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2023 Child Advocacy Leader of the Year: Crystal Richardson

Crystal Richardson’s contributions to the community of Rockwall County, Texas, have been nothing short of monumental.

The evolution of the brand-new CAC in Rockwall County would not have been possible without Crystal’s tenacity. She has transitioned through various roles, including MDT Coordinator, Family Advocate, Volunteer Coordinator, Forensic Interviewer, and Data Analyst, forming an in-depth understanding of the interdependencies of the numerous services offered by CACs.

For the past five years, Crystal has been a cornerstone of the newly formed Multidisciplinary Team (MDT), working tirelessly alongside other members. Before the CAC’s establishment in April 2018, community partners in the county lacked a collaborative space to conduct their day-to-day investigations. Crystal played a vital role in transitioning early efforts, facilitating dialogue around case meeting criteria, instilling trust, and establishing effective communication strategies. Her persistent adherence to agreed-upon protocols and the celebration of small victories greatly strengthened investigations through a more unified response.

As the leader of the well-attended Adherence Committee, Crystal extends her expertise beyond the MDT investigators and frontline CAC staff. Her team, comprised of middle management from all partner agencies, communicates and reinforces expectations. But more crucially, it strategizes case reviews, supports team-building initiatives, and sets proactive goals responding to themes identified in Outcome Measurement System (OMS) surveys.

In her capacity as the CACRC Leadership team’s crucial member, Crystal’s multifaceted skill set shines brightly. She has become the data analysis specialist, extracting and reporting crucial information from their case management system, an indispensable task for business operations, grant reporting, and decision-making. Her data-driven approach provides a strong backbone to the organization’s strategic plans, initiatives, and development.

Crystal’s formidable leadership extends to her current role spearheading the county’s formal response to the Commercial Sexually Exploited Youth (CSEY) program. She has meticulously crafted a team of specialists tasked with case coordination, forensic interviewing, case management, and data/reporting, offering a collaborative approach for the betterment of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Crystal’s high integrity, political savvy, customer-focused approach, and teamwork are the foundation of her success. Her vision for the best possible outcome for each child’s case and her knack for navigating challenging situations embody her exemplary commitment. Crystal’s remarkable work and unwavering dedication are an invaluable asset to the team and a testament to the difference one person can make in the lives of others.

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