School Supply Drive

It will soon be back to school time. Bonham ISD students will head back to class first in Fannin County on Aug 16. Many other school districts in Fannin County will start on Aug 21. For the staff and volunteers at the Fannin County Children’s Center, back-to-school time starts now as they make preparations for their 21st annual School Supply Drive.

This school drive is open to all needy kids in Fannin County. Families in need can come to the Children’s Center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham on August 14 or 15 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon or 2:00 to 5:00 pm to sign up and receive supplies. Parents or other caregivers should bring the child’s social security card and some proof of need, such as Medicaid card, food stamps or paycheck stub.

In order to have supplies to give away, the Children’s Center is once again seeking donations.

“As always, every contribution is appreciated and needed” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. The center is now accepting paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons and other school supplies on the local school supply lists. Barber said, “Donors can also donate cash and leave the shopping to us. We will use it to buy what is most needed and we will stretch the donation farther by using our tax-exempt status when making the purchases.”

In all, the agency has given out free school supplies to more than 9,200 students in the last twenty years. Organizers expect to serve 500-750 students again this year. This effort depends on contributions from many different individuals, churches, businesses and other local organizations.

Items needed include: notebook paper, pens, pencils, three-ring notebooks, folders with & without brads, spiral notebooks, rulers, scissors, markers, crayons, red pens and pencils, highlighters, glue sticks and bottles, erasers, backpacks, construction paper, manilla paper, pencil boxes and bags and other supplies from area lists.

Contributions can be mailed or brought to the center at 112 West Fifth Street, Bonham, TX. Checks can be made out to FCCC and should include a brief notation that the gift is for school supplies. Donations can also be made on-line at School Supply Drive. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. Organizers request that contributions arrive by August 7 or earlier if at all possible to allow time for organization and preparations. For more information, go to School Supply Drive.

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Volunteer Info Session

volunteer handsOn Tuesday, July 25, there will be a come and go information session about volunteer opportunities at the Children’s Center from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Any adults interested in volunteering at the Children’s Center can come and get a tour of the center and talk to staff about the various roles volunteers fill at the center. CASA volunteers are needed to be advocates for children in foster care. Volunteers are also need to organize the Rainbow Room, greet families who come to the Children’s Advocacy Center, prepare school supplies for distribution and more.

At last check, 5 children in foster care from Fannin County do not have a CASA volunteer advocate.   CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.  When home is no longer a safe place for a child, a judge may order a child to be removed from their home and assign CASA to be the volunteer advocate for the child.

Once a volunteer advocate accepts a case, they will visit the child regularly.  They will also talk with parents, other family, teachers, doctors, therapists, caseworkers, attorneys, foster parents and any others involved in their child’s life.  Advocates prepare written reports for the court and attend all court hearings in order to make recommendations to the judge about what is in the best interest of the child.  Volunteers advocate for all of the child’s educational, medical, mental health and other needs to be met and to help them find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.

Volunteers are also needed to greet and sit with families who come to the Children’s Advocacy Center for forensic interviews or counseling.  At times, volunteers will need to briefly supervise the children while the parents meet privately with CAC professionals.

Volunteers are also needed at the center to sort and organize donations of new clothing, shoes, diapers and other items in the Rainbow Room and in preparation of the center’s annual School Supply Drive.

While attending the volunteer information session on July 25 is strongly encouraged, it is not a requirement to become a volunteer at the Children’s Center.

More about becoming a CASA volunteer or call Sandy Hood at 903-583-4339.

More about other Volunteer Opportunities or call Andrea Rencher at 903-583-4339.

 

 

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Free Summer Classes

The Fannin County Children’s Center has scheduled several free classes for this summer, plus an information session.

On Tuesday, July 25, there will be a come and go information session about volunteer opportunities at the Children’s Center from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Any adults interested in volunteering at the Children’s Center can come and get a tour of the center and talk to staff about the various roles volunteers fill at the center. CASA volunteers are needed to be advocates for children in foster care. Volunteers are also need to organize the Rainbow Room, greet families who come to the Children’s Advocacy Center, prepare school supplies for distribution and more.

Several free training classes are available this summer at the center for adults to learn how to prevent, recognize and report child abuse. The classes are designed for parents, teachers, other school personnel, day care workers, coaches, Sunday School teachers and other professionals and volunteers who work with children.

