History of The Children's Advocacy Center of Greater West Texas

In 1990, Kay Noelke, Community Liaison with the Texas Department of Human Services and Jackie Martin, a volunteer and former Investigator for Children's Protective Services, began working together to explore the concept of a community- based advocacy center for child victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. At that time, the various agencies investigating allegations of child abuse lacked effective coordination. Child victims were interviewed and re-interviewed at different locations by representatives of Children's Protective Services, law enforcement, district attorney's offices, and medical facilities. This uncoordinated investigative process often re-traumatized the very children these agencies sought to rescue. It was felt an advocacy center could bring all professionals together as a team to investigate allegations and provide services for children and families in a less institutional and more home-like environment.

After touring the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center established a year earlier, and assessing its program, Kay and Jackie decided such a program seemed vital and feasible for San Angelo and neighboring towns. They drew up a list of individuals within the community who might be willing to serve as an Exploratory Committee and Board, and made appointments with each one. Every person approached was enthusiastic and agreed to serve on the board.

Charter Board Members included:

  • John Caldwell, Family Law Attorney
  • Rex Cotton, Financial Advisor and Community Volunteer
  • Linda Duncan (Goss), Director - Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Greg Dunham, OB/Gyn. Physician-Shannon Clinic
  • Linda Knightstep, Registered Nurse - Shannon Hospital
  • Dorothy Lane, Community Volunteer
  • Jim Lane, Community Volunteer
  • Jackie Martin, Community Volunteer
  • Craig Meyer, Minister - St. Paul Presbyterian Church
  • Debra Muse, Psychological Counselor
  • Kay Noelke (Vossler), Community Liaison - Texas Dept of Human Services
  • Richey Oliver, Certified Public Accountant - Oliver, Rainey and Associates
  • D'Arcy Poulson, Hospital Administrator - St. John's Hospital
  • Russell Smith, Chief of Police - San Angelo Police Department
  • Steve Smith, Tom Green County District Attorney
  • Diane Wilson, Investigator - Tom Green County District Attorney's office

Brian Martin, an attorney in Midland, volunteered to help create the Articles of Incorporation and initial By-Laws, and assisted in the application for 501c3 Non- Profit status for the organization.

In order to conduct initial business such as grant applications and meetings, the need for an Executive Director became clear; however, funding was not yet in place to hire one. Jackie Martin and D'Arcy Poulson agreed to serve as Co-Directors, and for the first several months they received modest paychecks that were donated back to the project. Earliest funding sources included the Texas Department of Human Services, the United Way of the Concho Valley and the Junior League of San Angelo.

The Charter Board was truly an amazing, synergistic group who worked many hours to develop a strong meaningful mission statement and revised by-laws. At some point early on, it was decided that professionals like the District Attorney, Physician Advisor, CASA Director, Law Enforcement, etc. should be Advisory Board members so that they could remain on the Board without term limits.

Once the Board defined how the program would operate within the community, it sought a location that could be both functional and non-threatening to children and families. After considering several other locations, the Board decided that the Ridgway home located at 317 Koberlin Street (built in 1906 by the Austin family) would make an excellent facility and the Ridgway family agreed to sell it to our organization for that purpose. Grant applications were written and funding procured to purchase, renovate and operate "Hope House", as the Koberlin house was christened. Within a year, the Board hired Stacy Smith (Page) as the program's Executive Director.

From its earliest days, the Children's Advocacy Center has been successful in dramatically improving services to child victims of abuse, coordinated investigation of abuse allegations, and successful prosecution of abuse perpetrators. Its survival and continued growth over the past twenty years is testament to its vital role within our community.

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  • 1990 - Two individuals Kay Noelke and Jackie Martin saw a need for a Children's Advocacy Center in San Angelo, Texas.
  • 1991 - 501c3 non-profit status was granted to the Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County.
  • 1992 - November 11, 1992 the first child was interviewed at the Hope House.
  • 1998 - Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) joins the Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County, Inc.
  • 1999 - Family Enrichment Services was created to offer a whole family approach to strengthening families in the Tom Green County and surrounding areas.
  • 2001 - The Child Fatality Review Team was organized to evaluate child deaths in a 13-county region to improve response to child fatalities and learn what can be done to prevent future child deaths from occuring
  • 2005 - The Concho Valley Family Alliance was created and administered by CAC Tom Green through partnerships between parents, residents, and professionals all committed to child advocacy.
  • 2012 - 20 years of ensuring a safe and nurturing home for every child in our community.
  • 2014 - Family Enrichment Services implements Family Connections, an evidence-based, nationally replicated social work model.
  • 2015 - Strengthening Child Welfare Continuum Group was created with the hopes of strengthening the child welfare system by evaluating policies and filling gaps.
  • 2016 - Hope House implements the Multidisciplinary Enhancement Project (MEP) and begins reviewing the statewide child abuse hotline for Reagan and Tom Green counties, ensuring no child or family slips through the cracks and receives every service they deserve.
  • 2019 - The Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County changes its name to the Children's Advocacy Center of Greater West Texas.

Current Board Members

Rick Mantooth


Sharanda El-Masri

Vice President

Michelle Perkey

Treasurer/Finance Chair

Colleen Haddad


Jeff Curry

Past President

Diane Wilson

Fundraising Chair

Mike Hennings

Member at Large

Cara Barker

Board Member

Tanner Bryant

Board Member

Crystin Darby

Board Member

Fred Key

Board Member

Dr. Robert LeGrand

Board Member

Derek McIntyre

Board Member

James Skinner

Board Member

Monty Stanley

Board Member

Sheila Velarde

Board Member

Shane Wilson

Board Member

Leann Forbes

Advisory Member

Val Frank

Advisory Member

Susan Looka

Advisory Member

Patricia Mertz

Advisory Member

Shelley New

Advisory Member

Patty Stokes

Advisory Member

Carol Whitehead

Advisory Member

Current CAC Staff

Heather Ward

Executive Director

Keren Harris

Executive Assistant

Jacob Bridgeman

Operations Manager

Lindsey Woodruff

Marketing Coordinator

Justin DeLoach

Director of Community Development

Razanna Thomas

Director of Community Engagement

Rebekah Beltran

Volunteer Coordinator

Melody Jeter

Community Education Coordinator

Shirley Davis

Director of CASA

Rachel Wright

CASA Coordinator

Connie Gauwain

CASA Case Manager

Vanessa Dannheim

CASA Case Manager

Jennifer Giese

CASA Case Manager

Maureen Soupiset

CASA Case Manager

Monica Escobedo

Director of Hope House

Jennifer Dube

Hope House Coordinator/Lead Forensic Interviewer

Jennifer Wagoner

Intake Coordinator

Alexandrea Almeida

Intake Coordinator/Forensic Interviewer

Lauren Harrall

Family Advocate

Melody Tait

Family Advocate

Belinda Braly

Director of Family Enrichment Services

Marcy Ash

Family Services Coordinator

Sierra Mullan

Youth Services Coordinator

Camille Duarte

Parent Mentor

Christina Barrera

Parent Educator

Maegan Hard

Parent Educator

Dr. Steffany Homolka


Matt Groth