Marking the last stretch before summer vacation, May is a time of regeneration and hope. The height of spring, it’s fitting that both Mother’s Day and National Foster Care Month fall during this time of year. And it’s a perfect time to celebrate the work being done to improve experiences for children, teens, and families right here in Central Texas.
In my previous blog series, we emphasized the collaborative, ecosystem approach to improving the experience children and teens have while in the foster care system and promoting successful outcomes. This year, we’re focusing on key moments, situations, individuals, and services that catalyze the turning point that led to healing and resiliency. We’ll be hearing these stories straight from the people we serve.
It takes a community to improve outcomes for foster youth
Every child deserves to reach his or her full potential, and many of those who have endured abuse and neglect need some extra support along the way. In addition to all the usual growing pains, these children wrestle with instability, a lack of guidance, mentorship and trusting relationships with caring adults. Our nonprofit partners strive daily – and often in concert – to provide hope, trusting care, and advocacy to help these kids feel valued and to enable them to grow into healthy adults.
Individually, each of these organizations is both unique and strong. Collectively, they are unstoppable! These are the programs and services they provide:
- Prevention/intervention services
- Healthy relationship education
- Parent coaching
- Court case advocacy
- Child-friendly forensic interviews
- Shelter and housing services
- Counseling and therapy
- Case management and mentoring
- Academic support
- Trauma-informed training and coaching
- Foster/adoptive parent recruitment and support
- Aging-out support
This list goes on and on. These programs and services are empowering children and families to chart their own course. Together, they are building stronger communities with a highly-trained network of caregivers who care deeply about our children’s best interests.
To honor each of them individually, below is a list of our amazing partners doing this work in Central Texas:
- CASA of Travis County
- Center for Child Protection
- Helping Hand Home
- Foster Community
- Partnerships for Children
- SAFE Alliance (merger of Austin Children’s Shelter & SafePlace)
- Settlement Home
- Travis County Collaborative for Children
Together with our partners, our work is designed to reinforce programs and services that are effective, and to provide foster children, teens, and youth a sense of security that will improve their circumstances.
In celebration of National Foster Care Month, we will share the stories of two young women who aged out of foster care and are now making their mark on the world. You will also hear from a foster mom who describes the experience of being a mom to the many children who have come into her family. It really does take a village to protect and support children and families and build strong communities, so please tune in. I promise you’ll feel inspired by their stories!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at any of these organizations, please visit their websites listed above.