“Stewards of Children” is a 2 hour class that utilities video, workbooks and class discussion to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and report child sexual abuse. The video includes personal stories from survivors of sexual abuse and education from professionals in the child abuse field. This class will be offered on two different days in the summer: June 27 and August 29. Each class will be from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

“Recognizing & Reporting” is a 1.5 hour class that utilizes video, class discussion and case studies. Learning objectives include: the realities of child abuse, detailing who becomes victims, who the likely perpetrators are and the prevalence of abuse in all communities, the legal definitions, signs and symptoms of child abuse, how to communicate with a child who makes a disclosure of abuse, how to make a report and how to overcome one’s fear’s and barriers around reporting. Class options include July 18 or September 5. Each class will be from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

All classes will be held at the Children’s Center at 112 West Fifth Street in Bonham. All participants who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate. There is no charge for the classes, thanks to generous support from local donors. Seating is limited.
The Fannin County Children’s Center is a private, non-profit organization. It’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention efforts.

Learn more about becoming a CASA
Learn more about other volunteer opportunities
Register for a prevention class

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Child Abuse Rates Rise in Fannin County

Fannin County experienced a 25% increase in the number of confirmed victims of child abuse in 2016 as compared to the previous year. According to the Data Books from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there were 135 alleged victims of child abuse and neglect in Fannin County in the year ending August 31, 2016 and 108 in the year ending August 31, 2015.

The number of children removed from their homes from Fannin County in 2016 was 46. By comparison, the number of children removed in the last five years has tanged from 5 to 20 per year in Fannin County.

The Fannin County Children’s Center has been experiencing a corresponding increase in demand for services.

CASA is one program operated by the Children’s Center that provides trained advocates for children in foster care. In the fiscal year ending August 31, 2016, CASA served 83 children, which was a 50% increase over the previous year when 55 children were served. In the first seven months of the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 96 children.

The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is another program operated by the Children’s Center. For many years, the CAC in Fannin County has provided 500-600 counseling sessions per year. During the year ending August 31, 2016, the center added a full-time therapist on staff and the number of counseling sessions provided increased to 789. In the first seven months of the current fiscal year, the CAC has already provided 509 counseling sessions.

The Children’s Center also provides free child abuse prevention training to the community. Upcoming classes include “Stewards of Children” on Tuesday, May 9 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the center. This class focuses on preventing child sexual abuse, as well as how to identify warning signs and how to respond when child sexual abuse is suspected.

The Children’s Center will also offer a class called “Recognize and Report” on Tuesday, June 6 from 5:30 -7:00 pm at the center. This class focuses on recognizing and reporting all types of child abuse.

Both classes will be held at the center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham. Seating is limited.

Register Now for Stewards of Children

Register Now for Recognize & Report

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Art Contest Winners

Jewyll Hemby won first place

Jewyll Hemby won first place

Eight year old Jewyll Hemby took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Hemby is a second grader at Morning Star Academy. She won $100 and a blue ribbon for her artwork that will now be featured on the front of the Open Your Heart campaign cards. After she was given her prizes and posed for a photo, Jewyll donated her prize money back to the center to help other children.

Nine year old Hailey Kempton won second place and will have her artwork featured on the inside of the cards. She won $50 and a red ribbon. Kempton is a third grader at Finley Oates Elementary in Bonham.

Hailey Kempton won second place

Hailey Kempton won second place

The winning artwork will be featured in upcoming fundraising campaign for the Children’s Center. Funds raised will support all services provided by the center, including CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention efforts. As a non-profit, the center relies on grants and donations to be able to offer their services for no cost to victims of child abuse and neglect.

CASA recruits, screens, trains and supervises volunteer advocates for children in foster care. Children’s Advocacy Center facilitates a multidisciplinary team of public and private agencies involved in the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. Child abuse prevention efforts include classes are offered for children, youth and adults.

For upcoming class schedule and more about the center, go to: prevention

Give Now

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April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

Proclamation April 2017

Proclamation Signing – Professionals and volunteers fighting child abuse in our community gathered to witness Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter signing a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Fannin County. Representatives from the courts, prosecution, law enforcement, Child Protective Services, CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center work collaboratively every day to make our community safer for children, help victims heal and seek justice.

