Office of the Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team April Newsletter

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time to shed light on this issue and to strengthen our shared vision to prevent child abuse. Specifically for the Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT), the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth is top of mind. 

Our vision is that Texas would be a state where children and youth are free from sexual exploitation. This is an aspirational goal, but we believe the work we do alongside each of you brings us ever closer to achieving this reality. We do this through our mission to build sustainable capacity, enhance expertise, promote policies, and create new and leverage existing collaborations to prevent child sexual exploitation, to help survivors heal and thrive, and to bring exploiters to justice.

We are in this together: state, regional, and local agencies, non-profit organizations, and the powerful voices of brave survivors and overcomers. It is amazing to see what we can accomplish when we unite to protect and support our children and youth!

During this month of awareness and prevention, we encourage you to take advantage of the numerous trainings mentioned in this newsletter. Some are discipline-specific, while others are applicable to all. You will also find information on federal funding opportunities, new resources, and an introduction to members of the Child Sex Trafficking Team.

We are so very grateful to each of you for your perseverance in this work and are overjoyed at the privilege to serve you. This April let us commit to reflecting on this work, why it matters, and the impact we each make. Let us do whatever is needed to refuel our passion and step into the space refreshed, so that one day we may see Texas become a state where children and youth are truly free from exploitation.

Together we can, and we will, do this!


Janet Kasper

Training Opportunities

Recorded Webinar: When does Trauma Therapy Become Traumatizing? 

Sarah Hall of the Texas Alliance of Children and Family Services and Julie Prudhome of Garth House joined the Child Sex Trafficking Team on March 30th to provide a thoughtful discussion for service providers to consider when referring survivors of trauma to and/or supporting them with various therapeutic interventions. 

Watch Recorded Webinar 


For a full list of training opportunities, please see the link below.

Additional Training Opportunities

Transforming Cultures of Care: CSEY Advocacy


Transforming Cultures of Care: CSEY Advocacy is a 7-minute video by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. It features individuals who use Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) in their unique roles as advocates for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

Deadline Approaching: Nominations for the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is accepting nominations for the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award. All partners in the effort to end human trafficking are encouraged to submit nominations by the deadline – April 7, 2023. The award will be presented at the agency’s 2023 Summit in August. First awarded in 2019, the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and anti-trafficking initiatives. The award is symbolized by a crystal star because human trafficking is a dark issue and stellar work in the fight against human trafficking shines bright like a star in a dark sky. To nominate, visit the DFPS Light the Way Award Webpage.

Nomination Deadline: April 7, 2023

Federal Funding Opportunities



Social Media Toolkit:

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Spread the word about child abuse prevention is your community with these free tools provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Download the 2023 Social Media Toolkit

2023 Volume 1: Research Resources

2023 CSTT Research Volume I

The 2023 first edition of Research Resources was published in March of this year and offers a new compilation of articles falling under the five strategic areas of the Child Sex Trafficking Team: Protect, Recognize, Recover, Support Healing, and Bring Justice. Access 2023 Research Resources Volume I

Take It Down

Take It Down

In February of this year, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children launched their new tool, “Take It Down.” This free service assists individuals to remove sexually explicit images from the internet that were taken when under the age of 18. Visit the Take It Down Website

Understanding the Roles of Professionals in CPS Cases

Roles of Professionals Involved in a CPS Case

Texas CASA and the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission have develop five handouts and accompanying videos to explain the role of professionals involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. This resources is for all individuals, including caregivers and youth. See Resource

Meet the Team!

As many of you know, the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) has had some leadership and staff transitions over the past year. We are so excited about our current team members, who bring a wealth of expertise, skill and passion to the work they do every day on behalf of Texas’ youth and families. We wanted to take just a moment to introduce you to each team member, and we hope that you have an opportunity to work with them soon!


Janet Kasper - Administrator

Janet Kasper joined the CSTT in 2018 as East Texas Regional Administrator, and was promoted to CSTT Administrator in 2022. Prior to joining the CSTT, Janet served in leadership and staff positions for a variety of client-serving organizations focusing on children, youth and adults experiencing homelessness, those engaged in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and most recently as a crisis rehab counselor in a psychiatric emergency inpatient treatment center. Janet received a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Houston-Downtown and is currently enrolled in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston where she is pursuing a Master of Social Work with a clinical concentration.

