CASA volunteers are needed to be advocates for children in foster care. At last check, 15 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.
The local CASA program in Fannin County has been seeing tremendous growth in the number of children in foster care. In the past, an average year for CASA was to serve 60-80 children. In the fiscal year ending August 31, 2017, CASA served 118 children, which set a new program record. In the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 105 children in 7 months.
Once a volunteer advocate completes training and 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.
The next training class is set to begin on June 12. Training classes are held in the evenings and many people who work full-time manage to be a CASA advocate. Applications and interviews must be completed before training starts. More information and volunteer applications are available here
Around 250 people attended the 25th Anniversary Gala for the Fannin County Children’s Center. The Complex in Bonham was decorated in a silver theme, including silver balloons of stars and the numbers “25” for the silver anniversary celebration of the local non-profit that serves abused and neglected children.
Board president Kyra Barsi welcomed everyone to the event and board member Rev. Dana Coker gave the opening prayer. Executive Director Sandy Barber talked about how so much has been accomplished because so many individuals have done what they could do.
CASA was started by Paula Spindle, who had a dream of helping children involved in the court system. She recruited other individuals to serve as board members and volunteers and gained the support of the local courts and Child Protective Services. Over the years, the center continued to grow and expand to serve more children, including the addition of the Children’s Advocacy Center.
CASA Program Director Sandy Hood talked about how CASA volunteer have made a difference in the lives of children and recognized all of the current and former CASA volunteers in attendance. CAC Program Director Kassi Lightfoot recognized each of the partner agencies that make up the Children’s Advocacy Center and recognized all of the current and past multidisciplinary team members in attendance. Andrea Lappin who serves as the Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator talked about all the other ways volunteers contribute at the center, including wrapping Christmas presents, preparing and giving away school supplies, setting up and cleaning up for Justice Is Served, cleaning the center, helping with newsletters and more. She too, recognized all current and past volunteers in attendance. Barber spoke about the significant impact that the 336th District Judge, board members and staff members have made over the years and recognized the ones in attendance.
The center unveiled a new video that was created to tell the agency’s history, impact and dreams for the future. While guests enjoyed a delicious dinner, the Bonham High School jazz band played and a slide show of photos from the 25-year history of the center ran on continuous loop. Both the video and photo slide show are now posted on the center’s website.
President-elect Brenda Magness and Past President Bill Wilson are leading the center’s Facility Task Force that was formed last year. They spoke about the center’s dream of a new facility and all the work that has already gone into looking at other centers, talking to key stakeholders and making plans for a larger facility. They spoke about how the center has out-grown the current location and the dreams for the future facility.
April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. The Fannin County Children’s Center has several activities planned for this month.
April 6 is Go Blue Day in Texas. It is a day to wear blue in honor and memory of child abuse victims. The Children’s Center encourages schools, businesses, other organizations and individuals to wear blue, snap photos, post them on social media and share them with the center too. Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or the Children’s Center can be tagged in posts. Suggested hashtags for the day include #GoBlueDay and #NoExcuseForChildAbuse.
The Children’s Center will be offering free prevention classes in the coming weeks. On April 17, the “Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse” class will be held from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the center. As the class name implies, this class will teach adults how to spot signs of all types of child abuse and how to respond appropriately. On May 1, the “Stewards of Children” class will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the center. This class will teach adults proactive steps to take to prevent child sexual abuse. Both classes are free and require reservations. More information about the classes and reservations can me made on-line at www.fanninccc.org. Both classes will be held at the center at 112 W 5th in Bonham.
April 24 the Children’s Center is hosting a 25th Anniversary Gala to celebrate the center’s silver anniversary. Doors of the Multi-Purpose Complex will open at 6 pm. The event will include a dinner and program. Tickets and tables are on sale now from any board or staff as well as on-line and at the center. Early bird rates are available now through April 18.
April 29 is Blue Sunday. This is a day when faith communities across the nation will say prayers for children who have been abused and neglected as well as for the professionals and volunteers who are working to stop abuse and help victims recover.
The Children’s Center encourages local schools, businesses and other organizations to post the slogan “No Excuse for Child Abuse” on their marque signs. The Center also has yard signs and blue t-shirts with the “No Excuse for Child Abuse” slogan on them. These are available for a donation of at least $10.
For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or click on the following links:
In April 1993, CASA of Fannin County accepted its first case. Over the next 25 years, the organization has grown, moved, expanded services and even changed its name. One thing, however, that has not changed for the Fannin County Children’s Center is the focus of serving children who have been abused and neglected.
The board and staff of the Children’s Center are currently planning a 25th Anniversary Gala to celebrate their silver anniversary and recognize this significant milestone. The doors of the Multi-Purpose Complex will open at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 24. Guests will enjoy an elegant evening with a nice dinner and a program to celebrate the people and highlight the accomplishments of the organization. Guests are encouraged to dress up for this silver themed event. The organizers goal is to have guests headed home by around 8:00 pm.
