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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National Pancake Day!

Breakfast Stop Pancakes

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Blue Shirts

Design for the front of the 2017 tshirts

Design for the front of the 2017 tshirts

The Fannin County Children’s Center has designed a new blue shirt for Child Abuse Awareness Month in April 2017. This royal blue shirt still has the “No Excuse For Child Abuse” slogan on the front.

New in 2017 will be that on the back of the shirt there will be the words “I stand up for children” and the names of local businesses, schools, churches, civic clubs or other organizations who make a donation of at least $100 by March 22. A $100 donation will also get the donor 10 shirts in the sizes of their choice.

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.

Go Blue Day is Friday, April 7. It’s a day when people all over the state of Texas wil be wearing blue in support of child abuse victims. Many businesses will choose to wear blue every Friday in April.

Blue Sunday is April 30 and the day in which churches all over the country will be saying prayers for victims of child abuse.

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.

Donation forms are available here
or at the center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham.

For questions, call (903) 583-4339.

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CASA Volunteers Needed

At last check, 12 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.

Most volunteers successfully juggle full-time jobs and families with becoming a CASA.  Most months, volunteers log in 10-15 hours and much of it can be done when it works best for the volunteer.  Volunteers with jobs do need some flexibility to be able to attend court hearings, which are often set for Friday mornings.  Generally, there is 30 days or more notice of when the court hearings will be.

The next volunteer training class is set to start on February 21.  Before classes start, volunteers must complete an application and personal interview.  Training classes will be held from 5:30-9:30 pm on Feb. 21, 23, 28 and March 7, 14 and 21.  Additional reading and learning activities will be done at home by volunteers as part of their training.  Court room observation and swearing-in ceremony will be on Friday, March 24.

More information and volunteer applications are available here

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