CASA Celebrates 30 Years Serving the Children of Montgomery County
By Ann Marie Ronsman, President & CEO | CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
On October 25, 1990, a small but determined group of community volunteers organized by Pat Chuber and Betty Gowing met to discuss the formation of a CASA program in Montgomery County. Few in attendance that night could have imagined the impact their vision would have on Montgomery County.
Over the next two years, committees were formed to oversee incorporation, membership, public affairs, development, and legal issues. In the fall of 1991, the organization was incorporated as CASA of Montgomery County, Inc. In February of 1992, the very first class of volunteers, who also served as CASA’s first Board of Directors, were sworn in by Judge Olen Underwood.
In 1992, eight volunteer Advocates served 28 children.
Last year, 282 Advocates served 596 children – 100% of children in foster care in Montgomery.
This is all thanks to Pat Chuber, Betty Gowing, Judge Underwood, and their vision 30 years ago.
In total, we have served more than 10,000 of Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children over the last 30 years.
In reflecting on CASA’s history, I am struck by how far this organization has come. I am also hopeful for the future and the ways we intend to strengthen our advocacy for children through the expansion of CASA’s programs and initiatives.
The child welfare system continues to shift, and we must remain attentive and responsive to the ever-present needs of the children we serve. The purchase of CASA’s new home in downtown Conroe last year has been and will continue to be instrumental in making this possible.
SOLUTIONS OFFERED BY CASA’s New Home
- TBRI program expansion including additional spaces for coaching sessions, TBRI education sessions within our community, and a TBRI Practitioner solely dedicated to managing this program
- Multi-use spaces available for parent/child visits as an alternative to the CPS office
- Early Collaborative Family Engagement initiative to focus on meaningful connections for the child BEFORE the first court hearing, and a CFE staff member to oversee all CFE initiatives
- Multi-use spaces for teen-centered events (including interactive, outdoor community garden)
- CASA4Teens program expansion including staff dedicated to teen life skills and post-secondary education purposes
- 100% of children and families in the child welfare system in Montgomery County will be offered TBRI coaching services by CASA
- Increased services will be provided to children and families affected by trauma, resulting in better long-term outcomes and healing
- Less stress on children and caregivers
- More functional and secure environment
- Increased youth programs on-site
- A truly “Trauma-Informed” Montgomery County, Texas where the needs of traumatized children are recognized and addressed proactively
We dream of a world free of child abuse and neglect, but until that becomes a reality, CASA will be here to stand beside the children of Montgomery County.