CAFB April News - Child Advocates of Fort Bend
CAFB April News


Spring is arriving and we are in full swing! We shared a beautiful evening in February honoring our volunteers at our Volunteer Banquet. Congratulations to Child Advocate of the Year Cynthia Barratt and all our award winners and recipients! We just graduated a new class of CASA Volunteers, enjoyed a fabulous Mission and Martini Night hosted by Friends Council (see photos and organized a wonderful Spring Break outing and learning day for our N.E.S.T. children as they spent the morning volunteering at Interfaith Ministries and the afternoon building engines and motors in a STEM* project.  * (Science Technology Engineering Math).    We appreciate all our volunteers do for Child Advocates of Fort Bend and making the difference in the lives of children every day.  You are our heroes!

For the Children’s Sake,

Ruthanne Mefford
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend

Child Advocates of Fort Bend Offers Free Estate Planning Guide

For example, to plan to win, a competitor must be an excellent swimmer, bicyclist and runner. The athlete must master not only these events but also the transitions between these disciplines.

In life, we all have a finish line,
we just never know when we will cross it.

The cost for having an estate plan is minimal compared to the investment a triathlete makes. But like the triathlete, the first step in estate planning is always the most difficult:

To help you begin, and even give you a head start, Child Advocates of Fort Bend has a free tool that makes getting started easy. Once you have requested our free Estate Planning Guide, and begin to use it, you have already completed step two: preparation. You are 2/3 of the way to victory! The final step is easiest: completion. It comes when your attorney combines your preparation into a solid, thoughtful legacy plan that follows and preserves your wishes. What could be easier or more rewarding than that?

A triathlete in training will tell you the battle is not with the body but with the mind. Mental preparation, more than physical exercise, is the key to victory. In the same way, estate planning is never about the things you have, although they all are mentioned. Estate planning is always about the values and people important to you.

Fortunately, as you plan your estate, you can choose the parts and tools you want. You can use any and are not required to use any particular one. As you think about your plan, here are some of the more common tools for you to think about:

Bequest: the most common and powerful tool. You can use your will to list the people and causes important to you and direct almost any assets you have to them.

Beneficiary Designation: like the transitions in a triathlon, this one is often overlooked but can play a pivotal role. Consider naming family, friends and causes as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k) or investment account. The transition happens almost automatically, is not part of your will and is often done by completing a simple form.

Testamentary Crutt: a testamentary charitable remainder unitrust, or CRUT, is a trust created in your will that does special things. The trust pays each year, at a rate you choose, to the people you choose for as long as you choose. After the trust ends, all remaining funds go to the charity you support, which provides your estate with significant tax savings.

Call or email for your free Estate Planning guide. It will help you prepare your plans. We can’t run the race for you, but we have helped others train and complete their plans, and we can make it easy and rewarding for you. You can finish your life’s triathlon with grace, poise and satisfaction, and we are here to help.

Contact: Jessica Jubin, Development Officer or 281-344-5136 

Take a quiz.
Test your estate planning know-how: 


Thank You Katy Rotary

Thank you to the members of Katy Rotary for your generous donation to purchase items from our therapy wish list so that we may restock worn and broken toys and provide additional therapeutic resources for the children.  We provided more than 3,026 free therapy sessions for children and families to help them heal from abuse in 2017.

Did you know?
You can order a special license plate to show your support

We participate in the TX CASA Specialty License Plate Program. Supporters can order a custom license plate with the phrase “Big Voices for Little Texans”.  Local CASA programs are awarded an amount each year according to the number of CASA license plates registered in their service area.

For ordering information or to order your plate visit your local tax assessor’s office and ask for the Court Appointed Special Advocate license plate or click the button below.

order your CASA license plate


CAFB is Growing and Changing!
Welcoming New Team Members

Joining us this month are Lauren Salas and Dana Mersiovsky. Lauren is an Intake Specialist/Therapist in the Children’s Advocacy Center and Dana is taking Irene Wisner’s place as Development Officer, leading our Voices for Children Team. Irene has moved to Administrative and Outreach Coordinator.

Lauren Salas is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern and has Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Sam Houston State University. She has a Bachelors in Psychology from Texas A&M University.

Lauren joins the CAC from Abundant Life Therapeutic Services of Texas, where she worked as a school-based clinician.

