We are excited for the upcoming months with so many activities underway. Our Fall Volunteer Training kicked off on September 17 which combines online and classroom training. The class filled up quickly and we have a waitlist for the next training in the Winter. We hosted our 9th annual Voices For Children Breakfast on September 27 with a packed ballroom at the Sugar Land Marriott and two very inspirational talks by a young girl who had been abused as a child and Dr. Charles Dupre, Superintendent of FBISD, who shared his story of being raised in the foster care system. October 4 will be our Friends of Child Advocates Fall Coffee at the beautiful home of Cathy Stubbs which is always a fun event that supports special needs for the children we serve. Later in the month, the annual Texas CASA Conference is October 18 – 20 in Dentin with the theme “Tune in to CASA” for CASA Volunteers, staff and board to receive the latest trainings in advocacy and trauma-informed care. We are gearing up for our legislative advocacy work with our elected officials and will be hosting a training on October 23 from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm for anyone interested in helping with public policy as part of our Legislative Advocacy Team. And last, but certainly not least, our 27th Christmas Home Tour is just around the corner on December 7-8. Gorgeous homes from across the county will be featured and you do not want to miss this. Mark your calendars! As always, thank you to all our volunteers, donors, board and council members, partners and staff for everything you do for the children every day. Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a special place, because of you.
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
We live here, we give here is the motto of the Indo American Charity Foundation (IACF) which has awarded Child Advocates of Fort Bend with a $2,000 program grant. Funds were gratefully accepted at the award reception held in August. IACF has supported CAFB programs for over 16 years with more than $60,000. Thanks to IACF’s volunteer board members and many supporters who made this year’s gift possible. Shown (L to R) are: Ruthanne Mefford – CAFB CEO, Dr. Rathna Kumar – IACF Board Member, Jessica Jubin – CAFB Development Officer.
Many thanks to our friends at Fluor who chose to spend their company’s “Off Friday” with CAFB. The day before, CAFB was invited to the Sugar Land campus for Fluor’s annual Charity Fair. The next day, ten volunteers visited CAFB to take part in the Voices for Children mission tour to learn more about the agency. They donated funds for the supplies which they used to create Care Bags for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Special thanks to Vicki Luna and her team of incredible young professional women who spent the morning with us in making a difference for the children we serve who are recovering from abuse and neglect.
Texas CASA Standard of the Month!
TX CASA has developed program standards for all 71 programs in the state. All local programs are required to follow these standards to ensure we are providing the best advocacy work. In recent years, we have provided these standards to our new training classes. We want to highlight a standard each month to share with you. This month we are sharing a very important standard about reporting abuse and neglect. It is our responsibility to ensure our kids are safe while they are in state custody. If you suspect abuse or neglect, please staff with your Volunteer Supervisor so we can take the proper steps together and report to the proper authorities. See standard below.
6. The CASA/GAL program’s volunteer policies and procedures include but are not limited to the following:
a. The CASA volunteer reports any incident of child abuse or neglect, or any situation in which the CASA volunteer has reason to believe that a child is in imminent danger to the appropriate authorities and the CASA supervisor, as mandated in the Texas Family Code.
CAFB Welcomes New Staff Members
The Children’s Advocacy Center is excited to announce the addition of Giselle Andujar and Christina Henriquez to the CAFB Family.
Giselle, who will serve as a Bilingual Children’s Services Coordinator, graduated in May 2018 with a Masters of Social Work with a clinical concentration. She also has a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and in Literature. She is being cross-trained in forensic interviewing.
Not too long ago, Giselle worked as a first year master’s level intern at our Children’s Advocacy Center.
“Ever since I realized I wanted to help people and become a social worker, I’ve wanted a job where I would have a purpose and could help make a difference, if not in the world then at least in one person’s life,” she said. “After doing my first year internship here and seeing the work CAFB does and the impact it has on this population, I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to work here and I would be able to fulfill my aspiration of working with children and having a purpose.”
Christina, who will serve as a bilingual forensic interviewer, has a B.A. Psychology from the University of Houston. She is pursuing her Masters of Social Work there and expects to graduate in 2020. Prior to joining CAFB, Christina worked as an Advocacy Coordinator at Child Advocates Inc. in Harris County.
She also previously worked as a forensic interviewer and family advocate in NW Arkansas, where she found her passion in serving families and children who have endured traumatic experiences.
“I’ve always enjoyed learning about the cycle of sexual abuse and research that has been conducted in terms of prevention and educational programs for parents and children,” she said.
We are so happy to have their smiling faces join our staff!
In other staff changes, Bilingual Court Advocate Carolina Coronel is moving into the Bilingual Therapist position and Forensic Interviewer Lindsey Castellanos is moving into a full-time interviewer position. We are excited for them and think they will be wonderful in those roles!
This leaves us with open Bilingual Services Specialist and Forensic Interviewer positions.
Volunteer Michael Meador Helps Baby Girl Find a Forever Home!
Mike Meador, CASA and CAC Volunteer, ended his first CASA case last month. Mike had visited his CASA child at her foster home every month since she was only a few days old. Mike became a part of the family’s life and his CASA child was adopted to a loving forever home. Mike testified at the Adoption Hearing and cried many happy tears. Mike Meador is now known as “Pappa Mike” to this sweet girl and her family! Thank you to Mike for all of his hard work in helping get this sweet baby girl her “forever home”!
New School Year Means Educational Advocacy
With the start of the new school year beginning, it is important for CASA Volunteers to advocate for our CASA kids in school. Ways to advocate can include communicating with school administration, teachers, resource teachers and making yourself available for school meetings when your time permits. For more information on how to advocate in the schools, please feel free to reach out to your CASA Volunteer Supervisor for more information.
