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  • January 02, 2019 2:53 PM | Sarah Combs Boruff (Administrator)

    A Guide to Increasing Your Reach on Facebook  

    Facebook is a global social platform that billions of people use daily to connect and engage with their families, friends, and communities. Specifically for TACFSFacebook has been incorporated into our goals to elevate the issues, research, work, stories, and events surrounding our constantly changing field of serving children and youth.  Our hope is that these tips will help you to dive into 2019 with a few new ideas up your sleeve to elevate your social media presence! 

    It is important to note that Facebook’s algorithm shifts on a frequent basis. Our favorite resource used to check in on these updates is Sprout Social- a team of social media experts that provides social solutions and strategies. Our team understands the necessity of providing for the well-being of the children, youth and families in your care, and the limited funds that leaves available to grow your organization’s social media footprint. This is why implementing “organic”(or “free”) reach strategies around Facebook’s algorithm is so important.   

    As a non-profit organization, we have found the following ways to increase our organic reach by 389.4% in the past 6 months.  

    1) Videos Videos Videos  

    The 2018 Facebook algorithm loves videos. The ability of videos to go VIRAL in a matter of moments is part of what truly makes digital engagement so unique. People are inspired by the authenticity of a brand or mission that is so clearly communicated by a video’s testimonial, background music, or b-roll (video footage of your youth and families). For best results on Facebook, we recommend creating and posting videos less than 90 seconds. As many of you have already discovered through your own video explorations, the response a video can have on our surrounding communities is undeniably impactful and is sure to help us accelerate our missions moving forward. The work of each of our members is beyond inspiring, and videos are a modern way to share your organization’s individual efforts that uniquely impact positive change in child welfare. If you are curious about implementing videos into your social strategy this 2019, or if you'd like to learn best practices for re-purposing your existing videos, you can sign up for notifications through Sprout Social's, Always Up-to-Date Social Media Video Specs blog. 

    2) Tag everything and everyone you can!   

    With every post, there is almost always an opportunity to make a “smart tag.” A great example of a “smart tag” is sharing articles and news releases while remembering to tag the respective newspaper, radio or TV agency. This tactic is especially effective when the agency tagged has a large following or a similar target audience. For example, our organization often tags DFPS, our state partner in many of our work endeavors, who has a following of 20,000. Tagging your location is another easy way to increase your reach via a “smart tag.”   

    3) Solidify social media partners  

    Because the TACFS’s organizations serve children, youth and families across the entire state in a variety of ways, we as a team, have access to a network of thousands of partners in child welfare through social media. A great way to strengthen this niche network of support is to create a simple smart social strategy of consistently sharing each other's content. To read a more in depth break down of this strategy check out #9 on this blog written by Neil Patel (a friend of Sprout Social). 

    4) Live it up on Facebook Live!   

    Perhaps the most fun tool added to Facebook in 2016  is the ability of our pages to “Go Live” in an instant. “Going Live” is especially effective in increasing reach because every follower online in that moment will receive a notification that you are “Live” with the option to tune into your video! Increasing video views through Facebook Live will often lead to followers sharing your video, spiraling your engagement rate up on the Facebook algorithm, and inevitably increasing your reach. 

    The purpose of all the tactics described above is to increase “engagement” of social media users which will ultimately increase organizational reach. Video views, “smart tags,” Facebook “shares”, and Facebook Live are a just a few ways to immediately start spreading the incredible work of your organization for FREE! 

    Curious to learn more? To access an in depth list of how to increase your organic Facebook reach this year, click here.  And, as always, if you need any help – just give TACFS a call or reach out to our Member Services Coordinator:  Jenn Vigh (jvigh@tacfs.org)

  • November 13, 2018 8:32 AM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    Regaining a sense of normalcy and managing the after effects of a traumatic event would be challenging for any person, but the toll of Hurricane Harvey created a unique and critical need to support the state’s foster care children, families and organizations that work with these at-risk youth and families.

    If you only look with your eyes, Houston, Beaumont and the Texas Gulf Coast appear healed, largely put back together physically, but there is an emotional toll that is more lasting.

    The emotional and behavioral impact after surviving a natural disaster the sheer size and scope of Hurricane Harvey is extensive. That’s why The Texas Center for Child and Family Studies’ Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grants are so important.

    The monies from Healing from Harvey are helping organizations like Promise Rose address post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression through truly innovative, holistic models of care and treatment. There’s a practical benefit to Promise Rose’s program, too. It’s equipping its participants with the skills, confidence and vision they need to pursue successful careers in the future.

