Newsletter

Happy Spring!

Spring is a time of new beginnings and that’s the theme around Child Advocates of Fort Bend.

We kicked off April in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month with our Light of Hope Ceremony to honor all children who have been victims of abuse or neglect.  Thank you to the Exchange Club of Sugar Land and the Child Welfare Board for supporting this community awareness event.  The day continued with the Pinwheel Festival, sponsored by the FBC Sheriff’s Office, which was a fun day for families and children.  We have been out in the community and in the schools with our Break The Cycle presentations to instruct students, administrators, the medical community, and the general public about signs and symptoms of abuse, how to report, how to stay safe and what services are available at Child Advocates of Fort Bend for child victims.  There are blue ribbon displays throughout the community, blue ribbons on trees, two “Awareness Fields” in Richmond and Stafford with stakes for every child served by CAFB last year, and blue ribbon contests in our local schools.  We hope that this awareness and outreach will bring attention to the tragedy of child abuse and neglect in our community.

We hosted our Groundbreaking Ceremony for our building expansion on March 29.  It was an exciting time to share with our leadership donors and elected officials our plans and vision to be able to serve every child who needs help. Construction kicked off April 22 on the renovation and expansion of our building. We are delighted to work with wonderful professionals who have a heart for our mission:  Gensler Architects and Forney Construction.   Construction is planned to last throughout the rest of the year with completion targeted for mid-December.

After months of planning, we have moved into our temporary offices while our building is under construction.  It was quite an effort but we made it and were ready to greet children without missing a beat.  We have split up into two locations to accommodate staff and our children and families – Richmond Office:  CASA and Administration in the Fort Bend County Justice Center and Rosenberg Office: Children’s Advocacy Center on Reading Road.

We also formally launched the community phase of our For The Children’s Sake Capital Campaign.  The campaign goal is to raise $8 million.  We are excited to share that we have already raised $6 million so we are 75% of the way toward our goal in less than 6 months!  We sincerely thank The George Foundation for kicking off the campaign with a leadership gift of $2 million!   Many other very generous donors have already made their pledges and 100% of our Board of Directors made a donation.  We look forward to visiting with our volunteers and supporters over the coming months if you would be interested in being a part of this exciting initiative.

Thank you for all you do to bring hope, healing and new beginnings for children who have been abused and neglected.

For the Children’s Sake,

Ruthanne Mefford
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend

 

 

Thank You Brigit, Lisa and Natalie!

The CAC completed its move into a temporary space on Reading Road.  The entire team is adjusting well and getting acquainted with the new office.  Forensic interviewing equipment was installed prior to the move and the team was able to continue regular operations right away.  As the location is near the Avenue N office it has offered convenience to ongoing clients who come on a weekly basis.  Thank you to Brigit Engleman, Lisa Ku and Natalie Tran who helped to beautify the space before the CAC team’s arrival!  It is truly a warm and welcoming space for clients and staff.

 

Volunteers Needed

With the recent move, our Children’s Advocacy Center needs more volunteers to help us accommodate clients in our new space! 

We really need your help!
Can you spare a few hours to volunteer at the Children’s Advocacy Center?

We are looking for Volunteers who are available for a weekly shift or can “substitute” at our Center on days when we do not have enough volunteers. This will be an ongoing need until we move back to our renovated building.  If you are interested in volunteering at the Children’s Advocacy Center, please contact Melissa at mjohnson@cafb.org for more details.

 

Welcome Baby Miles!!!

The CASA team is pleased to announce the arrival of Miles Vann. Krystal delivered Miles on April 11th. Mom and baby are doing great. Krystal thanks everyone for their support.

 

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 cdavis@cafb.org with any questions.  We’re here to help!

 

 

TBRI Information Online

Fort Bend Behavioral Health Services has helped put together a list of TBRI YouTube videos for parents, foster parents, etc. Please feel free to review the following videos below by going to the following link: https://www.youtube.com/

You can search for the videos by entering the topics listed below.
These videos also count toward Continuing Education Hours for Volunteers.  Simply view the videos and feel free to add them as “Training Hours” in Optima.

Introductory Videos:

  • Introduction to TBRI (66 minutes)
  • TBRI 101: A Self-Guided Course in Trust –Based Relationships, Lesson 1 (16 minutes)
  • TBRI An Overview: Putting the Pieces Together (37 minutes)

Connecting with the Child:

  • Will Trust-Based Parenting Work for My Child (2 minutes)
  • Trust-Based Parenting Preview (11 minutes)
  • Attachment: Why it Matters Preview (8 minutes)
  • Give Your Child Playfulness (2 minutes)
  • Insight 7: Creating a Balance of Nurture and Structure (2 minutes)

Correcting Behavior:

  • The IDEAL Response for Parents (7 minutes)
  • Sharing Power with your Child (4 minutes)
  • How Do I Handle Manipulation and Control (7 minutes)
  • How Do I Handle Lying? (7 minutes)
  • Engaging Food Battles (6 minutes)
  • Effective Ways to Deal with Sleep Issues (6 minutes)

 

 

N.E.S.T. Information, Reminders and Updates

  • To learn more about how to access the new N.E.S.T. resources available to you via our website, contact April Shaver at Ashaver@cafb.org or 281-344-5210.
  • If you are a Guardian Ad Litem and you have questions about how to advocate for your child/children in the school system, please contact April Shaver to present your case to our phenomenal Education Committee to receive guidance.
  • If you are advocating for a school-aged child, now is the time to check in with their teachers about their academic progress and grades to gear up for our N.E.S.T. Incentive Party in June!

 

SAVE THE DATE!

