Program Notes: July 2023
On June 26, 2018, a little over five years ago, I was sworn in as a volunteer Advocate by Judge Jerry Winfree. This anniversary has given me time to reflect on the changes that have taken place, and those we continue to work on. In 2018, we had no dedicated child protection court, no full-time Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) Team at CASA, and we were working in leased office space in our old building. Today we are in our own welcoming space with three full-time staff on our TBRI® Team and 14 TBRI® Practitioners at CASA. Both judges who hear the child protection docket are also TBRI® Practitioners. We’ve come a long way in helping our community understand the impact of trauma on the children and families we serve. The next time you attend court, you’ll see that County Court at Law 3 has added a sign outside the courtroom designating it as a “trauma-informed” court along with snacks and water available for those who need them. See the need, meet the need.
Program year-to-Date statistics
Our program year started in September 2022, and since then, 212 Advocates have served 435 children and their families in Montgomery County. In the months of May and June 2023, we had 34 more children come into care in our county due to abuse and neglect, totaling 132 so far for this program year. We continue to serve 100 percent of the children in care in Montgomery County. Thank you for making this possible.
New advocate class
We welcomed nine new Advocates who were sworn in during the months of May and June. Four of them are already working on their first cases, and the other five will no doubt be starting in the coming weeks as new cases come in. I remember being in your shoes five years ago and having my first visit with the children I was serving! My tip to each of you is to take it one step at a time and stay in contact with your Case Supervisor. We are here to support you each step of the way. I also want to pay a personal tribute to my Advocate class members from June 2018 who continue to be exceptional volunteer Advocates to this day—Marie Colborn, Ingram Lee, and Tammie Manchester. You rock!
To all our volunteer Advocates, thank you for all the advocacy that you do every day—you’re visiting with children over the summer holiday, checking in on parents, and discussing case updates with attorneys and caseworkers. Your volunteerism and the many hours you put in are seen and valued. A special thank-you to each of you for your work on Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE), either fostering connections with relatives or supportive networks, advocating for sibling visits or family placements, or completing CFE tools with children and their families. Each connection for a child is vitally important for their well-being and permanency, and your CFE work is making an impact.
Susan Truscott, TBRI® Practitioner