Baitland named child advocate of the year | Community

Dr. Betty Baitland has been honored as the Child Advocate of the Year for 2021 at Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Volunteer Celebration at Sugar Creek Country Club.

More than 220 volunteers, community partners and staff attended.

“This advocate has gone above and beyond, and her actions will have long-lasting impact for the children we serve and for our community,” according to Child Advocates of Fort Bend Chief Executive Officer Ruthanne Mefford.

“Betty has a lifelong passion for children and has dedicated her career to advancing education opportunities and achievement for children and youth across Fort Bend County.

“Betty served has our board parliamentarian for five years, vice president in 2019, president in 2020 and past president for two terms, first in 2021 and then when we invited her back to serve this year for a second term of past president,” Mefford added.

“She was an inaugural member of our Voices for Children sustainable giving program and our Education Council where her vast experience and understanding of resources available to children has informed our educational advocacy for children in foster care.

“She is someone we seek out for advice and to discuss new programming, strategy and fundraising ideas. Betty is a true gem and we honor her for her passion for CAFB, dedication to the children and her incredible generosity.”

Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Susan Brown and Linda Munsie (CASA Volunteers of the Year), Maria Sonnen (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), Michelle Cano (Event Volunteer of the Year), Suzanne Slavin, Mary Titel and Tammy McCall (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year), Vidya Dighe (Children’s Hero), Cindy McCauley (Unsung Hero) and James Steenbergen (Blue Ribbon Award). Juli Johnson was the recipient of the Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. Barrera, a longtime employee of Child Advocates of Fort Bend passed away in early 2017.

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a non-profit agency dedicated to ending child abuse by providing a voice, healing the hurt, and breaking the cycle of child abuse in Fort Bend County.

Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASATM), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates, Child Advocates improves the lives of more than 400 children each month and has served more than 20,500 children since opening its doors in 1991.

The agency’s Through the Looking Glass Gala is set for May 7, 2022. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are still available ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 for this event which helps support Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s programs for abused and neglected children. Individual seats are available for $150. New this year is a Friend Bundle with 2 individual seats, 2 drink tickets and valet parking for one vehicle for $500. To attend the Gala, become a sponsor, donate an auction item or more information, go to or contact Tarina Sheridan at [email protected] or 281-344-5109.

Volunteers are needed to help in the office and Children’s Advocacy Center and help with special events. For more information on how you can get involved with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, contact Volunteer Services at 281-344-5123 or [email protected] or log onto