Tickets and tables are on sale now at the center and on the agency website. Early bird rate for the Gold Sponsor is $1000 and includes two reserved tables with seating for sixteen people. Early bird rate for Silver Sponsor is $500 and includes one reserved table with seating for eight people. Individual tickets for opening seating cost $35 each at the early bird rate. The early bird deadline is April 18. Tickets and tables will be available after April 18, but at an increased cost. To purchase now, go to 25th Anniversary Gala or the Children’s Center at 112 W. 5th St in Bonham. The center is generally open Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. For questions, call (903) 583-4339.
Go Blue Day in Texas is Friday, April 6, 2018. This is a day that people across the state of Texas will be wearing blue in honor and memory of child abuse victims.
The Fannin County Children’s Center has designed a new blue shirt for Go Blue Day and Child Abuse Awareness Month in April 2018. This royal blue shirt still has the “No Excuse For Child Abuse” slogan on the front, but in an updated font. The back of this year’s shirts has the agency’s 25th anniversary logo on it, as April 2018 also marks the Children’s Center’s milestone of 25 years of serving children.
For a donation of at least $10, donors can choose to get one shirt or one yard sign with the “No Excuse for Child Abuse” slogan. In order to guarantee a 2018 design shirt in your size in time for Go Blue Day on April 6, 2018, you must place your order and submit payment by 5 pm on March 27, 2018. Shirts with the 2017 are still in-stock and available in many sizes too.
“We hope to see lots of photos on social media on April 6 with people wearing blue in support of victims of child abuse,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center. “Whether they are wearing our shirts or not, we encourage schools, businesses and other organizations to wear blue and take group photos and send them to us so we can share too.”
“Statistics tell us that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday and that many victims wait to tell,” said Barber. “When we wear blue on April 6, there is no telling how many victims, both the ones who are still silent as well as the ones who have found the courage to tell, will notice the show of support.”
The Fannin County Children’s Center’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. The agency’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention classes.
Fannin County Children’s Center is seeking full time mental health professional to provide crisis counseling, as well as individual, group and family therapy for victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Candidates must be licensed in Texas and can be LPC, LPC-Intern, LCSW or LMFT. Prefer experience and training in working with trauma, especially child abuse victims. Excellent verbal & written communication skills are needed. Ability to work well with children, families and other professionals as part of a multi-disciplinary team. We are seeking a dedicated, dependable, organized and flexible team player.
Must have clear background checks. Flexible scheduling options. Prefer ability to work in evenings. Must adhere to Code of Ethics and maintain confidentiality. Must be computer proficient and able to administer and score assessments. Must be willing to testify in court. Prefer experience in play therapy. Must have TF-CBT training or able to complete.
All costs of license renewal and other professional memberships are the responsibility of employee. Salary range $38,000 – $45,000. Paid sick, vacation and holiday time. Health insurance after 30 days of employment.
Grace Farrell won first place in the Open Your Heart art contest. She is pictured with CAC therapist Michelle Griffith.
Eleven year old Grace Farrell of Bonham took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Farrell is a sixth grade student who is homeschooled. 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.
Seven year old Rowan Davis won second place and will have her artwork featured on the inside of the cards. She won $50 and a red ribbon. Davis is a first grader at Morning Star Academy in Bonham.
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.
It’s time for the annual kids art contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center’s! Once again, kids ages 18 and under are invited to enter their work of art for a chance to win prizes and help other children.
This year, the Children’s Center will be celebrating 25 years of serving children. “Our contest judges will be looking for two pieces of artwork that help us celebrate this 25 year milestone and still include our annual theme of “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. When we were celebrating our twentieth anniversary five years ago, one of the winning entries included a colorful birthday cake too.”
Second Place Winner in 2013
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 Friday, February 9 at the Children’s Center at 112 West Fifth in Bonham.
The Texoma Health Foundation recently presented a grant for $50,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center. Pictured here is Bill Wilson, President of McCraw Oil and Texoma Health Foundation board member, Kyra Barsi, Board President of the Children’s Center, Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center, Nicole Thornhill, Manager of Development for Texoma Health Foundation and Kitty Richardson, Chief Operating Officer of Texoma Health Foundation.
Texoma Health Foundation recently awarded a grant of $50,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center to address the medical and mental health needs of abused and neglected children in Fannin County and support child abuse prevention efforts as well.
“We are thrilled that the Texoma Health Foundation has chosen to invest in our center and the children again,” said Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber. “This year marks the fourth year in a row we have been blessed to be one of their grantees.”
Grant funding for all four years totals $150,000. The grant to the Children’s Center was one of many awarded by the Foundation to nonprofits in Grayson, Fannin, Bryan and Marshall Counties to further the foundation’s mission to support the health and well-being of people.
“We appreciate their generous investments in our center, in our kids and in our community,” said Barber. “We also appreciate how the board and staff of the foundation regularly are looking for ways they can give more than just money. The leadership, connections, ideas, energy and passion they give to making our community healthier is also a huge blessing!”
The Children’s Center will use the funds to ensure that each child in foster care has a trained CASA volunteer to advocate for their medical and mental health needs. In addition, the grant will support the Children’s Advocacy Center’s efforts to provide child abuse victims with access to the specialized medical and mental health treatment they need to heal. The center will also use grant funds to train children, youth and adults in how to prevent, recognize and report child abuse.