Go Blue Day is Friday, April 7.  It’s a day to wear blue in support of child abuse victims.  The Children’s Center will also be giving away prizes for the best photos shared with them from Go Blue Day.  More info  Go Blue Day 2017

Prevention Classes – The Children’s Center is offering free training classes during April regarding Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse. One class will be on Monday, April 10th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Bonham ISD Board Room at the Administrative Offices at 1005 Chestnut in Bonham. Another class will be on Tuesday, April 18th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Children’s Center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham. To reserve a spot, contact Andrea at (903) 583-4339 or andrea@fanninccc.org.

Blue Sunday is April 30. It is a day that churches and other faith communities are encouraged to pray for child abuse victims and the professionals and volunteers who are working to stop abuse. For more information, go to www.bluesunday.org.

 

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Child Abuse Awareness Month

Go Blue Day 2017April is Child Abuse Awareness Month in Texas and the United States. Go Blue Day is April 7 in Texas this year. It’s a day where everyone is encouraged to wear blue in support of child abuse victims. For the second year in a row, the Children’s Center will award cash prizes as well as t-shirts and yard signs in at least three categories: most creative, most spirited and best selfie. Depending on the number of entries, the center reserves the right to divide entries into categories such as individuals, businesses, schools, organizations, etc. To enter, send photos and descriptions to info@fanninccc.org by midnight on April 7. more

Blue Sunday is April 30. It is a day that churches and other faith communities are encouraged to pray for child abuse victims and the professionals and volunteers who are working to stop abuse. For more information, go to www.bluesunday.org.

The Children’s Center is also offering free training classes during April regarding Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse. One class will be on Monday, April 10th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Bonham ISD Board Room at the Administrative Offices at 1005 Chestnut in Bonham. Another class will be on Tuesday, April 18th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Children’s Center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham. To reserve a spot, contact Andrea at (903) 583-4339 or andrea@fanninccc.org. more info

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11 New CASA Advocates

New CASA Advocates - Speing 2017

New CASA Advocates – Spring 2017

Eleven local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge John McCraw, Jr. administered the oath to the new volunteers as he was the visiting judge filling in for 336th District Judge Lauri Blake. New child advocates include Debbie Irvin, Nancy Burpo, Wendi Lindsey, Paula Chambers, Morgan Kelso, Heather Molsbee, Alice Creecy, Kaylen Hutchins, Kelly LeBrun, Shawn Look and Mike Nejtek.

“We are thrilled to welcome this large group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

“Nearly all of the new advocates will be accepting cases immediately, which will bring us back to serving 100% of our cases with volunteers,” said Barber. “Our CASA caseload has been growing and we have been working hard to keep up with the increasing demand.”

In the year ending August 31, 2016, CASA served 83 children. This number has more than doubled in the last two years. In the first six month of the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 92 children.

All volunteers completed an intensive training class which prepares them to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. The district judge appoints CASA volunteers to serve as the Guardian ad Litem for each child who has been placed in the state’s custody. In that role, CASA advocates investigate the child’s situation, prepare written reports to the court and advocate for the child’s best interest in court hearings and other settings.

CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. For more information on becoming a CASA, call (903) 583-4339 or go here

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Matthews Children’s Foundation

 

Matthew 2017

Matthew’s Children’s Foundation Gives to Children’s Center – Stephen Murden of Wise Funeral Home presents a donation of $1,000 to Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center.  The gift is from the Matthew’s Children’s Foundation and is designated to help recruit, screen and train more CASA volunteers to be advocates for children in foster care.

 

 

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Kids Art Contest

OYH 2014 First PlaceIt’s time for the annual kids art contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center’s. Kids ages 18 and under are invited to enter their work of art for a chance to win prizes and help other children.

“Our judges will be looking for two pieces of artwork that best illustrates the theme “Open Your Heart,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center. “Winning entries in the past have included hearts, kids, families and bright, cheerful colors.”

Two winning entries will win special ribbons and cash prizes. The winning artwork will be reproduced on cards to help the agency raise funds to provide advocacy, counseling and other critical support services for the abused and neglected children of Fannin County.

The winning artist will receive a $100 cash, a blue ribbon and their artwork will be reproduced on the front of the campaign card. Second place will win a $50 cash, a red ribbon and have their artwork included inside of the card.

Artwork must be turned in by 5 pm on March 31 at the Children’s Center at 112 West Fifth in Bonham. Entry forms and more information can be found here and at the center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham or by calling (903) 583-4339.

OYH 2013 First Place

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