The Opportunity of the 87th Legislative Session (Meet the Team)

The 87th Legislative Session is underway, and with it comes the opportunity to fight for smart solutions to child abuse and neglect. Now more than ever, the TexProtects policy team is laser-focused on strategies that strengthen families, prevent child abuse, and promote healing during these times of exponential need.

The Plan

COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our already vulnerable child protection system, put unimaginable strain on families with young children, and exacerbated root causes of child maltreatment like substance use and behavioral health concerns. 5,300 more children may be at risk of entering the Texas foster care system as a result and many more will be impacted. Texas cannot afford that additional $4.4 billion price tag nor can our children. Texas must invest in proven programs that prevent abuse and save $1.26-$8.08 per $1 invested by supporting community and family efforts to create safe and nurturing environments for the 7.5 million children who call Texas home. Together, it is time to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t for Texas children and their families across party lines. [link full agenda]

Meet the Team Behind the Plan

Sophie Phillips, TexProtects CEO, has a background in social work. Her passion and interest are in addressing the root causes of child abuse and neglect and creating partnerships to advance state policies and practices.

Jennifer Lucy, Managing Director of Programs, provides leadership, strategy, and coordination for TexProtects policy, research, education activities, and staff. She partners with legislators, staff, and community partners to execute a policy agenda that prevents child abuse and neglect and helps families thrive.

Kerrie Judice, CPS Researcher and Analyst, monitors key CPS and Foster Care issues for the team. Her prior experience as a worker in the CPS system and connections to other child protection partners provides invaluable insight as she advocates for improvements to the Texas child protection system.

Michelle Wittenburg is an external lobbyist whose strategic consultation and connections to the movers and shakers in the Capitol are an invaluable resource to TexProtects.

Jess Trudeau serves as the Director for the Texas Prenatal to Three Collaborative while providing coordination and direction for policy, advocacy, and funding efforts to support Family Connects.

Beth Cortez-Neavel provides organizational and administrative support for the policy team. She uses her journalism background to communicate the most important issues for child protection advocates.

Gloria manages communications strategies for TexProtects and the Texas Prenatal to Three Collaborative. Her goal is to connect the community to our policy recommendations and educational resources.

Why We Do What We Do

Safeguarding today’s children from abuse and neglect is essential to protecting tomorrow’s Texas. If you want to get involved in the process, we put together the six ways you can take action today. Visit [link ] to view the list. The TexProtects team is committed to resourcing you well to use your voice to be a champion for children. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team with questions. We are here for you!

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