pinwheel Project
11am – 3pm
1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, TX
April 13 + 14, 2019 Texas Music Festival Presented by Scotty’s Saloon
(stay tuned for details as they become available)
April 26, 2019 Understanding the Impact of Trauma
and How to Address it in the Legal System
9am – 5pm
The Gus George Law Enforcement Academy of Fort Bend
1521 Eugene Heimann Circle, Rosenberg, TX 77469
Registration is required.
To register go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/understanding-the-impact-of-trauma-and-how-to-address-it-in-the-legal-system-tickets-59007327505
May 4, 2019 Up, Up And Away Gala
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square