The Texas Family and Protective Services Council assists the DFPS Commissioner in developing rules and policies for the department. The council has nine members of the public appointed by the Governor.
Matt Kouri of Austin is president of Good Works Strategic Advisors. He is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Adoption Review Committee. He helped launch and serves as an advisor to Fostering Hope Austin, and is also co-founder and leader of Bridges of Grace Adoption and Foster Care Ministry. Kouri’s term expires Feb.1, 2023.
Cortney Jones of Austin is the Founder and Executive Director of Change 1, a community based organization that collaborates with local agencies and individuals dedicated to foster care alumni success. In addition, she is a motivational speaker and previously worked for Child Protective Services. She is a member of the Child Welfare Race Equity Collaborative Advisory Committee and the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Public Policy and Communications committees. She is a former board member of Adoption Knowledge Affiliates and Head Start Child Inc. and a former member of the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission Foster Care School Discipline Committee. She previously served on the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council, and served as a field instructor with the University of Texas’ School of Social Work. Cortney received a Bachelor in Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Master in Social Work from Texas State University. Jones’ term expires February 1, 2025.
Aureka Simpson of Desoto is a regional human resources business partner for Flowserve. She is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee and the Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council. Simpson’s term expires Feb.1, 2019.
Greg Hamilton of Hutto retired as the Sheriff of Travis County. He is also the former president of FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) Executive Board and the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association. He was a board member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, and a former director and member of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas. Hamilton’s term expires Feb.1, 2021.
Liesa Hackett of Huntsville is an accountant for the City of Huntsville. She is a member of the City of Huntsville Veterans Affairs Advisory Board, former president of the Huntsville Leadership Institute, and former board member of CASA of Walker, San Jacinto, and Trinity counties. Hackett also served in the U.S. Army for 14 years. Hackett’s term expires Feb.1, 2023.
Bonnie Hellums (Chair) of Houston is a visiting judge and previously served for 20 years as judge of the 247th Family District Court in Harris County. She is a former member of the Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth, and Families and a former board member of the Texas Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities. Hellums’ term expires Feb.1, 2023.
Enrique Mata of El Paso is a Senior Program Officer with Paso del Norte Health Foundation. He has more than 20 years of experience in health philanthropy including designing, implementing, and evaluating multi-million dollar initiatives. He is also certified as an advanced public health nurse and advanced nurse executive by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. He is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, and The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association. He serves on the UT El Paso School of Nursing Advisory Board, The El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, and the El Paso 211 Advisory Board. Mata received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UT El Paso and a Master of Science in Public Health from Walden University. Mata’s term expires February 1, 2025.
Omedi “Dee Dee” Cantu Arismendez of Alice is the recruiter and business service representative for Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend at the Alice Career Center. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Alice and a member of the Alice Chamber of Commerce. Arismendez’s term expires Feb.1, 2021.
Connie Almeida, Ph.D., of Richmond is the director of the Department of Behavioral Health Services for Fort Bend County, and is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology with over 35 years of experience working with children and adults with disabilities. During the last decade, she has also worked with courts in Fort Bend and Harris Counties to implement the Infant Toddler Court Initiative. She is a member of the Texas Psychological Association, Lighthouse of Houston Board of Directors, and the Fort Bend CASA Advisory Council. Almeida’s term expires Feb. 1, 2021.