Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

First Lady Addresses First Foster Care Babysitting Collaborative Certification Training

Monday, May 08, 2017  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release
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Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott on Saturday attended the first Foster Care Babysitting Collaborative Certification Training, where she addressed those who were becoming certified babysitters for children in foster care. The training was hosted by Fostering Hope Austin and is an integral part of Network of Nurture, the joint initiative between the First Lady and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that seeks to raise awareness about the ways Texans can support the children and families in the state’s child welfare system.

“The State of Texas is working hard to strengthen our foster care system, but providing the support that foster and adoptive families need is a bigger job than state government can do alone. It requires a Network of Nurture to make sure these children and families are getting the help they need,” the First Lady said. “We have some wonderful partners in our Network of Nurture, and by being here, you are committing to be a very important part of this Network.”

“The Foster Care Babysitting Certification Training has the potential to strengthen the foster care system and provide much needed support to thousands of foster and adoptive families,” said Child Protective Services Associate Commissioner Kristene Blackstone. “By increasing the number of available and certified babysitters, Fostering Hope Austin is instilling hope in our community for those who need it the most.”

“We are extremely pleased by the turnout and how the child placing agencies and Child Protective Services worked together with Fostering Hope Austin to facilitate this collaboration,” said Julie Kouri, founder and Executive Director of Fostering Hope Austin.  “We believe this is just the beginning of many more people stepping up to care for our foster care children and families.”

Through the Collaborative, a joint application and training program was created that satisfies the requirements for babysitting providers of multiple child-placement agencies in Central Texas. This regional community solution streamlines the process and provides one training session for multiple child placement agencies for those individuals who want to help foster families by providing short-term child care.

Attendees received CPR and first aid training and completed requirements such as fingerprinting, tuberculous testing, and background checks. The Foster Care Babysitting Certification Training will result in 81 new babysitters, which is important to foster families who have few alternatives for short-term care. Fostering Hope Austin plans to host additional trainings in the future for Texans who would like to become certified to babysit for foster children, and organizations in other parts of Texas are working to replicate this model in their own communities.