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.
# # #