Executive Committee

Carlos I. Uresti
Texas State Senator District 19

“The Blue Ribbon Task Force is dedicated to the idea that every child should get a fair chance at life, free of physical and mental abuse, hunger and neglect. It also recognizes that child protection is a responsibility that everyone in the community must share — that in this cause, each child is our own. By providing the information and resources that help make families strong and healthy, the task force and its volunteers look toward the day when all children can live without harm.”

Born and raised in San Antonio in a family with seven siblings, Senator Uresti graduated from McCollum High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves at the age of 18. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Teaching Certificate from St. Mary’s University, and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Senator Uresti rose to the rank of Captain and earned the Navy Achievement Medal during his four years of active duty as a combat engineer. Since graduating from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1992, he has been in private practice in San Antonio.

Senator Uresti raised his two sons, Michael and Carlos, Jr. in the same neighborhood in which he spent his formative years. He became a grandfather on July 22, 2008, when Michael and his wife Jennifer welcomed their first baby, Benjamin Michael.

A 1997 special election to the Texas House of Representatives opened the door to state politics for Senator Uresti. He served in the House for nine years and was the chairman of the Committee on Human Services during the 78th Legislature and the Committee on Government Reform during the 79th Legislature. With his reputation as a fighter for children, seniors and veterans, Uresti was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. He is vice chairman of the Administration Committee, vice chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and sits on the Health and Human Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He has received more than 90 awards and recognitions, including five Legislator of the Year awards for his efforts to combat child abuse.

James S. Castro, LPC, LMFT

Independent Non-Profit & Health Care Consulting

James graduated with his Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from St. Mary’s University and has since become a leader in Texas promoting children and family’s well-being. Currently he’s providing consultation to child welfare, behavioral health care and nonprofit start-ups. He is the former Chief Executive Officer for St. Peter-St. Joseph Children’s Home (St. PJ’s) in San Antonio. James recently participated in the San Antonio FBI Citizens Academy for his work in Child Welfare and in October 2015 was appointed by Governor Abbott to the Texas Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated for Sexual Offenses. He was recognized by Governor Rick Perry in October 2009 and appointed to the Texas State Task Force to Reduce Child Abuse & Neglect. He currently is the Co-Chair with Senator Carlos Uresti for the Bexar County Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Prior to this appointment Castro was appointed by Governor Perry and served six years on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, he also served on the Board of Mental Health America of Texas. His commitment to children and families includes serving as the Chair for the Bexar County Community Resource & Coordination Group (CRCG) for six years, 2002 -2008, as one of the initial leaders for the Bexar County Children’s Diversion Initiative that began in 2007 and also serving the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission as a member of its Models for Change initiative.

He currently holds licenses as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.

Brandy Ralston-Lint

Senior Vice President Corporate Communications at Security Service Federal Credit Union

“It is my honor and privilege to serve as a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. As the mother of two young children, I believe every child deserves to live in a safe, nurturing home. This task force works to achieve that by helping ensure the safety of children who are at risk for or traumatized by abuse and neglect.”

Born in Houston and raised in Arlington, Brandy Ralston-Lint is a native Texan that has called San Antonio home since 1996. With a background in television news, Brandy decided to use her voice to speak up for the most vulnerable victims of abuse, children.

Kathleen A. Fletcher, Ph.D., M.P.H.

President/CEO, Voices for Children of San Antonio

“At the door of a children’s hospital where I once worked and studied was the following: ‘We approach the problems of children with affection, for theirs is the province of joy and good humor; they are the most wholesome part of the human race, for they are freshest from the hand of God.’ I am honored to be chosen to serve on the Blue Ribbon Task Force to protect our most vulnerable children.”

Kathy Fletcher holds a Master’s and Doctorate in Special Education and a Masters in Public Health with emphasis in Community Health. She started her career as a caseworker and teacher in a juvenile court and an academic children’s psychiatric hospital. Her dissertation research was conducted in a regional Newborn Intensive Care Unit with families of hospitalized newborns assessing risk for parenting disorders and maltreatment among parents of these high risk newborns. She continued work with this population of mothers and babies at the Newborn Center at the University of Tennessee where she developed a parent-to-parent program, parent education for teen mothers and developed and coordinated the developmental follow-up clinic. At the UTHSCSA and at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, she participated in developing several local programs in maternal-child health and prevention, including school based clinics in Guadalupe County and the David Christopher Goldsbury Center for Miracles. She was a founding Board member of the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers and Voices for Children of San Antonio. She returned to Voices for Children as President/ CEO in April, 2011. She is the mother of two grown children born in Peru and the delighted grandmother of a toddler, Joshua.

Judge Peter Sakai

225th District Court Judge

Judge Sakai is 54 years old and was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. He graduated from McAllen High School in 1972 and attended then named Pan American University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976 and graduated with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas Law School in 1979. At the age of 27 years old, he was appointed to be the Chief of the Juvenile Section of the District Attorney’s Office. He left the D.A.’s office for private practice. In 1989, he was appointed to be the Juvenile Master/Referee of the 289th District Court (Juvenile Court).

Through Judge Sakai’s leadership, adoption of foster children in Bexar County has increased nearly 1000% from 1995 to 2005. Bexar County routinely leads the State of Texas for the number of foster children with consummated adoptions and permanent homes. For his efforts, President (then Governor) George W. Bush recognized Judge Sakai and his model court on the Governor’s Committee to Promote Adoption.

Judge Sakai is widely recognized in the community as being a leader who works hard to bring new ideas and solutions to help resolve issues of child abuse and neglect and family violence and to constantly challenge all involved in the child welfare system to more effectively serve the families that come into his courtroom and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Judge Sakai is constantly looking for new and innovative ideas to help keep families together and improve children’s lives. Most recently, he has been involved in the planning and building of a national model Bexar County Children’s Court in the historic Bexar County Courthouse, the implementation of a Family Drug Treatment Court for parents with addiction issues who have children in the foster care system and the implementation of the Family Group Conferencing Model to bring families together to promote healing by families.

Judge Sakai is married to Raquel M. Dias-Sakai and has two children, George and Elizabeth.

Kim Abernethy

President/CEO, ChildSafe

Children are our most vulnerable and our most valuable resource…they are the future of our world. ChildSafe is a refuge of safety and healing for children in Bexar County and The Blue Ribbon Task Force brings the will and strength of the our community together to help protect our children…I can’t think of two more important place to focus my efforts.

Kim Abernethy has over 30 years experience in non-profit administration, management, grant writing, marketing, budget development, finance management and program start-ups. Ms. Abernethy is the President & CEO ChildSafe, Bexar County’s Children’s Advocacy Center, the only agency to provide a continuum of care, including medical, therapeutic and advocacy/victim services, to child sexual abuse survivors from the ages of 0 to 18-years of age and their supportive/non-offending family members. She took over the leadership of ChildSafe in September 2010. Prior to taking over the leadership of ChildSafe, Kim was the executive director of the San Antonio River Foundation for three years. Before joining the San Antonio River Foundation, she served as the director of development and operations for seven years at the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne, Texas. Kim worked as a program administrator and a social worker with children and adult mental health services organizations for over 20 years: as a Department Head at MHMRA of Harris county; a Director at Burke Center (MHMR) in Deep East Texas; director of programs and operations at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a Head Start director, and a unit director in residential treatment for children and adolescents. Kim has also served on several non – profit boards throughout her career.

Ms. Abernethy has lived in Texas all her life and hails from the Piney Woods of Deep East Texas. She and her family have lived in the San Antonio region for the past 15 years after making their home in Houston for six years. Ms. Abernethy and her husband Robert have three adult children and two grandchildren and live on 14 acres in Boerne.

Ms. Abernethy has a degree in psychology from Sam Houston State University, with graduate studies at the University of Houston and Stephen F. Austin State University. Her interest and hobbies are nature, gardening, and cooking.