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TexProtects to Honor Zerwas, Etheridge and CPS Caseworkers at Annual Awards Gala Presented by Alliance Data

TexProtects to Honor Zerwas, Etheridge and CPS Caseworkers at Annual Awards Gala Presented by Alliance Data

October 4, 2017
Contact: Lee Nichols, TexProtects, 512-796-9877 or [email protected]

Media Alert for October 11, 2017

Dallas, Texas — For the fourth consecutive year, Alliance Data will serve as the $75,000 Presenting Sponsor of TexProtects’ Annual Awards Gala, an event that will honor State Rep. John Zerwas, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Susan Etheridge, Executive Director of CASA of Collin County, accepting on behalf of all current and former Texas Child Protective Services Caseworkers.

The 2017 TexProtects Awards Gala Honorary Chairs are Sally and Forrest Hoglund and Event Chairs are Whitney and Rob Strauss.

Where: Union Station, 400 South Houston Street, Dallas, Texas 75202
When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Reception: 6:00 pm-7:15pm
Dinner/Awards/Speaker/Auction: 7:15pm-9:30pm (time subject to change)

The Honorable John Zerwas will be presented with TexProtects’ “Children’s Champion Award” for his steadfast leadership in guiding the state budget process during the 85th Texas Legislature earlier this year. Despite a tight budget year, Chair Zerwas recognized that CPS and Texas’ foster care system urgently needed greater resources. Zerwas ensured that the biennial budget included an extra $500 million for CPS, including badly needed $12,000 pay raises for caseworkers and hundreds of extra hires to reduce employee turnover and lower average caseloads; increased financial support for kinship caregivers, diverting children from expensive foster care; and an additional $10 million for prevention programs that keep children from ever needing CPS in the first place.

Susan Etheridge will receive TexProtects’ “Children’s Hero Award” on behalf of all current and former CPS caseworkers for the brave work they perform for Texas children. Etheridge is highly respected in the child protection community – she currently serves as Executive Director of CASA of Collin County, and preceded that work with many years as a CPS Program Administrator. Susan has continued to speak out, advocating on behalf of CPS caseworkers for better pay, work conditions and workload.

In addition to Alliance Data, event underwriters also include Madeline and Jim McClure, Lisa K. Simmons, and Mary and Steven Watson, all at the $25,000 level, and $10,000 sponsors AdvoCare, Atmos Energy, John and Dorothy Castle, Serena and Tom Connelly, Rob and Linda Graham, John and Pat Harloe, the Hoglund Foundation, Margot and Ross Perot and the Sidhu-Singh Family Foundation.

Funds raised through the gala provide operating support to TexProtects, which strives to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect trauma through research, advocacy and education at a statewide level. The Dallas-based nonprofit effects change by mobilizing support and educating the public, legislators and other decision makers, community leaders and stakeholders to advocate for increased investments in evidence-based child abuse prevention programs, Child Protective Services (CPS) reform and treatment programs for victims.

“The 85th Texas Legislative session was a landmark one for Texas children,” said TexProtects CEO Madeline McClure. “Before the session began, Governor Abbott declared child protection an emergency item, and Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Straus, and many lawmakers made it a priority. Thanks to our generous supporters, TexProtects was an influential player in the session, producing research reports, engaging with lawmakers, testifying on major bills and securing much-needed financial resources for prevention and CPS in a challenging budget climate.”

Event sponsors to date:

75,000 Presenting Sponsor
Alliance Data

$25,000 Children’s Champion
Madeline and Jim McClure
Lisa K. Simmons
Mary and Steven Watson

$10,000 Children’s Protector
Atmos Energy
John and Dorothy Castle
Serena and Tom Connelly
Rob and Linda Graham
John and Pat Harloe
The Hoglund Foundation
Margot and Ross Perot
Sidhu-Singh Family Foundation

$5,000 Children’s Defender
Anthony Family Foundation
Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge
Brenda and Bob Barkley
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Helen and John Carona
Debra and Michael Decker
Fluor Corporation
Jane Gilday
Mary and Eric Laub
Kelly and Kenneth Luttmer
The Honorable Ann and Fred Margolin
Mandy Price and Bennie King
Southwestern Medical Foundation/UT Southwestern Medical Center
Whitney and Rob Strauss
Stacey and Reid Walker

$2,500 Children’s Advocate
Lucy and Henry Billingsley
Central Market/H-E-B
Dr. Fred and Shannon Cerise
Children's Health
The Davis Advocates
The Honorable Maurine Dickey
The Eugene McDermott Foundation
Mary Clare Finney
Lyda Hill
Susan and Albert Hoover
Lyssa Jenkens and Trish Houck
Margaret and Lester Keliher
Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows
Susan and Andy Nace
Ray and Denise Nixon
Mary O’Keefe - Realtor, Coldwell Banker
Tegwin and David Pulley
Katherine and Eric Reeves
Chris and Dick Rogoff
Edward W. Rose III Family Fund of The Dallas Foundation
The Honorable Florence and Howard Shapiro
Ann Stuart Ph.D.
Greg Swalwell and Terry Connor
Mike and Mary Terry
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
Alice Wong


TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, was created to tackle issues of Child Protective Services (CPS) reform, prevention and public awareness to bring a collective, organized voice representing the needs of children at risk of abuse and survivors of child abuse and neglect. The organization is autonomous, nonpartisan and nonpolitical, designed to educate decision makers, private funders and the public at large. To date, it is the only Texas organization that has a dedicated focus on the main issues of protection, prevention, and healing of abused and neglected children. For more information, please visit www.TexProtects.org.

Posted on October 5, 2017.

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