We had the good fortune of connecting with Shearrhea Fletcher and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shearrhea, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I volunteered for many years after my children were born and throughout their lives of growing up. Although I worked, attended undergrad school, married, and raising children, I found volunteering a pathway toward my true purpose in life. I took my own childhood experiences as a stepping stone platform that God had intended me to follow by allowing me to go through so much as a young girl and carried all of into my adulthood. All the experiences and education I endured; it was time for me to do something with it. It wasn’t until I completed Graduate school and additional trainings when the thought of having my own practice crossed my mind. At first it was just a thought and then it became a reality when a colleague confirmed the thought by offering a space in her office. Many nights my husband Charles and I sat up talking about it and praying for a place to lease. After a presentation to a class one Saturday, I got a call from my colleague saying how well I did, how I should be moving forward with my dreams and making it a reality. That conversation opened the doors to a lifelong passion that God had been preparing me for over many years of volunteering and education. I had the degrees, the training, the license and the right people in place and the space, now all I needed was the name of my business. C.H.I.L.D. (Children Healing In Love and Development) Advocate Agency name came with intense thought. I took all of my childhood experiences, all the volunteering I’ve done within the Welfare System, the children I have encountered over the years in the system and not to mention my own children into consideration. I thought about what I would have wanted and needed as a child growing up without my parents and siblings. The reasons of the separation and division within my family and how I would have been a different person if I could have healed from my past and developed earlier in life without taking any of it into my adulthood.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Yes, Children Healing In Love and Development Advocate Agency is solely owned by me. I opened the doors in April 2018, located in Stafford, Texas where I share an office space with Dr. Alice Millsap of ASAP Counseling. I initially started my practice as an Independent Child Advocate, advocating for children who are dealing with family crisis such as child and sexual abuse, domestic violence, divorce and child custody cases only. I am a Board-Certified Christian Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Christian Therapist, counseling children and families in these predicaments. I am now providing services for children and families as a Professional Supervised Visitation and Exchange Monitor for parents who are court ordered through the drug courts, parents that have domestic violence and/or child abuse issues, and parents that have been recently released from prison. I facilitate parent and co-parent classes one on one, couple, or as group, and special needs; most court cases require parents to take parenting classes as part of them completing services to have a child/ren back into the home and reunited.

We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others.
What sets me apart from other programs and agencies is that I am an independent Child Advocate and now a LoneStar LEND (Leadership Education in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Professional Fellow. I just completed a 10-month fellowship training program designed to develop leaders in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities (IDD, ADHD). Most of my clients are children on the spectrum and require educational services. I advocate for special needs by attending ARD meetings and teach parents how to advocate for their own child/ren in these meetings by understanding the IEPs and 504 plans along with testing scores. I am currently part of an ongoing project with UT Health partnering with Autism Speaks proposing an alternative approach to continuing medical education (CME) for Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) relative to the importance of routine developmental surveillance and screening; in particular, to demonstrate why PCPs cannot possibly identify most ASD cases in a Well Child Checkup. Although there are so many services and resources available to parents, Children Healing In Love and Development provides these services under one roof.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
“Spanky’s Pizza” for being my “go to” restaurant in my times of comfort, relaxation and pure fun. During my stressful moments and some “me time”. This place has been there since my high school years at Milby High in the 80s. My children grew up eating Spanky’s pizza and now taking their own children. We have family gatherings, date night, and old high school meet ups at Spanky’s. Best pizza!!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like a big shout to my husband Charles, my rock and my shoulder to lean on. Charles have encouraged me, believed in me and my dream of C.H.I.L.D. Advocate Agency from day one of us dating before marriage, he pushed me, stayed up late with me studying, and rubbing my feet. But mostly, for praying with me and over me. Also, Dr. Alice Millsap of ASAP Counseling. She is a great mentor and trusting me by being obedient to God and listening to him. She has encouraged me every step of the way since I was a student in her first Christian Counseling class in 2016. What I didn’t see in me, she seen. My Pastor and First Lady Thaddeus and Desiree Eastland; great leaders of the word of God and examples. My parents, all of my aunts and uncles for playing the role in my life growing up and still today, my brother Gerald especially for pouring and pulling out of me the things I felt fearful of, but he sees as opportunity and passion. My Aunt Retta for my company designs and my cousin Kathy’s slogan for my company: “We exist because EVERY child needs a loving environment to develop”

Website: www.advocatethechild.com
Instagram: Shereefletc
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/shearrhea-fletcher-independent-child-advocate
Twitter: Child_AA
Facebook: C.H.I.L.D. Advocate Agency