Kara Harrington - Associate Administrator

Kara Harrington joined the CSTT as Associate Administrator in 2022, bringing direct service experience and an understanding of children’s advocacy centers, sexual assault programs, and care coordination to her role. Kara is integral to the team’s grant administration and systems-level work. She has a passion for survivor rights and service accessibility, as well as her sweet canine companion, Garth.

Jordann Jezek - Program Coordinator

Jordann Jezek joined the CSTT as Program Coordinator in 2018, bringing a robust knowledge of office policies and procedures from her previous experience in the Office of the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism division. Jordann is integral to the CSTT’s daily operations including administrative functions and external communications. Outside of her passion for helping those in need, Jordann enjoys traveling and her two Golden Retrievers, Bear and Blue.

Caroline Butler - Grant Specialist

Caroline Butler joined the Office of the Governor in 2021, becoming Grant Specialist for the CSTT in 2022. Caroline attended Texas State University, receiving her Bachelor of Public Administration in 2017 and her Master of Public Administration in 2020.  As part of her role, Caroline provides technical assistance to all CSTT grantees. When outside of the office, Caroline enjoys a good book and walking her dog, Abby.

Jessica Hess - Central Texas Regional Advisor

Jessica Hess joined the CSTT in 2022, after five years with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) where she worked collaboratively with multiple organizations and professionals to support youth survivors. As a Regional Advisor, Jessica collaborates with a variety of public and private stakeholders across the Central Texas region to ensure the continuum of survivor care. She has a passion for serving others, as well as exploring the outdoors with her adventure dog, River.

Kellye Turner - East Texas Regional Advisor

Kellye Turner joined the CSTT in 2023.  Kellye graduated from the University of Houston in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and was a member of the University of Houston Lady Cougar basketball team. She successfully completed the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in 2006. Kellye was employed with the Texas Department of Public Safety for over 28 years before her retirement in 2022.  For the last ten years of her career, Kellye served as a Captain in the Houston Criminal Investigation Division.  Kellye, who enjoys cooking and gardening in her spare time, has been married for 29 years and has one 26-year-old daughter.

George Whitmire - North Texas Regional Advisor

Prior to joining the CSTT in 2022, George served in the private sector supporting Department of Defense and Intelligence Agencies Strategic and Operational Initiatives, founded a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and Military Families in the Paso Del Norte Region and served over twenty-four years in the US Army retiring in 2013. He is married to the love of his life, Marisol and has two sons ages 31 and 27.  

Christian Benavides - South Texas Regional Advisor

Prior to joining the CSTT in 2020, Christian Benavides worked for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for 14 years, where he collaborated closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on various cases. His DFPS career highlights include reconnecting a sibling group that had been missing for seven years with their mother in Thailand, and assisting in a highly publicized case involving a polygamist sect. Christian is a co-founder of the Webb County Family Drug Treatment Court, which launched in 2012. Christian is married with three children, and has been an avid drummer since he was a young child. His other hobbies include vegetable gardening, meteorological analytics, storm photography, and saltwater fishing.

Veronica Lowenberg - West Texas Regional Advisor

Veronica Lowenberg joined the CSTT in 2019 after working with the El Paso Center for Children’s Specialized Foster Care Program. Veronica, who graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Religious Studies, has over 25 years of experience working with child protective services, juvenile probation departments and TDFPS licensed operations, and has her Child Placing Agency and Child Care Administrators licenses. Veronica’s passion for children and families stems from growing up in a large family - and raising one of her own!

Report Human Trafficking

If you believe a someone is in immediate danger, call 911.

iWatch Texas – Tips made to iWatch are investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

National Human Trafficking Hotline – Call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Tips made to the hotline are reviewed and routed to local law enforcement. This hotline also offers 24/7 confidential support for survivors. 

Texas Child Abuse Hotline - Report child neglect and abuse, including sexual exploitation of a child, to the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.