We also have CASA Sensory Bags available for children with diverse needs that Volunteers can use as a resource while working with kids with different diagnosis (such as sensory processing disorders, ADHD, Autism, etc.). For more information, please feel free to contact April at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Partner Orientation
In late August, the Children’s Advocacy Center held a Multidisciplinary Team Orientation. This orientation was designed so that each partner agency including CPS, Law Enforcement, the DA’s Office, and Medical Team could hear from each agency on how they work their portion of the case. Each agency had a presenter that was able to discuss specifics on what each particular partner needs during their part of the investigation.
The goal of the orientation is to create a clearer picture of how each agency works and continue team collaboration in effort to protect children. Thirty-six partner agency personnel attended. The CAC plans to hold more orientations for partners in the future.
CAC Director Fiona Remko Publishes Article
We are proud to share that the Children’s Advocacy Center Director Fiona Remko was recently published in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.
Fiona, along with a former PhD student Jacquelynn Duron, researched and wrote “Considerations for Pursuing Multiple Session Forensic Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Investigations,” Jacquelynn, PhD, LCSW, is now an Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Social Work.
Multiple session forensic interviews are in essence a single interview session spread out to two or more interview sessions about the same allegations. Such interviews are helpful for children who may withhold information to regulate the emotional impact of the abuse and who may need to slowly build trust to disclose what happened, the authors wrote.
Multi session interviews can give the multidisciplinary team a better chance to get the information they need and give children the time they may need to process their disclosure. It can be reassuring for children to know that their safety and well-being are priorities, the authors said.
They noted that the Fort Bend Children’s Advocacy Center has implemented an 8-step protocol and shared it in the article as a helpful guide in making the decision whether to conduct a multi session interview. Such protocols also ensure that the team is preserving the integrity of the case and protecting the best interests of the child.
We are so happy the CAC is able to share such valuable knowledge with others serving children.
Continuing Education for CASA Volunteers
CASA of Galveston County is offering a drug education training on Friday, October 5 from 9AM – 3PM at the Texas City Police Department. Participants will learn about the current drug trends, long-term effects, and how to advocate for children affected by drug use. This training will feature presentations from local experts in the field: Corporal Allen Bjerke of Texas City Police Department’s Crime Suppression Unit and Dr. Patricia Beach, a local pediatrician. Volunteers can receive continuing education credit for participating.
This free training will include lunch. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
We’re STILL Looking for. . . Administrative Volunteers!
If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, WE NEED YOU!!
Child Advocates of Fort Bend runs a very busy office with 44 staff members and another 22+ representatives of four of our partner agencies onsite. We are looking for volunteers to help at our Main Lobby Administration/CASA reception desk. Contact Irene Wisner at 281-344-5171 for more information.
Did you know that the Christmas Home Tour began 27 years ago as a fundraiser to keep the agency going? A group of volunteers, many of whom are still involved, opened up their homes, decorated them for Christmas, baked some cookies and charged admission. The first tour generated a net income of $23,900. Since its inception it has garnered over $4.4 million in unrestricted funds for the agency. That means our doors have not only stayed open for 27 years, but we have increased our programming and are multiplying staff. Thank goodness because the need for our services is greater than ever!
Please join us on Friday, December 7th from 10am-4pm & 6pm-9pm and Saturday, December 8th from 10am-4pm. The two-day Home Tour hosts visitors from all of Fort Bend County and surrounding areas. Over 3,000 guests will tour the homes, including the 1,000 volunteers that take their time to participate. This is a spirited community event, but most importantly it is a fundraiser. Please consider joining as a sponsor. https://www.cafb.org/events/home-tour/sponsorships/
For more information, please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org
Are you a talented wreath maker or know someone who is? We are collecting all-season wreaths for our 5th annual Wreath Raffle! Everyone will have an opportunity to purchase a $10, $25 or $40 raffle ticket and choose the wreath they hope to win. It’s a fun opportunity to get into the holiday spirit and it helps the agency with a little extra fundraising.
The wreath or swag must have a retail value of $150 – $500. We would like to receive/pick up your gorgeous creation by Monday, October 15th.
For more information, please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org.
FRIENDS Membership Coffee
Bring a friend and join the FRIENDS Council for their annual Membership coffee. You will learn about FRIENDS, the path a child takes when they arrive at Child Advocates of Fort Bend, and the many ways that we support children in our community who have been abused and neglected.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
10:00am – 11:30am
Please contact Kristin Stiles-Janossy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to attend or receive more information about FRIENDS.
Kendra Scott Gives Back Party
Please join us for sips, sweets and Jewels.
20% of proceeds benefit Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Wednesday, October 10
6pm – 8pm
Kendra Scott First Colony Mall
Mark your calendar!
October 1, 2018: Golf for Greater Houston Golf Tournament
Black Hawk and Shadow Hawk Golf Courses
We are one of the beneficiaries of this event.
October 4, 2018 FRIENDS Fall Coffee
In the Sugar Creek home of Cathy & Alan Stubbs
October 10, 2018 Kendra Scott Give Back Night
6pm – 8pm
Kendra Scott First Colony Mall
October 23, 2018 A Living Legacy
Presented by Child Advocates of Fort Bend and Petrosewicz Law Firm, PC and hosted by Irene Wisner, Kathy and Tom Brauen and Gerri Brecker.
October 23, 2018 Legislative Advocacy Team Kickoff
6pm – 7:o0pm
CAFB Training Room
November 16, 2018 National Adoption Day
8am – 11:30am
Fort Bend County Justice Center, 3rd Floor
December 7 + 8, 2018 Christmas Home Tour