KITS 10th Annual Training Conference is set for Friday, June 28, 2019 at United Way of Greater Houston. Volunteers can get Continuing Education credit for attending and CEU and CLE credits are pending for this conference.

May is. . . Mental Health Awareness Month

Fort Bend County Behavioral Health Services is hosting a Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Series on Mental Health. All are welcome. No RSVP is required.

see topics and times

 

 

Items Needed

A mother is in need of household items for her apartment in order for her son to return home. Items needed are:

  • Dinette table and chairs
  • Living Room Furniture
  • Pots Pans
  • Towels
  • 2 Twin Beds and Bedding

If you can help in any way please contact Carol Thesing at 346-327-3603 or Nancy Dale at 832-607-6219. The apartment is currently empty. Thank you in advance.

 


 

Legislative Advocacy Team

The 86th Legislative Session ends May 27, 2019.   The Capitol is busy with our bills moving through the House and Senate.

CASA and CACTX Funding heads to a Conference Committee

CASA and CAC Funding has been sent to a Conference Committee to work out the differences between House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1.  House Bill 1 includes the increase in funding of $2.25 million.  Senate Bill 1 increases annual CASA funding by $1.25 million.  The final budget will be decided in a Conference Committee.  The Conference Committee is made up of 10 legislators, Rep. John Zerwas (Chair – House), Rep. Greg Bonnen, Rep. Sarah Davis, Rep. Oscar Longoria, Rep. Armando Walle, Sen. Jane Nelson (Chair – Senate), Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Sen. Joan Huffman, Sen. Larry Taylor and Sen. Robert Nichols.

The CAC Funding was also lacking in the Senate version.  House Bill 1 provided $18 million while Senate Bill 1 provided $12 million.

If you are represented by Sen. Joan Huffman or Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, please contact their offices and ask them to support matching the full funding for CASA on an additional $2.25 million annually to help support continued growth in CASA advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children.    Also ask for the full $18 million in CAC Funding provided for in House Bill 1.

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 to 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.

 

Child Advocates of Fort Bend in House Gallery for National Prevent Child Abuse Month

Rhonda Kuykendall, Co-Chair of the Legislative Advocacy Team and TexProtects members were present when Rep. Tan Parker recognized the partner organizations that help prevent child abuse. Pictured:  Lee Nichols (TexProtects), Jennifer Lucy (TexProtects), Rhonda Kuykendall (Child Advocates of Fort Bend) and Beth Cortez-Neavel (TexProtects).

 

 

Children’s Assessment Centers of Texas Oppose House Bill 1029

One of the main priorities of CAC Texas this legislative session was a defensive measure.  Rep. Joe Moody filed a bill that would allow defense attorneys copies of forensic interviews.  House Bill 1029 was heard in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 15, 2019.  52 individuals or organizations signed up in opposition to this bill.  Only a handful signed up in support of this bill.  During testimony Christina Green, Director of Public Affairs of Children’s Assessment Centers of Texas reported 58,000 kids were served last year, 70% were sexually assaulted.  Ms. Green said, This is a “solution in search of a problem.  Fewer victims will come forward for fear of their tape becoming public.”

 

House Bill 4200 and House Bill 4323 Protecting the Identity of Sexual Assault Victims

Rep. Ron Reynolds and Rep. John Zerwas have co-authored House Bill 4200 and House Bill 4323.  House Bill 4200 would amend the Government Code to redact the identity of sexual assault victims.  House Bill 4323 would codify the process by which pseudonyms are offered in cases of sexual assault.  House Bill 4323 was heard in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 15, 2019.  Fort Bend County Assistant District Attorney Jenna Rudoff, LAT Co-Chair Rhonda Kuykendall and CAFB Board Member Farha Ahmed spoke in support of the bill.

 

 

LAT Champions. We need you.

CAFB’s Legislative Advocacy Team is building a community called LAT Champions of Fort Bend.  LAT Champions receive emails throughout the session asking members to contact their legislators with specific requests.    All of the information needed is given in an email:  legislation background, why it is needed, important points to include and the emails of legislators to contact.  You can make a major impact in the lives of abused children in Fort Bend County, one bill at a time.

To become a LAT Champion, send an email to Rhonda Kuykendall (rhondakuy@comcast.net) and

Join LAT Champions of Fort Bend on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/latchampions/

 

 

LAT in Action

Building Connections and Relationships both here in Fort Bend County and in Austin Sen. Kolkhorst District Director Paul Gibson. Rep. Zerwas District Director Linda Adkins. Glen Austin, former CAFB Board Member who is now a Legislative Aide for Senator John Whitmire.

 

 

Up Up And Away Gala

Thank you to our volunteers, donors, sponsors guests, photographers and everyone who helped to make our Up Up and Away Gala a success on Saturday! Special thanks to Beverly and Rick Martinez, Lori Renfrow, Cookie Joe Arthur and the dancers from Cookie Joe’s Dancin School, Michele Fisher, Johnny (Bravo) Halloway who helped to make our program special.

Mark your calendar and plan to join us next year on May 2, 2020!

See photos from the evening

 

LAST CHANCE. . .to bid! 

If you missed the auction or if you got home and wished you had bought something, it might not be too late! We have a couple of auction items that will be available until Friday, May 10th.

Check them out and bid online now

 

Mark your calendar!
And make plans to join us. . .

June 10, 2019  Summer Volunteer Training Begins

(Stay tuned for details.)  For an application or more information contact lcastellanos@cafb.org.

 

September 26, 2019  Voices for Children Breakfast

 

December 13 + 14, 2019  Christmas Home Tour