Santa Maria (SMH) was recently the beneficiary of an award from the Texas Bar Foundation for our Court Liaisons Services program, led by Tommy Austin. This program is the only one of its kind in the state and strives to advocate for timely access to care, treatment and services for women involved in criminal justice or Child Protective Services systems in Greater Houston.
As a professional responsible for coordinating logistics for people involved in legal cases,Tommy Austin has been serving the residents of Santa Maria for over 15 years. He works as a go-between for various agencies and individuals helping the legal process run smoothly. The goal of his services is to assist in family reunification. His overall objective is to increase communication and sharing of information between the resident, SMH and the court or Department of Family Services.
In an average year, 5,400 women are served in the program annually. That number has been reduced due to COVID-19, but it is expected that the number will increase once the courts are running normally again. Says Holly, a former resident and beneficiary of Tommy’s expertise, “There was never a time that he did not have time for me. He understood that everything was on the line and helped me keep hope.”
“We are honored to have been chosen by the Texas Bar Foundation for this grant award to support our Court Liaison program. Through this program, Santa Maria advocates for timely access to care, treatment and services for women involved in the criminal justice, or child welfare systems in Greater Houston. Support from the Texas Bar Foundation is so important as the women have no other means to access these services and is especially important now given the impacts of COVID during the last year.” says Nadine Scamp, CEO of SMH.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
We are grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for their recognition and support of this vital service.