From Staff Reports

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has awarded its 2023 Outstanding Parent Award to Laura Martinez, a volunteer for Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS). Martinez received the honor Sept. 14 at the Partners in Prevention Conference hosted by DFPS in Corpus Christi. 

Recipient of 2023 Outstanding Parent Award, Laura Martinez – Courtesy photo

A mother of three, Martinez felt that she was failing as a mom and enrolled in a PCHAS program, Growing Together, to learn about child development and family relationships. Three years later, she volunteers on the program’s parent advisory council.

Her nomination stated, “Laura is an amazing mom who is really passionate about our community and connecting more parents to the support they need to thrive. She shares with parents that it’s okay to look for support with parenting. She’s helping to break down barriers in the community by changing the conversation and letting people know there’s no shame in asking for help.” 

Martinez has rheumatoid arthritis and experienced days when she was physically unable to hold her youngest child. “She carried a lot of shame with that and was very hard on herself. Now she honors what she can do and asks for help with what she needs,” says Rachel Gillespie, Growing Together director.  Martinez shares her parenting story with other caregivers and helped plan a program for parents on protecting children from sexual abuse. 

The program teaches the Trust-Based Relational Intervention curriculum as well as the Circle of Security Parenting curriculum. It also hosts a monthly support group, The Parent Café, in Corsicana. In Navarro County it receives United Way funding. More information is available at or by phoning 800-888-1904. 

DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters and staff Sascha Rasco and Sarah Abrahams congratulate Laura Martinez as Outstanding Parent of the Year.  – Courtesy photo

About the Partners in Prevention Conference, from DFPS – Partners in Prevention Conference (

The Partners in Prevention Conference is the largest annual gathering of prevention and early intervention professionals in Texas. The conference attracts parent educators, youth service providers, civic leaders, policy advocates, researchers, DFPS staff, Prevention and Early Intervention grantees, and others with a professional interest in child and family well-being, youth development, and juvenile justice. Attendees benefit from a wide variety of presentations, including but not limited to, lived experience from parents and youth, fatherhood engagement, ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion, program evaluation, home visiting, and positive youth development.

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