    Promise Rose’s Art of Life program is designed to tap into kids’ gifts. Program director Donte Abram explained, “Our Art of Life program is designed to bring different artists and types of work into different points of view. Life is about art. There is art in everything we do.”

    From street art to DJ, photography to fashion and dance, and wildlife to cinematography, the Art of Life program is designed to help kids better cope with daily stress through art and cultural programming. It’s also about introducing them to long-term careers and areas of further study, reducing the likelihood that members of this vulnerable population will end up homeless or incarcerated.

    Promise Rose’s work also connects these young people with their community, introducing them to artists and experts in their respective fields, who in turn also share their own personal stories of overcoming trauma, stress, abuse and neglect in their own lives.

    Each program area has enrolled anywhere from 13 – 30 students, allowing these children to explore therapy and coping measures through their art and creativity. More than 71 percent of participants say the Art of Life program has helped them realize a useful long-term solution to help resolve or overcome barriers that the trauma of Hurricane Harvey caused in their lives.

    The Art of Life is transforming lives, and we’re grateful for Promise Rose’s efforts. Promise Rose and its programming are Harvey Heroes.

  • November 07, 2018 12:00 PM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    As an elementary school teacher working with a high-risk student population, Mary Jones understood more than most the many needs of children in the foster care system. Never one to just stand by, while still in her mid-twenties and single, she adopted a daughter. Then she and her first husband had two biological children. When Mary married her second husband John many years later, she found in him a like-minded and compassionate partner who genuinely loved caring for children, and he became a surrogate parent to her children.

    Interested in providing even more children with love, security and a good home, Mary and John came to DePelchin Children’s Center in 2015 to become foster parents, with the hope of eventually adopting. Since then, they have provided a loving and caring environment for five children, even through the adversity of one of Houston’s worst natural disasters – Hurricane Harvey.

    Mary and John Jones had just completed extensive renovations on their home made necessary by the “Memorial Day Flood” of 2016. After a year of living in whichever part of the house was not being repaired, the family was finally able to say goodbye to contractors and take back their home. But when Hurricane Harvey struck one short month later in August 2017, their house was destroyed once again. The devastating floodwaters that accompanied the storm reached almost to their roof. The family lost everything.

    Staying strong in the face of adversity, John, Mary and the two foster children they were caring for – with hopes to adopt – sought refuge first in a hotel room, then transitioned into a rental house, all while continuing to pay the mortgage on their flooded home. Throughout the many changes and challenges to their lives, caring for infant Caron and toddler Camille remained the Jones’ top priority.

    Tammy McShepherd, their DePelchin Clinical Case Manager, provided a great deal of emotional support to the family and helped communicate their needs to agency staff who were gathering supplies for DePelchin families affected by the storm. Through these efforts, the Jones were provided with cleaning supplies, new clothing for the children, resources to secure new furniture for their rental home, money to cover a percentage of rent while their home was being repaired, and once they were back in their home, new smoke detectors and a natural gas inspection.

    Because of their courage and dedication to their foster children, and with the financial and emotional assistance provided by the DePelchin’s Children’s Center and the Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grants, the Jones have now fulfilled their dream of adopting Camille and Carson. They’re true #HarveyHeroes.

  • October 26, 2018 2:00 PM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    More than a year after one of the worst hurricanes to ravage Texas hit our coastline, it’s easy to assume recovery efforts have mostly addressed the needs of Texas’ Gulf Coast and Houston area communities. But the need is still there, and the effects of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for years or a lifetime.

    This is especially true for at-risk children and those in the state’s foster care system, who have already endured substantial trauma in their life. For Sheltering Harbour, one of The Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grantees, the funds were a true blessing for the organization’s efforts to help young people heal from the trauma of abuse and what Harvey inflicted on them personally and the larger community.

    Residents of Sheltering Harbour are typically admitted because they are more challenging to place in foster care. Many are older. All residents attend Klein Independent School District (KISD), one of the higher rated districts in the region. Sheltering Harbour’s programming formed the basis of KISD’s larger Therapeutic Education Program (TEP).

    The organization’s reach and impact is extensive, but when Harvey hit, Sheltering Harbour turned to the local community and later the Texas Center for Child and Family Studies’ Healing from Harvey program to help get back on their feet, continue and expand upon their in-district and in-facility therapies.

    Sheltering Harbour is using their grant to expand upon a proven program that’s helped young girls address their past trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and ongoing anxiety.