Dana Mersiovsky has a wealth of experience in donor relations, marketing, business development and events and a history of involvement with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, having been on the Gala committee for several years.

Dana joins us from CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare in Houston, where she served as the Director of Donor/Community Relations and Special Events.

Both Lauren and Dana are passionate about putting an end to child abuse.

“I was drawn to the agency because of its motto of providing a voice and healing the hurt,” stated Salas. “I’m excited to be a part of this team.”


From Texas CASA: 
Important Changes in 2018 to Fingerprint Based Check Requirements

The anticipated National Rap Back fingerprint feature, allowing CASA programs to be notified of any new criminal activity of individuals they are subscribed to through their FACT Clearinghouse account, will be implemented this year – with this good news, however, there is an unfortunate downside in that individuals fingerprinted before June 1, 2015, will not be automatically uploaded into the Rap Back system.

This means that any Volunteers, Staff or Board Members fingerprinted before June 1, 2015, will need to be re-fingerprinted in order to be entered into the Rap Back system and to remain in compliance with Texas CASA standards and the state.

Our staff will be contacting you if you were fingerprinted before June 1, 2015.  We will cover the cost of the fingerprint checks and set up the appointment for you.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


New Email Signature for CASA Volunteers
Get the new email signature and start using it today. . .

We would like to maintain consistency in our communications and ask that all Volunteers who currently use an email signature for CASA business that includes their Volunteer title contact Casey at to get a copy of the official email signature. If you are not currently using an email signature but you would like to, please contact Casey and get a copy of it.



Continuing Education Opportunities

Did you miss the 60 Minutes episode featuring Dr. Bruce Perry discussing Treating Childhood Trauma with Oprah Winfrey? You can get continuing education credits for watching it.

Click here to see it now!



OPTIMA Database and CASA Volunteers…The Scoop

Optima is web-based and allows Volunteers to track their contacts, coordinate family/legal party information and document important information for court reporting.

All active CASA Volunteers should have access to Optima.  If you have not logged in, please use the following information to begin:


Your Optima Web address is:

Username:  firstname.lastname

Initial Password: 123456 (Once you login for the first time, you will be able to change the password)

We have training opportunities throughout the year and also have an electronic guide that you can use to use Optima.  If you are interested in learning more or need to request a copy of the Optima User Guide, please contact Casey at or 281-344-5172.

Meet Tracey Cabucio!
CASA Volunteer Tracey Cabucio joined us in 2017.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month!

Join us on Saturday, April 14th from 11am to 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. In fact, Child Advocates of Fort Bend, The Exchange Club of Sugar Land, the Child Welfare Board and FRIENDS will all 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.



On May 5th at 6pm we are hosting the 18th annual Gala at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. This year’s theme is Off to the Races which is Derby inspired. We have sponsorship opportunities and individual tickets are on sale now. Click here to buy tickets or become a sponsor

If you’d like to donate an auction item of help as a volunteer for this exciting evening please let us know. We are expecting a large crowd and hope you are planning to join us for the silent and live auctions, raffle, wine and jewelry pulls and entertainment. It’s an evening you won’t want to miss and the proceeds benefit our programs and services.  For more information or to get involved, please contact Lisa Moore at or 281-344-5108.


Mark your calendar!

April 5: Infant & Toddler Team Presentation
noon until 1:30pm
328th District Court (Judge Ronald Pope)
1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, TX 77469
All CASA Volunteers who work with 0-5 year old children are encouraged to attend, regardless of whether or not they have an active case. Light lunch will be provided. RSVP if attending to


April 14:  Light of Hope at The Pinwheel Project
11am Light of Hope
11:30am–3pm The Pinwheel Project
Homestead Park (directly across from the Fort Bend Justice Center)
1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, TX 77469

Child Advocates of Fort Bend, The Exchange Club of Sugar Land and FRIENDS will be participating in this fun, family event hosted by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. This free community event is fun for the whole family. There will be food, games, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, a train, a petting zoo, music, prize giveaways and more. Visit us there to pick up your blue ribbons to tie around neighborhood trees, blue ribbon pins, bracelets and other goodies.


May 5, 2018:  Off to the Races Gala
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square

For more information go to Get gala details or contact Lisa Moore at

Become a Gala sponsor




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