Nocona Newspaper article by Tracy Mesler:
“MONTAGUE – With a dozen children in Montague County “awaiting permanent families” through adoption, the Montague County Commissioner’s Court adopted a resolution Friday proclaiming November as National Adoption Month.
Brought by the Montague County Child Welfare Board, the court took time to continue shining the spotlight on the county’s children, those who suffer from abuse, or broken homes due to tragedy or addiction.
“Montague County recognizes the important of giving children permanent, safe and loving families,” said Lara Lierly, vice-chairman of the Child Welfare Board as she read the proclamation to the court.
“Currently we have 54 children in Montague County that are in foster care,” said April Mancilla, representing A World for Children.
Mrs. Lierly was joined by CWB President Austin Wright and Mark Neese as well as Ms. Mancilla in addressing the court.
“Three years ago, there were only 3 (foster) homes. Currently we are serving 20 homes and adding homes this year,” Ms. Mancilla reported to the court which created the Child Welfare Board to address the issue of abused and neglected children in the county.
Herself adopted out of Colorado at the age of 15 to move to Nocona, Mrs. Mancilla brings a perspective of ‘been there’ in her dealings with foster and adopted children and their host families.
“I just look back to my childhood days to help these children,” she frankly told the court.
Mrs. Lierly noted that efforts to reinvigorate the CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate – program is proving successful.
She noted 18 months ago CASE representatives out of Wichita County visited with Wright, pastor of the Nocona Church of Christ and CWB president.
“CASA came to our office and said they were going to pull out of Montague County ‘because we can’t find any volunteers’,” Mrs. Lierly reminded the court.
“And we asked them to please not do that and give us some time.”
Wright noted since then “Our outreach program went for seeing 13 cases to about 40 cases each month.”
“In the last 19 months we went from 1 to train 8 more (CASA volunteers),” Mrs. Lierly said. “By December we will have 29 CASA volunteers in the county,” she said.
She noted that besides the 54 children in foster care, there are another 50 or so children in the county are in family-based services, under temporary care of family members.
“We average around 100 children (in foster care) at all times,” Mrs. Lierly said. It is the needs of those 100 children that the CASA volunteers, the Child Welfare Board and A World for Children are trying to meet.
“Thank you very much for what you do,” praised County Judge Rick Lewis, who noted his wife is a member of the Child Welfare Board and those he is well versed in the needs they are attempting to meet.