    Diana Day is a registered RYT500 certified yoga instructor, specializing in teen yoga and meditation. Before the hurricane hit, she was already developing and expanding the program to include art, gardening, general exercise and hygiene—taking a whole child approach to her work with girls at Sheltering Harbour.

    Day’s yoga-based program includes a 15-minute module on yoga and meditation, intended to provide short and long-term support for managing girls’ PTSD and anxiety. When the module is done properly, the yoga and meditation can impact blood pressure, increase serotonin levels and help foster a feeling of calm. Each Sheltering Harbor resident attends art enrichment, two yoga classes, a PTSD counseling class and three enrichment classes each week.

    The organization’s yoga program is reaching more children thanks in large part to the Healing from Harvey grant, and the positive outcomes are incredibly encouraging.

    Take one girl, who entered Sheltering Harbour after her mom died from a drug overdose. This young girl felt like her mother’s death was her fault, but the Sheltering Harbour program helped to quiet her mind, relax and clear her thoughts. She said the yoga PTSD program really helped to stabilize her, “I feel like no one cares about me; so, I just finished meditating. Thank you, Miss Day.” The program is also helping open up doors to future careers for these Sheltering Harbour residents, as they look to use what they’ve learned to impact and support others in need.

    Since the yoga program began in 2016, Sheltering Harbour has seen an improvement in its successful discharge rate—now at around 50 percent.

    Namaste, Sheltering Harbour. And, thank you for being a Harvey Hero to so many young women in the Houston area.

  • October 12, 2018 12:00 PM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    At 9 years old, little Shayla had experienced more trauma than most people endure in a lifetime. After being physically and sexually abused as well as neglected for the first six years of her life, she was removed from her biological home and placed in foster care by Child Protective Services. Deeply emotionally distressed and suffering from high levels of complex trauma, Shayla displayed severe aggressive behavior and developmentally inappropriate sexual behavior. The following three years were harrowing: two foster home placements failed, and Shayla was admitted to psychiatric hospitals on three occasions due to the severity of her emotional distress and the trauma-induced behaviors she exhibited.

    Then Shayla was placed in foster care with the Dean family through DePelchin Children’s Center. Having completed DePelchin’s training in trauma-informed care, the Deans were aware that parenting her would be very challenging. Hoping to one day adopt Shayla, the Deans engaged a therapist in their community who specialized in working with adopted children. Time went by, and Shayla made slow progress.

    Tragically, Hurricane Harvey struck, flooding the Dean’s home. They lost nearly everything—the majority of their furniture and belongings, their car, and one of their two dogs—all gone. In the weeks after the storm, the loss and the stress the family experienced triggered post-traumatic reactions in Shayla. Her aggressive and defiant behavior worsened, and her foster parents discovered that she had begun accessing pornography on the Internet. It seemed that the progress Shayla had made with the community therapist seemed lost. With their resources already stretched thin, the Deans began to question whether they could adopt and care for a child with such intense mental health needs. They shared their concerns with Shayla’s clinical case manager at DePelchin.

    The clinical case manager recommended that they engage DePelchin’s FIRST (Family Integrated Relational Services Treatment) team. Supported in part by Rebuild Texas and the Texas Center for Child and Family Studies, FIRST clinicians provide intensive home-based, trauma-informed mental health services to children in foster and/or adoptive care and their families. A team of clinicians immediately assessed Shayla’s status and began providing several hours of mental health services each week to Shayla and her family. For months, they coached and mentored Shayla’s parents in trauma-informed parenting skills while also helping Shayla work on managing her emotional responses and social skills so that she could maintain control of her behaviors.

    Gradually, Shayla improved. She learned to communicate with her family about her feelings, wants and needs, and demonstrated more self-control. With new skills, her angry outbursts and aggressive behavior stopped, and she developed a stronger bond with her foster parents.

    After many months of anticipation and repairs, Shayla and the Deans returned to their home. The stability provided by the move helped Shayla to feel even more secure, and she progressed further. The family’s relationships grew even stronger, and they decided together to go forward with Shayla’s adoption.

    Today, Shayla’s behaviors and demeanor are dramatically different from those of the traumatized and terrified child who first entered the Dean’s home two years ago. She and her adoptive family continue to receive ongoing, lower-intensity services through the FIRST program, which will remain available to them throughout her childhood. We salute DePelchin Children’s Center for the work they do in helping children heal from complex trauma and in helping them find “forever families” like the Deans. Their commitment to best practices and expertise in trauma-informed care make them #HarveyHeroes.

  • October 01, 2018 12:36 PM | Jennifer Harris

    The Texas Center for Child and Family Studies (“the Center”), the 501c3 non-profit arm of the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services (TACFS), today announced grant awards totaling $1.1 million from the Rebuild Texas Fund to support the Center’s Healing from Harvey work, focused on recovery and relief efforts for at-risk families and children impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  

    The funding expands on an initial round of $800,000 for grants, announced in February and awarded in April, that is being put to work in local agencies and non-profit organizations across Houston, Beaumont and the Texas Gulf Coast.

    “A year later, we have seen that Texans’ compassion and hearts are as big as our state, but there is still work to be done to support the recovery of so many families in Beaumont, Houston and all along the Texas Gulf Coast that are still reeling from Harvey’s devastation,” said Cecilia Abbott, First Lady of Texas. “The Center for Child and Family Studies’ Healing from Harvey grants and the work of the Rebuild Texas Fund are making a real impact on the lives of children and families in our state’s foster care system.”

    “We’re grateful for the Rebuild Texas Fund’s continuing commitment to our state’s most vulnerable children and families, as they continue to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. These new grant awards will not only support ongoing and substantial relief and recovery efforts but further expand our work and reach in the hurricane-impacted communities,” said Katie Olse, Executive Director of TACFS and the Center.

    These phase two awards support 14 community child and family organizations and agencies. The grantees are working to address the compounding trauma on children and families who survived Hurricane Harvey. The projects are also looking at ways to address the slow growth or loss of foster care capacity as a direct result of the hurricane and include efforts to prevent abuse and neglect.

    Healing from Harvey Phase 2 grant recipients include:

    Arms Wide Adoption Services ($100,000): Arms Wide will utilize funds for a multi-pronged project that will expand eligibility for post-permanency support services to include at-risk families, enhance outreach to families in Permanent Managing Conservatorships, build capacity to recruit, assess and license additional foster/adoptive families, and will enhance trauma informed services and training opportunities for families. 

    Arrow Child & Family Ministries ($100,000): Arrow will utilize funds to expand upon their successes from the Phase 1 grant. Their project will utilize advanced recruitment techniques to build additional foster care capacity.

    Baylor College of Medicine ($100,000): Baylor College of Medicine will utilize funds to provide integrated behavioral health for children living in areas highly affected by Harvey who are in foster care, kinship care or at risk for going into foster care and foster youth transitioning to adulthood. The overarching goal is to mitigate additional trauma caused by Harvey in children with a history of complex trauma. 

    Boys and Girls Club of Houston ($100,000): Boys and Girls Club of Houston (BGCH) will utilize funds to provide resiliency building programs for at-risk youth served through two of their newest Clubs— Kashmere Gardens/Northforest Club and YES Prep Southside Club.

    CK Family Services ($100,000): CK will utilize funds to create new capacity to meet the emotional, mental and behavioral health needs of vulnerable children and youth living in Hurricane Harvey effected counties by developing and ensuring availability of, and access to, Mental Health Rehabilitation and Targeted Case Management services.

    DePelchin Children’s Center ($99,863.83): DePelchin will utilize funds from this grant to implement ParentingHelp, which identifies children at risk for involvement with Child Protective Services and provides home-based, positive parenting techniques and training to the parents of children ages 6-17.

    Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Texas ($100,000): Devereux will utilize funds to help finance the start-up cost of the expansion of their residential unit. Funds will enable them to continue their effort to expand the program that was interrupted by the storm. The 22-bed residential unit would increase capacity to serve more at-risk Texas youth. 

    Girls Haven ($100,000): Girls Haven will utilize funds from this grant to expand their Phase I development of a Supervised Independent Living Program which allows girls ages 18 to 22 to remain in care while living in an off-campus apartment.

    Grace Manor ($50,000): Grace Manor will utilize funds from this grant to increase the rate of kinship families reaching permanence for children in their care by supporting them to achieve foster or adoptive licenses.

    The Jim H. Green Kidz Harbor Inc. ($76,467) – Kidz Harbor will utilize funds to continue the rebuild of their residential facility after flooding from the storm. 

    Prairie Harbor ($46,853): Prairie Harbor would utilize funds from this grant to continue construction work on their Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Nueces County. Construction was halted due to the storm. The region is without an RTC.

    Presbyterian Children's Homes & Services ($51,816): Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) will utilize funds to expand their Child and Family Program (CFP) in Houston and Corpus Christi. The CFP stabilizes families going through a crisis by providing short-term, family-focused case management services. 

    Tejano Center for Community Concerns ($50,000): Tejano Center for Community Concerns (TCCC) would utilize funds to support kinship caregiver through training and case management services.

    YES Prep Public Schools ($50,000): YES Prep will utilize funds to support the development and implementation of a Trauma and Grief Counseling Program for students affected by Hurricane Harvey to ensure they have the support services needed to remain on the path to college. The Trauma and Grief Counseling Program will also provide professional development and training in trauma informed care to YES Prep teachers and Student Support Counselors. 

    The Center will continue to monitor oversee existing Phase 1 grantees’ work with children and families in the greater Houston, Beaumont and Texas Gulf Coast regions. To learn more about The Center for Child and Family Studies’ Healing from Harvey work, visit tacfs.org/thecenter. To learn more about the Rebuild Texas Fund, visit rebuildtx.org.

     # # #

    Media contact: Jennifer Harris, jharris@jwhcommunications.com

  • September 25, 2018 9:00 AM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    Stories of Hurricane Harvey, one of the most devastating storms to impact residents in the Greater Houston area, will continue being shared by Houstonians, young and old, for years to come.  What we know after every major disaster is that the effects are life-changing and touch the lives of peopleorganizations and businesses in every community in some way 

    For some, that means rebuilding or remodeling homes and structures, finding new jobs, caring for the emotional and physical wellness of themselves, their children and their families and re-establishing what life looks likefinding normalcy.  In times of disaster, there are also those who are life supporters.  They are service and care agencies that are often relied on as first line community helpers or responders assisting people in critical situations or dire need as they sort through the challenges that face themDePelchin Children’s Center is among them. 

    As one of the Greater Houston area’s longest-serving foster care and adoption agencies, DePelchin is no stranger to storms, the recovery process, and helping keep some of the area’s most vulnerable children safe and healthy while providing support to the families who care for them.  

    In the case of foster care and adoption, natural disasters can greatly influence a person’s ability and interest in adding a child to their family. With disaster recovery sometimes taking as long as two yearsunderstanding and helping to address the needs of prospective families and families in the process of fostering or adopting is crucial.   

    Funding through Rebuild Texas supports vital components of DePelchin’s services.  Specifically, Rebuild Texas is supporting foster home recruitment and verification that stalled during Hurricane Harvey. DePelchin is establishing post-storm relationships with individuals and families who experienced delays in the foster and adoption training and verification processeshelping them to reconnect and move forward. In doing so, DePelchin and Rebuild Texas are ensuring that abused and neglected children will have safe foster homes when they are needed  

    Many children in foster care endured repeatedtraumatic abuse and neglect before they were placed—a situation referred to as “complex trauma.” Living through the stressful conditions created by Harvey and its aftermath had varying impacts on each of them and their foster families. Support from Rebuild Texas is helping DePelchin provide home-based mental health services to children and foster parents whose capacity to cope with Harvey-related and other stresses might otherwise be overwhelmed during the recovery process, causing the placement to break down. DePelchin’s trauma-informed services for foster children and their parents increase the likelihood that families will remain together, and that foster families may eventually become “forever families” through adoption.  

    Rebuild Texas recognizes DePelchin Children’s Center as a #HarveyHero.  We look forward to sharing accounts of how one of the state’s leading foster care and adoption agencies continues its commitment of making a brighter tomorrow for children and families after Hurricane Harvey. 


  • September 21, 2018 9:00 AM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that affected millions of Southeast Texans, Upbring worked hard to help Texas families rebuild their lives.

    Upbring, a leading Texas-based, faith-inspired nonprofit organization, supports nearly 30,000 families each year with foster care, adoption, education, residential treatment and community services for at-risk children and families.

    And when Hurricane Harvey hit the Bayou City, more than 350 of the families served by Upbring were immediately affected by floodwaters and other storm-related devastation. The story provided by one such family served by Upbring echoed so many others. As their home began to flood and they awaited a boat rescue, they turned to their children and said, “Grab anything you want to save – as long as it fits in your backpack.” As the rescue boat carried them away, that’s what they had left: a backpack of keepsakes and the clothes on their backs.

    With moneys raised through the generous contributions of people throughout the state and country and grants provided by the The Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund, Upbring was able to assist their Foster In Texas families with stipends that helped cover essentials like travel costs, temporary housing, essential household necessities, clothing and diapers.

    And one year later, as the floodwaters have receded and the effects of Hurricane Harvey aren’t readily apparent to the naked eye, Upbring continues to assist many more who are continuously working to rebuild their lives. For this reason and many others, we salute Upbring as a #HarveyHero.

