With generous support from the Rebuild Texas Fund, The Center's Healing from Harvey program has provided over $1.8 million in funds for 29 different projects throughout the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. These projects varied in their size and scope, but were designed to rebuild foster capacity, mitigate existing trauma for children in foster care, and/or prevent at risk children, youth, and families from being involved in the foster care system. In addition to the grant program, staff from The Center were working to make sure that child welfare organizations are prepared for the next natural disaster through the development of trainings on emergency preparedness and organizational resilience building.
In partnership with Rebuild Texas, the Center staff developed Emergency Preparedness Training courses available to foster parents and child welfare professionals seeking to further their education and earn CEU credits. Participants learned tips on how to prepare their families and communities for natural disasters, lessons learned from survivors of Hurricane Harvey, and how to develop internal resilience to combat compassion fatigue.
JUDICIAL PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TEXAS CHILDREN'S COMMISSION
The Texas Children's Commission is using funds from a Federal Court Improvement Program grant to staff a continuous quality improvement (CQI) analyst to support the judiciarys efforts at improving permanency outcomes for children and youth in foster care. Our CQI analyst is using court and child welfare data to inform the judiciary about child protection systems at both statewide and local levels, in addition to providing data analysis support on special projects and assisting courts in embedding continuous quality improvement into court processes.
We are currently partnering with DFPS, HHSC, and Casey Family Programs on a needs assessment project to help the state plan for the implementation of the Family First Act. We are conducting a statewide survey of organizations who provide mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, or parent training services. The survey will assess whether there are gaps in state's current capacity to meet the eligibility requirements for prevention services funding under the Family First Act. The findings from the survey will inform DFPS's implementation of the new law, and give service providers a chance to give input that will inform the implementation process. The survey was deployed in mid-July and will close in mid-August, with findings for public consumption expected to be available in early 2020.
The Office of the Governor has funded this project to assess the landscape of prevention and treatment services for victims of minor sex trafficking victims in the state. As the need for these services continues to grow, our team is working to identify potential gaps and determine what supports are needed to serve this vulnerable population.
In partnership with the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Institute for Child and Family Well Being, the Texas Permanency Outcomes Project (TXPOP) is building a new practice approach with flexible tools for public and private child welfare agencies across Texas to connect children to their birth families regardless of their permanency outcome. We believe that working with birth families helps children regardless of whether a child is adopted, reunified or ages out of foster care. Ultimately, we believe all roads lead home because children can and should have multiple permanent connections.
The Center and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) are partnering to officially begin initial Community Based Care readiness efforts in Region 3, specifically in catchment areas 3a and 3c. The goals of this project are to unify stakeholders, identify capacity and service needs in the region, and ultimately to improve child welfare services, quality of care, and capacity in Region 3. In partnership with the Center, MMHPI will produce an environmental scan of the Region 3 to discover strengths and areas of growth in the child welfare system, which ideally will be utilized to inform future Community Based Care implementation.
Through funding provided by Houston Endowment, this project is working to improve the quality of the child welfare system and further the already existing Community Based Care readiness efforts in Region 6a. This will be accomplished by increasing collaboration and establishing the steps needed to improve the quality and effectiveness of services across the regions child welfare system. During the initial phase of the project, a community needs assessment and environmental scan was conducted by the Hackett Center (THC) at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, which is being used to inform and to identify the needs of children and youth in care, to gauge current provider capacity to address those needs, and to ultimately inform the needs and direction of CBC implementation throughout Region 6a.