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 people, organizations 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 like—finding 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 them. DePelchin 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 years, understanding 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 processes, helping 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 repeated, traumatic 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.