About Us

The Travis County Children's Protective Services Board is comprised of up to 15 members appointed by the Travis County Commissioners for three year terms. Members volunteer their time and talents to advocate for the protection and well-being of those Travis County children who are in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) Child Protective Services Division.

Our mission and authority

Our mission is to:

  • Provide financial support for the special needs of children in the care of TDFPS
  • Educate our community about child abuse and neglect issues
  • Support and provide a liaison between Travis County Child Protective Services workers and the public by increasing our community's awareness of child welfare program policies and needs.

As a county Children's Protective Services Board, we are mandated by statute to provide coordinated state and local public welfare services for children and their families and for the coordinated use of federal, state, and local funds for these services.

What We Do

Financial assistance

Under the auspices of the Travis County Commissioners Court, we fulfill our mission by providing financial assistance for children in substitute care (foster care, kinship care, group homes, and/or residential treatment centers) to pay for such items as clothing; extraordinary medical and dental expenses; psychological evaluations; life skills training; and educational needs.

Sponsors events and educates community

Additionally, the Board sponsors and/or assists with such regular local events as the Prom Project, National Adoption Day, Light of Hope, and recognition of foster children who graduate from high school.

Finally, the board provides support to local CPS staff and educates the Commissioners' Court and the Travis County community about Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' policies and the needs of at-risk children. Combined, these actions by the board augment the effectiveness of statewide and county programs for child protection.

Reports

Initiatives

Youth Aging Out Committee

Supports transition of foster youth to adulthood

Youth Aging Out of Foster Care is a committee created in response to concerns about the relatively high risks these youth face when they exit foster care, such as homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and further exploitation.

The mission of this committee is extend the goals of CPS – safety, permanency, and well-being – into adulthood for foster youth in Travis County.

Efforts to date include providing a report on the results of our community needs survey and outcome data to the Commissioner's Court in April of 2008, and starting a subcommittee of the Ready by 21 Coalition to coordinate the expertise and efforts of multiple stakeholders in the community concerned with better supporting the successful transition of foster youth to adulthood.

Safe Kids Fund

Non-profit that raises funds to support children, families, and CPS

The Travis County Children's Protective Services Board established and operates a small non-profit corporation, Children's Protective Assistance, Inc. dba Capital Area Safe Kids Fund. The fund is used to raise charitable dollars to support children, families, and CPS.

Other benefits of the fund are flexibility and quickness. The fund is able to pay for needed items that the state or Travis County cannot or will not fund. The fund can make emergency payments or pay items more quickly than government payments can be made. This helps bring services to children or families more quickly and often with less of a burden on CPS caseworkers.

Raise Me Up Partnership

Campaign to bring awareness to foster children

The board is partnering with Casey Family Programs to help launch the "Raise Me Up" campaign aimed at sparking community involvement to help the more than 500,000 children in America's foster care system. Austin will be the first city in the nation to host "Raise Me Up," an intensive public awareness campaign that will employ compelling ads for television, billboards, print and radio during the next two months highlighting the challenges facing children in foster care – and what individuals, families and communities can to do help.

"Raise Me Up" is sponsored by Casey Family Programs, the nation's largest operating foundation dedicated to improving foster care. In close collaboration with Texas Child Protective Services, raisemeup.org will provide opportunities for people to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care by connecting them with organizations like the Travis County Children's Protective Services Board and events in the Austin area. This campaign will harness the vast power of communities, families and individuals who are willing to raise their hands and help bring real change to the lives of vulnerable children.

By partnering with the Casey Foundation, our board strives to inspire action and engagement to strengthen families and improve the lives of foster of children. More than 28,000 of the nation's children living in out-of-home care are in the Texas foster care system. Children who grow up in foster care disproportionately experience homeless, unemployment and prison. "Raise Me Up" aims to motivate caring adults to guide vulnerable children to a brighter future.

This campaign will include the airing of the new ads, which bring much-needed attention to the vast number of young people in the nation's foster care systems and the difficulties they ultimately face without caring adults to intervene to help them.

Networking

Helpful Links

The board is in the process of coordinating efforts with other local agencies and boards who also address the needs of at-risk children to establish more comprehensive support of children in care and educational programs. Many of these organizations are listed below.

Current Board Members

Chairperson:

Carole Hurley, J.D.

Vice Chairperson:

Maya Guerra Gamble, J.D.

Treasurer:

Lauren Waters

Secretary:

Jessica Boston, LMSW

Members

Alexandra Ely, M.D.
Angelica Salina Evans, J.D.
April Ferrino, LMSW
Beth Gerlach, PhD, LCSW
Fairy Davenport Rutland, J.D.
Jessica Cottey, MD
Kori Gough
Sam C. Wilson
Ashley Harris
Charles Gaines
Sharmae M. Erickson

Ex-Officio Members

Sharon Berger
Texas DFPS

Laura Peveto
TCHHS-Office of Children Services

Sherri Fleming
TCHHS

Chief Estela Medina
TC Juvenile Probation

Trevon Harris
Youth Member

Get Involved

How you can help

Monetary donations of any size are welcome and go directly to help Travis County children in foster care or who have been or are at risk of child abuse or neglect. Donors may write a check to Safe Kids Fund (see description above) and will receive a written acknowledgment for their tax-deductible contribution.

In the past, donated funds have provided assistance to local, at-risk children in the form of mental health assessments, services for special needs children such as summer camps and college scholarships for foster children, also, the fund helped by paying fees required of adoptive and foster parents, and has purchased beds to help relatives assume the responsibility of taking custody of the children of their relatives.

Children's Protective Assistance, Inc.
dba Capital Area Safe Kids Fund
P. O. Box 1792
Austin, Texas 78767-1792
traviscpsboard@gmail.com