Network of Nurture
The State of Texas is working hard to strengthen our foster care system. Reforming Child Protective Services is one of Greg’s signature goals as Governor, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has implemented numerous improvements during his administration. However, providing the support that foster and adoptive families need is a bigger job than state government can do alone.
This requires a Network of Nurture – a community of individuals, families, friends, local leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses, faith community members, and anyone willing to open their hands, their hearts, or their homes to the children and families in the state’s child welfare system.
In January 2017, I joined with DFPS to launch the Network of Nurture with a series of letters encouraging Texans to get involved.
Our first letter was sent to over 800 faith partners across Texas, asking them to join the Network of Nurture by finding ways that their ministries and congregations could do more to support the children and families in the state’s child welfare system. Just a few weeks later, our second letter praised an initiative of Fostering Hope Austin and the Heart Gallery of Central Texas to address the need for babysitting and short-term childcare, and encouraged other child placement service providers to look into replicating this program in their respective areas of Texas.
In the following years, we have also devoted much attention and effort to preventing and raising awareness of human trafficking. When youth age out of the state’s child welfare system without a permanent home or reliable support network, they can often fall into homelessness or become susceptible to traffickers. In conjunction with the GRACE (Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation) initiative, we can work to ensure that these kids and young adults have the support of the Network of Nurture. No matter how young or old, every child deserves to be part of a loving family and to have people in their lives that they can turn to for support and guidance.
We have some wonderful partners in our Network of Nurture: child placement agencies, faith community members, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and even a couple of country music stars. There are so many ways that Texans can join the Network of Nurture, and below are some ways you can get involved:
Below are some ways you can join our Network of Nurture:
- Become a foster or adoptive parent.
- Provide emergency shelter services to kids in foster care.
- Mentor older youth that are about to age out of the foster care system.
- Arrange post-adoption support for local adoptive families, such as providing meals, helping with homework, or arranging rides to and from after-school activities.
- Become certified as a babysitter or respite care provider.
- Start a support group for foster care parents.
- Volunteer or donate items to your local Rainbow Room. These emergency resource rooms provide items such as clothing, bedding, car seats and formula to children who are in foster care. Read more for a list of Rainbow Rooms across Texas.
- Foster Community is a website that helps people find opportunities to help kids in foster care through a variety of ways from volunteering to fostering: https://fostercommunity.org/.
In March, DFPS launched new volunteer roles, including ways that volunteers can work directly with children and families. Volunteer opportunities include assisting parents with transportation and witting with children who are in the hospital, among others. For more information on actively helping others in your community, and gaining valuable experience and service hours, visit the volunteer training page.
If you live in Central Texas, Foster Community is a website that helps people find opportunities to help kids in foster care through a variety of ways from volunteering to fostering: https://fostercommunity.org/.
Read more for a few ideas on ways your congregation or faith community can get invovled
Read for a list of providers participating in a babysitting collaborative in your area.
Not On My Watch is a movement to get normal everyday people involved and engaged in the child welfare crisis of this country.
Families Count is a gospel-centered, family restoration and preservation ministry to parents of children who have been placed into the foster care system, or are at risk of entering it. The seven week parenting class is gospel centered and court-approved, and includes mentoring, a meal, childcare for children, and transportation assistance. There are even classes offered in Spanish. Additionally, Families Count is always looking for community volunteers to walk alongside their families.
- Find a mentoring opportunity in your community.
- Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
Texans who commit to being a part of the Network of Nurture can contribute as much or as little of their time, talent, and treasure as they are able to, with the goal of providing the assistance, understanding, encouragement, and compassion that these children and families need, right in the communities where they live.
Every child deserves the chance to succeed – and there are thousands of children waiting for that chance. With your help and support, we can continue to expand this Network of Nurture and give every Texas child the opportunity to live a healthy, purposeful life.
News and Events
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Addresses DFPS Faith Leader Summit, Issues Call To Service To Help Texas Children
- First Lady And DFPS Commissioner Announce Network Of Nurture Initiative
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Praises Child Care Collaborative In Central Texas, Encourages Others
- First Lady Encourages Texans To Help Find “A Place To Stay” For Texas Children In Foster Care
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Addresses Texas Alliance Of Child And Family Services Texas Child Care Administrators Conference
- Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott Hosts Adoption Month Listening Session
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Attends Jefferson County Child Welfare Board’s Annual Christmas Party
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Relaunches Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Highlights Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts Across Texas
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Announces GRACE’s Third Annual Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Hosts Heart Gallery Event for the Governor’s Commission for Women
- Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott Delivers Remarks at Unbound Houston Event in Galveston
- Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott Delivers Remarks at Internet Safety Billboard Campaign Launch in San Antonio
- First Lady Cecilia Abbott Delivers Remarks at the Foster Youth Transition Centers Tour Event in Austin