Meet Fran Clark!
In September of 2015 the Children’s Advocacy Center started the Multi-Disciplinary Enhancement Program in order to better identify children who are in need of our services. We hired an MDT Coordinator to review statewide intakes from CPS to determine who meets criteria. This program has grown substantially and to the point of needing to hire a second MDT Coordinator this month to handle the increase in volume.
We are fortunate to have Fran Clark rejoin the CAFB family to serve in this role. Fran worked as our criminal court advocate from 2008 to 2012 where she supported families as they went through the criminal system. Prior to working with us Fran was an investigative caseworker for Children’s Protective Services. Fran also served as a patient advocate at MD Anderson Hospital to fight for the rights of cancer patients.
In reality, Fran never really left CAFB as she continued using her advocacy skills volunteering as a CAC Mentor as well as a CASA. We are thrilled to have her back in our staff family!
Optima Database Coming Soon for CASA Volunteers!
In the next month, our CASA Program will be rolling out a new online system that will allow our CASA Volunteers to enter their case information online. This online system is called Optima. Optima is an online database where you can manage case information, CEUs, and your personal contact information. Giving you the ability to access and edit this information ensures that our records are updated and correct. Optima is also a tool to keep all case related information in a confidential and secure place.
What is Optima?
Optima is a database for CASA programs. It contains confidential information about children, volunteers and cases.
How does Optima work?
Optima is web-based. You can access it via web browser and with a password.
Why use Optima?
Optima allows you and your Volunteer Supervisor to create and maintain a shared set of information about children and cases. Optima also allows us to track our service, coordinate our efforts and report on our actions to funders and other stakeholders. When you use Optima, we are better organized, more accountable and able to devote more time and resources to helping children. It is important to remember that because our entire advocacy is documented in Optima, you must be mindful about what information goes into Optima, as all Optima records can potentially be subpoenaed.
Can I use Optima from my mobile phone or tablet?
Yes. Optima works with Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
What training and support will be available?
Optima overview and advocate responsibilities training will be provided during the initial CASA Pre-Service training and several training dates throughout the year. Our initial training dates will begin in May 2017. During your initial case sign-up, you will meet with our CASA Program Staff to go over monthly mandatory inputting of information and other logistics in order to manage your case. You will also use the how-to guide (can be found on the CASA website or request that your Volunteer Supervisor print it out for you during your initial visit) in order to familiarize yourself with Optima. Our Program Staff will provide assistance with navigating through the database and entering any necessary information – please reach out to your supervisor if you have any questions. If you or your supervisor feels you need more assistance, we will offer Optima office hours at the CASA office. Your supervisor may direct you to email firstname.lastname@example.org for available Optima office hours/training dates/times. We will be sending out dates/times of trainings as they become available.
Courtesy CASA Program
Child Advocates of Fort Bend is currently participating in a pilot program with TX CASA called the Courtesy Collaboration Program. Sue Profilet has been hired as the Courtesy CASA who visits children within our region that are placed here from out of region. Sue is also currently a CASA volunteer. She will also be responsible for visiting Residential Treatment Centers within our region and providing a report to our state organization. This information will be distributed to our local programs. There are a total of three Courtesy CASA’s in the state of Texas. Please remember, the Courtesy CASA’s visit does not replace your visit as the appointed CASA. This is a program that has been put in place to assist and ensure CASAs who have children placed far away can receive information when they are not able to visit. If you have a child that is placed out of region and want a Courtesy CASA to visit between your scheduled visits, please contact your CASA Supervisor for more information.
Welcome New Board Member!
New Board Member Glen Austin is an Associate Attorney at Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott, LLP with a lot of legislative experience, having previously served as Deputy Campaign Manager/Field Director for Amanda Edwards, Legislative Director in the Texas House of Representatives, Communications Coordinator for the Texas House Democratic Caucus and as a Legislative Aide at the Texas House of Representatives. He has served as a board member and Chairman of the Houston Black American Democrats for more than three years.
Austin’s father was a CPS caseworker, who took him on some ride-alongs when he was a child so he could see what his father did. He was shocked to see how people his age were living. It helped him to gain perspective and fueled an interest in giving back to the community.
We are so excited to have Austin on the Board. He will serve on the Board’s Legislative Committee.