Child Welfare is a top priority for the 85th Texas Legislature which is now in session. With the dire circumstances that so many children have experienced recently and the media attention spotlight on these cases, our legislators are working on a number of bills which will bring changes in policy, practice and funding. Our Legislative Advocacy Team, our board, volunteers and staff have met with our legislators, visited them in Austin on Capitol Days in January and February and daily are working through the Public Policy teams at TX CASA and CAC TX to ensure that no child falls through the cracks. We are encouraged that our elected officials share our concerns about children who have been abused and neglected. Please read the recent article in the Houston Chronicle written by Vicky Spriggs, CEO, TX CASA to better understand her perspective on these issues.
We are so fortunate that Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s CASA and CAC Programs are so well regarded in the state that we have been tapped to expand our services and to fill gaps that have resulted by an overburdened and under-resourced child welfare system. I want to highlight two of our new initiatives.
MEP- Multi Disciplinary Team Enhancement Program: Our CAC now reviews all state intakes of child abuse and coordinates with law enforcement and CPS for these children to receive forensic interviews and other services at our CAC. We are another set of eyes to ensure no child falls through the cracks. The result? We have coordinated 400 cases in the past year that might have gone without attention. The program has proved so successful that we just hired a second coordinator. Thank you to our CAC Coordinators Joe Driver and Fran Clark!
Courtesy CASA – Sixty percent of children in foster care are placed out of their home county. This means they are far from family, school and friends. The distance creates challenges for their original CASA and caseworker to visit them on a regular basis. That’s where we step in. We hired a Courtesy CASA Coordinator who travels throughout the Eastern and Coastal Regions (21 cities) and visits these children to make sure their best interests are being met and that their placements are safe and supportive. The result? Kids who might not have had anyone visit them now have someone checking on them and letting them know they care. Thank you to CASA Volunteer Sue Profilet who has taken on this role!
These are just a couple of ways Child Advocates of Fort Bend is making a difference in the lives of children who have been abused and neglected. Thank you to all our volunteers, staff and board who are making a difference every day.
Every Child. Every Service. Every Effort.
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend