BY: STEPHANIE PATRICK
Aldridge named interim executive director of CACDC
Longtime nonprofit leader Dr. Ron Aldridge is the newly named interim executive director of Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County. He oversees daily operations while the nonprofit committed to empowering child abuse victims, their families and the community through education, healing and justice conducts a statewide search for a full-time leader.
Aldridge replaces Dan Leal, who served as Lewisville-based CACDC’s executive director for 15 years and left Aug. 25 to relocate to Central Texas to be closer to family. Leal is the new executive director of Austin-based Seedling Foundation, a nonprofit that provides mentors in schools for children of incarcerated parents.
Leal left quite a legacy, said Aldridge, who considers himself one of Leal’s mentors. Among the center’s accomplishments under Leal’s leadership, according to a recent CACDC press release, include:
- Expanded capacity of CACDC to serve abused children with the completion of a capital campaign to build a 14,070-square-foot facility in Lewisville and the addition of an office in Denton.
- CACDC was selected inaugural nonprofit of the year by the Chambers of Commerce in Southern Denton County. CACDC received numerous other local and state awards and recognitions.
- The agency increased from seven full-time staff and $458,000 annual budget to 22 full-time staff, seven part-time staff and $2.2 million budget.
- A 90 percent conviction rate of adult offenders by the CACDC investigative team.
- Worked with Jenna Quinn, a former CACDC client, and Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, to secure the passage of Jenna’s Law, which served as the catalyst for Children’s Advocacy Centers in Texas to add education to their service delivery.
CACDC also is engaged in a capital campaign to expand its facility in Lewisville.
CACDC serves more than 1,800 people and provides more than 12,000 counseling services per year. The organization has offices in Lewisville and Denton to coordinate investigations, provide victim support and counseling for abused children and nonoffending caregivers.
“They need a place like this where they are accepted, looked after and helped to heal,” Aldridge said.
Aldridge retired as CEO of Health Services of North Texas in May 2013, leading the organization for 12 and a half years. He was a career social work officer in the Army and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Aldridge is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed marriage and family therapist in Texas. After the Army, he served as executive director of Dallas Child and Family Guidance Centers in Dallas.
Aldridge, a Denton resident, has strong ties to CACDC. His wife, Cheryl, is in her second three-year term on the board; she’s taken a leave from the board while he’s in the interim position.
Aldridge, 74, said he doesn’t want the position long term.
“It could be six days to six months,” he said. “The bottom line is we want to make sure we get a very good person for this position. Since they pulled me out of retirement, I can do it until we find that person.”
Among the qualifications listed in the job description are an advanced degree with at least five to 10 years of senior management experience and a track record of leading a regional outcomes-based organization and staff. See full job description here.
Mimi Bishop, CACDC’s development director, said the Executive Committee of the Board Directors is conducting the search. It’s unknown if a leader will be in place when CACDC hosts its 20th anniversary breakfast 7:30-9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at Gateway Center at the University of North Texas in Denton; all proceeds will benefit the expansion project, and CACDC hopes to raise more than $50,000.
CACDC’s website states that the nonprofit saw a 33 percent increase in child abuse investigations in the first six months of this year. The therapy team sees more than 200 clients each week and needs additional space to expand those services and keep up with the needs of fast-growing Denton County.
“Dan puts it very well: ‘Our clients are the bravest kids in Texas,’” Aldridge said.