The Child Protective Services system in Texas is in deep crisis, underfunded and understaffed, leaving thousands of children at risk of harm in their homes. According to state records, CPS is charged with supervising more than 17,000 children in paid foster care and 11,000 more in other types of care – care by family members or close friends of the birth parents. But the foster care program is overwhelmed, resulting in children sleeping on floors in offices, in motels, and other inadequate and inappropriate shelters. Worse, children fleeing abusive situations are very vulnerable to being caught up in sex trafficking.
Bishop Scott Mayer has announced that the offering taken during the opening worship service at diocesan Convention November 11-12 at All Saints’ Episcopal School will go to two organizations that help children at risk in Tarrant County: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Tarrant County and Traffick911.
If you cannot attend convention or wish to make your offering early, you can do so on the diocesan online giving page. On the form where it says, “Select what your donation will go toward,” click “other” and write in “Convention Eucharist offering.”
CASA of Tarrant County is an organization of volunteer advocates who stand up on behalf of abused and neglected children. About 200 abused and neglected children in Tarrant County are currently waiting on the critical voice of a volunteer advocate. Several Episcopalians already volunteer with CASA.
Traffick911 is a Fort Worth organization formed to free youth from sex trafficking with a three-prong strategy of prevention, identification and empowerment. They work in close partnership with law enforcement. They also have a youth prevention program called Traps, which teaches youth how to #BeSmartStayFree from traffickers by understanding their tricks, traps and lures. In 2016, they piloted a new presentation, Hooked: Porn’s Hold on the Brain, which is an educational session on the neuroscience of pornography and how it drives sex trafficking. Traffick911 was named the 2013 Outstanding Organization of the Year by the Fort Worth Commission for Women with commendations by the Fort Worth City Council, mayor, and a State Senator.