Increase visibility of women in Tarrant County
Foster relationships with other influential people
Assist in agenda building of our communities
For January's Advocacy Deep Dive we welcomed Shellie Velasco, Chief Program Officer at Alliance For Children. Alliance for Children (AFC) celebrates 30 years of service to Tarrant County having started in 1992. Their mission is to protect Tarrant County children from abuse through teamed investigations, healing services and community education. Ms. Velasco has served AFC for 14 years.
Alliance For Children has lessened the post-trauma process for children to not have to be interviewed multiple times (which often creates more trauma.) AFC's many partners include Cook Children's and 31 law enforcement agencies. They also partner with 900 agencies across the United States. AFC receives funding from all of their partners. There is no charge for families and children who need their services.
When a school counselor needs to refer a case, they will first go through law enforcement agencies and then those agencies involve Alliance For Children. Some of the newer types of cases include internet crimes. Sadly, technology is often an element in many cases. Not only does AFC help kids, but they also train school teachers and staff on recognizing if a child has experienced abuse. Family advocacy provides numerous resources for families in the aftermath of abuse.
Recent legislation has been both helpful and a hindrance for AFC. While some new legislation is good on paper, the reality doesn't always benefit. For example, Texas has created more steps to get abuse education and information into the school systems. Steps like requiring school board approval and signed parental consent forms can prevent some children from being helped. This is especially true if the abuser is also the parent.
Women's Policy Forum can advocate support on an individual level by referring individual places such as a church or any organization where adults are alone with children to Alliance for Children to review.
Volunteers are always needed in areas such as Kids Crew, Special Events, and Holiday Drives. Even volunteering just one day in a calendar year is helpful and needed. To volunteer please email Ms. Velasco at email@example.com
Report abuse at this hotline: 1-800-252-5400
See the presentation here.
"Breaking the Cycle" with Chris Butler, Executive Director and Kathryn Thalken, Sr. Director of Programs, The Parenting Center
On January 12th, our first luncheon for 2022 was virtual. We welcomed Chris Butler and Kathy Thalken of The Parenting Center. (TPC) The Parenting Center is trying to break the cycle of child abuse that has happened for generations. Shockingly, animals received protection by law before children. Child abuse was not even considered criminal until the late 1960s. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act wasn't passed until 1974, just one year later, The Parenting Center (1975) was founded as a task force of the Junior League. Today TPC serves caregivers, children and everyone in between. They have numerous clinical offerings like Nest Parenting Program and Nurturing Program. We learned, sadly, that Tarrant County has the third highest number of reported child abuse cases. ACE statistics were shared which showed how childhood events can affect physical health in adulthood. Ms. Thalken encouraged advocacy and making a difference by getting involved with any organization that works with children. The slide deck presentation for Mr. Butler can be seen here and Ms. Thalken's can be seen here.