Texanthropy Spotlight: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so for each of the weekly Texanthropy Spotlights for the month of April, I will be highlighting an organization that is dedicated to taking care of our children. This week it’s the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and in particular, the heroic efforts of their dedicated employees to care for children during Hurricane Harvey.
While Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Texas, selfless recovery efforts revealed the giving spirit in all of us. Government agencies, non-profits, corporations and countless hard-working individuals came together to help those in need.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is the state agency that protects and prevents children and adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Over the last few months, DFPS employees made tremendous efforts to help families affected by this unprecedented storm.
DFPS employees around the state pitched in to ensure reports of child and elder abuse were responded to, despite ominous flooding and deteriorating conditions. Even when their own homes and offices had flooded, employees in the Houston and Beaumont areas worked tirelessly to keep children safe, rescuing them from rising floodwaters and getting them to safety. Caseworkers and supervisors reached out to over 800 families and helped them get badly-needed food, water, medicine and diapers. Employees also worked with churches in communities like Longview and Tyler to collect and distribute food and clothing, and repair damaged homes.
In Port Neches, DFPS employees set up a distribution center at the National Guard Armory for families and children who had lost everything. The center stayed open from September 5 to October 13, helping hundreds of families recover.
In Laredo, DFPS employees collected essential items like diapers and bottled water and, with the generous support of UPS, delivered them to their Corpus Christi office for distribution.
These stories reflect the determination and sacrifice all Texans continue to show as we work together to rebuild, not to mention the countless volunteer hours donated off the clock to help neighbors and loved ones. Volunteerism and service are so important to me and the Governor, and we are moved to see our state’s grit and resilience matched by a deep love and nurturing of others.
And during the holiday season, DFPS employees helped the Governor’s Office distribute donated Christmas gifts to children in foster care. In Beaumont, I had the distinct pleasure to attend a holiday luncheon hosted by DFPS employees for over 300 foster children and their families. Fully-decorated trees were distributed to ensure those families’ Christmas mornings were shiny and bright.
But obviously there is still more work to be done. To find out how you can help with the Hurricane Harvey rebuild efforts, visit http://www.rebuildtx.org/. And for more information on how you can volunteer with DFPS and help keep children and adults safe in Texas, visit http://www.volunteerdfps.org/.