The Texas Bar Foundation recently awarded Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) an $8,000 grant.
The funds will be used to support year two of the Multidisciplinary Team Enhancement Program (MEP) between Child Protective Services, law enforcement and the Children’s Advocacy Center. MEP began in late 2015 as a way of identifying children who are victims of abuse and would otherwise fall through the cracks of the child welfare system.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $18 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
Child Advocates of Fort Bend is the only agency in Fort Bend County exclusively dedicated to providing critical services, all free of charge, to abused and neglected children and their non-offending family members. A CAFB Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) staff member reviews all state intake reports of child abuse, assesses whether they meet criteria for sexual abuse or severe physical abuse and, if so, refers the case to CPS and law enforcement.
The CAC acts as a coordinating entity amongst CAFB partner agencies ensuring that all parties are informed and abused children are receiving the help that they need to overcome the trauma they have endured.
For 25 years, Child Advocates of Fort Bend has been providing a voice, healing the hurt and breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect in Fort Bend County. Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASATM), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates, Child Advocates of Fort Bend improves the lives of more than 400 children each month and has served more than 14,500 children since opening its doors in 1991.
Volunteers are needed to help in the Children’s Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocates Program. For more information on Child Advocates of Fort Bend or to become a volunteer, go to www.cafb.org or contact Lauren Jordin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-344-5258.
CAFB recognized at statewide conference
Of the 71 CASA Programs in the state of Texas, only a handful are able to match all of the children in foster care in their region with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to advocate for their needs, however there is only one program in the entire state that serves 100 percent of the children in foster care with 100 percent volunteers.
During the annual Texas CASA Conference in Galveston recently, Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs recognized Child Advocates of Fort Bend for their ability to match every child with a volunteer CASA to advocate for their best interests.
“As an agency, Child Advocates of Fort Bend has been committed to making sure we never turn away a child in need of our services, stated Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford. “We are so fortunate in Fort Bend County that people are steadfast in their obligation to ensuring the welfare of the children of Fort Bend County, are generous with their time and are committed to volunteering because, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to match every child with a volunteer.”
Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s CASA Program trains volunteers throughout the community to provide a voice in the courtroom for children who are in the care of the child welfare system. These CASA volunteers advocate for the child’s “best interests” and ensure that his/her needs are being met throughout the time the child is in foster care, provide stability and a positive role model. Volunteers are trained to serve children in each age group. Each of these services (Infant and Toddler, N.E.S.T. and WINGS) incorporates strategies to help the children develop healthy lifestyles, provide mentoring and guidance, equip the children and volunteers with specialized resources, implement educational enrichment workshops and help the children find the path to a bright future.
Christmas Home Tour
The agency’s Christmas Home Tour is critical to funding these programs. Slated for Dec. 8-9, the $25 tour ticket enables guests to view five private homes that have been professionally decorated for the holidays. Tickets allow access to each home once during the tour hours. About 94 percent of the proceeds from this event go directly toward programs and services. For more information on the Christmas Home Tour, how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets for the tour, go to www.cafb.org or contact Lisa Moore at email@example.com.