As we look back on 2022… A message from the CASA President & CEO
By Ann Marie Ronsman, President & CEO | CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
Daily Reminders of our impact on children and families
It has been a tremendous privilege to serve in a leadership role at CASA this year.
Almost daily, I have the opportunity to hear the voices of children drifting up as they play on the sensory path outside my office.
I see parents and caregivers building connections with kids as they read storybooks while sitting in the garden.
I watch as children filled with fear and anxiety are able to find calm as they sit and pet our local therapy dog, Sumi.
There really are no words to describe the transformation that has occurred in our organization this year.
As you may remember, we moved our offices to the historic Falvey-Miller house at 505 N. Main Street in downtown Conroe in November of 2021. The campus where our offices are located is now known as the Rock Center for Child Advocacy. We have warm, welcoming spaces both inside our offices as well as outside in the Amy Streifel Community Garden for meetings with families, community partners, attorneys, and CPS.
The Watford Resource Center for Trauma Intervention has allowed us the opportunity to share our Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) knowledge with families and community partners. The Waste Connections TBRI Coaching Room is used frequently to help caregivers and families to better understand how to work proactively with their children to build connections and ensure a sense of safety, which decreases negative behaviors.
To understand more about TBRI and how CASA uses its methods to help children and families, I invite you to meet Perla and her dad, Bayron.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) at CASA
We continue to grow the TBRI expertise of our staff. In 2022, we began the year with four TBRI Practitioners on staff. As the year draws to a close, eight additional CASA staff members have completed TBRI Practioner training, so we now have twelve Practitioners on staff.
Our CASA TBRI was able to offer TBRI coaching to 100% of children and families involved in the foster care system this year. The TBRI team conducted training for eight community organizations, including The Woodlands Township, Conroe ISD, CPS, and Angel Reach. In October, as leaders of the Trauma-Informed Montgomery County Task Force, we hosted the Childhood Trauma Impact Conference for approximately 300 professionals in attendance from many different disciplines and organizations from around the state. CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County is proud to be recognized as one of the national leaders in TBRI.
Finding Meaningful Connections for Children
In addition to our work in TBRI, our focus also remains on finding meaningful connections for children. When a child is removed from her home, her connections to extended family, teachers, coaches, youth ministry volunteers, etc. are also often immediately severed. Many of those connections were healthy and safe, representing that “one caring adult” who could have made a difference in that child’s life during a chaotic time.
At CASA, Advocates apply Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) tools in every case for every single child. CFE focuses on finding and maintaining meaningful connections for the child. While these connections may become placement options for the child (yes! In one case, our volunteers located family members in another state who were able to take in a child,) more importantly they ensure that every child in foster care has the opportunity for lifelong connections.
CASA4TEENS Program promotes normalcy
Our CASA4Teens Program continued to grow this year. This summer, we hosted seven events for teens which offered opportunities for fun and normalcy. We explored animals with the Houston Natural Science and History Museum. Teens climbed on board and created their own masterpieces on the Art Bus. The CASA Young Professionals hosted a boys’ teen night and a girls’ teen night at the CASA house, where they painted fingernails, sang karaoke, played games, watched movies, and even enjoyed a paper airplane throwing contest.
30 Years Serving Montgomery County Children and Families
We are proud that CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, the county’s only organization appointed by the court to advocate for abused and neglected children, is completing our 30th year of serving children. Our volunteer Advocates have served 100% of children in foster care in Montgomery County since June 2015!
Since 1992, CASA Child Advocates have served more than 10,000 children right here in our county.
Change a child’s story today. Impact our community forever…
We know only a small percentage of children who experience trauma are removed from their homes. The majority will continue to live in homes with domestic violence, substance abuse, physical abuse, or verbal abuse. Our goal is to better equip our Montgomery County community to recognize and support ALL children who have experienced trauma so that every child has a safe, trauma-informed adult in their lives.
CASA’s mission has always been to ensure that the child’s best interest remains the focus of everyone involved in the child welfare legal process. As community leaders in childhood trauma, we have a new opportunity to expand our training about the impact of trauma and how to make a real difference in the life of a child to community partners such as law enforcement, schools, criminal and family law attorneys, and CPS caseworkers.
We need your help
The work we do changes the trajectory of children’s lives, and we need your help. Your support will leave a lasting legacy for kids in care. Spread joy this holiday season to the children who need it most.
I’m writing to you to ask: Can you help? Can you find it in your heart to change a child’s story today? Donate here.
Wishing you and your loved ones many blessings this holiday season.
Ann Marie Ronsman, MSN, RN, TBRI Practitioner
President & CEO, CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
EVERY CHILD DESERVES A CHANCE…IT’S YOU!
Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer: VOLUNTEER or give online: DONATE.