  • September 11, 2018 5:30 PM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    The mission of Girls’ Haven, located in Beaumont, Texas, is to “turn tragedy to triumph.” And their mission was put to the test last year. Hurricane Harvey, which pummeled the Gulf Coast in 2017, was not selective in its destruction. Organizations like Girls’ Haven, whose mission is to help our state’s most vulnerable children, found themselves and the children they serve deeply affected by this devastating storm.

    For Girls’ Haven, a community organization that serves girls and young women ages 6 to 21, Hurricane Harvey was a tremendous setback.

    Girls’ Haven works hard each day to give young women a safe, homelike environment, and to help provide the tools needed to successfully transition from foster care into the next phase of their life whether reunification, a foster home, or to live independently. Girls’ Haven offers services like psychological care, group therapy, and medical care. Additionally, they operate an on-site charter school that offers excellent educational services to students who are in PK – 8th grade.

    In an organization where every cent counts just to run these day-to-day activities and provide the girls – who are affected by physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, neglect, and/or severe family dysfunction – with a safe place to call home, the havoc that Harvey wreaked on their campus took much-needed funds from its operations that had to be redirected to rebuilding and repairing.

    With moneys provided by the Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grant, Girls’ Haven was able to expand their Supervised Independent Living Program which will allow girls ages 18 to 22 to remain in care while developing skills to live independently. But Girls’ Haven didn’t stop there. They also used these additional funds to implement a Hurricane Harvey Grief Group, free to the entire Jefferson County community.

    For helping Texas’ most vulnerable children, to providing a helping hand to the entire Beaumont area, we salute Girls’ Have for being a true #HarveyHero.


  • September 07, 2018 12:00 PM | Jenn Vigh (Administrator)

    In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the work of foster care families, agencies and CPS workers in the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) was nothing short of heroic.

    You might recall a story in the Dallas Morning News that recapped the incredible work and sacrifice so many made to keep foster children safe, during and in the aftermath of the storm.

    In perhaps one of the most dramatic interventions, DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman and the Texas Department of Public Safety stepped up when Arrow Child & Family Ministries, the state’s largest foster care provider, called for help. A medically-fragile, then two-year-old boy and his foster direct care family in the Lumberton area were surrounded by flood waters.

    A severe gastrointestinal disorder meant the young boy relied on a doctor-prescribed formula, and his supply of the formula was dwindling with no way in or out to obtain more.

    Commissioner Whitman worked with Arrow, the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to airlift the formula into the family, after the US Coast Guard had refused to make the trip citing dangerous currents in the area.

    Now, a year later, we wondered: How is the boy now?

    The good news is the boy, now three-years-old, is with the same foster care family and while he’s still facing many complex medical concerns, those #HarveyHeroes were truly a life-line for the boy and his family. Flash forward to today, and the family has taken in another foster child with medical needs.

    As we flash back and flash forward, it’s important to recognize Arrow for the ongoing work they undertake to address trauma and foster care capacity, some twelve months after the storm hit. And, their work is supported through The Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grant.

    The grant and other financial support Arrow received in the year since Harvey hit has helped the organization provide everything from pastoral care to gift cards for food and supplies and repairs to foster care homes.

    “In the midst of trauma, you don’t realize what you need you're just trying to take the next step to stay alive and keep the children safe,” said Debi Tengler of Arrow Child & Family Ministries. “Trauma takes a while to be exposed expressed and healed. It actually takes trust. We are grateful to be able to help build the trust and continue to heal.”

    Arrow says the need for foster care families is still high, but Harvey peaked awareness and news coverage like the Dallas Morning News, as well as the outpouring of local community support,

    and now the Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grant have all helped Arrow provide the critical ongoing support for at-risk children, foster care kids and families.

    "Just as the community rallied around Hurricane victims we need them to rally around the foster care community,” added Tengler. “And, they have, and we sincerely hope they continue to do so as the need is still very much there.”

    Arrow Child & Family Ministries’ Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grant has helped them to increase foster care recruitment, marketing and awareness of the needs in the year following Harvey’s devastation as well as long-term trauma and mental health needs only now beginning to manifest in some children and families. That’s what Arrow calls "treatment foster care,” a program for children who have complex trauma that helps to find a way to financially and emotionally support a parent, so they are able to stay home to care for the child.

    It’s another fine example of a #HarveyHero. We’re grateful for the work of all of our Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grantees.

    # # #

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