Del Rio Judges Celebrate 10-Year Partnership

Del Rio Judges Celebrate 10 Years of Serving Youth and Families through BCFS Health and Human Services Partnership

BCFS hosts appreciation breakfast honoring five local Judges

DEL RIO – In ten years of partnership with BCFS Health and Human Services, Del Rio judges have referred thousands of youth and families to the organization for crisis intervention, counseling and domestic violence services. To celebrate this partnerhip, BCFS hosted an appreciation breakfast June 18 for Justices of the Peace Hilda C. Lopez, Pat Cole, Jim Bob Barrera and Antonio Faz III, as well as County Judge Efrain Valdez.

Every month, the judges collectively order about 30 teens, young adults and families to participate in BCFS programs, mostly for misdemeanors or truancy. According to BCFS director Raquel Frausto Rodriguez, the judges review their dockets ahead of time and invite BCFS case managers into the courtroom to give on-the-spot referrals.

In many cases, the judges will defer fines or court costs, or clear the offense from the record if the youth or family joins a BCFS program and receives a certificate of completion. Rodriguez calls this longtime partnership an honor and a privilege.

“We work closely to identify the issues that are the root cause of each teen’s misbehavior or poor choices,” says Rodriguez. “If a student faces truancy charges and a judge sends them to us, BCFS works with the youth and family as a whole to find the real problem. Maybe they don’t have a car, or are being bullied at school, or they suffer abuse in the home. Perhaps their parents need them to go to work instead to pay the bills.”

BCFS operates the Services To At Risk Youth program, known as STAR, which aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, running away, and child abuse by helping youth and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills. It includes free counseling, support groups, trainings, basic needs support, and emergency respite placements.

BCFS’ domestic violence program provides safety, support and resources to victims of abuse, as well as promotes violence-free relationships and abuse prevention.

“The youth of our community are our leaders of tomorrow,” said Precinct 2 Justice Faz. “Having the ability to intervene at a young age and the possibility of turning their lives around means that we as a community have succeeded.”

Even after the courtroom referral, the judges stay in close contact with BCFS.

“We keep the lines of communication open with our judges and work hand-in-hand to see how we can remove any barriers our families face,” says BCFS’ Rodriguez. “Sometimes all they need is transportation, childcare or basic assistance to come to counseling sessions or classes.”

Judge Valdez, who has served the community for 35 years, calls himself an “advocate” of BCFS programs.

“Seeing firsthand the dedication of the BCFS staff and the outstanding results that our youth and families experience has inspired me greatly,” Precinct 3 Justice Cole shared at the breakfast.

Justice Barrera (Precinct 1) recalled a memorable case he referred to BCFS.

“Back in April, a teenage girl from Mexico was attending school here in Del Rio. It was hard for her to socialize in the new environment,” said Barrera. “When she finished the BCFS class, she improved her grades to As and Bs. For me and my staff, it was something wonderful for us to have shared with her.”

Justice Lopez (Precinct 4) expressed her thanks to BCFS at the breakfast for “not giving up on people who do not realize they are in need of help.”

She added, “What inspires me to connect people to BCFS is the staff who show their concern and want to help people. BCFS’ services are inspiring because we can advise people of what is out there for them.”

The appreciation breakfast was held at Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in Del Rio Thursday, June 18. The staff members of all five judges, who play a key role in assisting youth and families alongside BCFS, were also in attendance.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, or to support BCFS’ local programs, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

 

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Hill Country Quilt Guild’s Craftwork Covers BCFS Youth

Photo: Beatriz Perez with her gift

KERRVILLE – The Hill Country Quilt Guild celebrated the graduation of 15 BCFS youth in foster care from high school by presenting each of them with an original handmade quilt.

This donation is the Quilt Guild’s second donation to BCFS youth. In 2013, The Quilt Guild donated their handiwork to graduates of BCFS’ YouthBuild, a job readiness and leadership program.”

“The youth have been coming in to pick up their quilts and they’ve been very appreciative,” said BCFS Kerrville center case manager Kimberly Clayton. “It has been a lot of fun to give these out.”

The BCFS center in Kerrville provides services for local families and at-risk youth and youth aging out of the foster care system to expand their skills and knowledge, strengthen their self-confidence, create healthy community relationships and help youth learn positive self-guidance.


To learn more about the BCFS center in Kerrville, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.

New BCFS Texas Hill Country Resource Center

KERRVILLE – BCFS Health and Human Services’ new Texas Hill Country Resource Center – the cornerstone of Kerrville’s non-profit block on Main Street – is a hub of activity these days. The 20,000 square-foot structure being built by Hill Country contractor JM Lowe is on schedule to open its doors this Fall. While new digs bring a certain energetic buzz, it’s what will happen under the new center’s roof that’s cause for the real excitement.

BCFS Infographic

Infographic Long Description

The new BCFS center will be the headquarters for several area non-profits offering life-changing outreach and programming to the Hill Country community. In addition to housing the many BCFS Health and Human Services programs, Art2Heart, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Families & Literacy, Inc., Hill Country Ministries and New Hope Counseling have signed on as tenants in the new building, and space is still available at the center for other community-based non-profit agencies.

The site not only offers clients the convenience of finding an array of services in one place, but the close proximity of the agencies working in the new center will also help them work more efficiently: encouraging communication; ensuring non-duplication of services; and leveraging the talents and resources of each non-profit to effectively address the full-spectrum, specific needs of each child and family.

BCFS is leasing space for only $10 per square foot, significantly lower than the average local rate of $15 according to Sue Tiemann with Hill Country Property Management and Commercial Realty Services (830-792-5775). This competitive rate also includes furnished offices, state-of-the-art communication technology, a large conference room, a computer lab and other shared common areas.

BCFS’ director of operations in Kerrville, Brenda Thompson, is excited for the new center. “This center is going to be the most robust site for care and compassion for children, young adults and families throughout the Hill Country.”

In addition to recruiting additional tenants, BCFS is spearheading fundraising efforts to furnish the facility. Naming rights are available for spaces throughout the center, beginning at $1,200.

“Sponsoring one of the spaces in our center is not just a great way to help a child or family in need today, but also an incredible opportunity to permanently honor or memorialize someone you love,” says Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, BCFS Development Officer.

To support the work at BCFS’ Texas Hill Country Resource Center or to learn more about working in the new facility, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 928-9387.


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Youth strut their stuff at BCFS fashion show

Program DirectorStacy Lee -and Lead Case Manager Verena Silva

SAN ANTONIO – A group of young adults in foster care, and some who aged out of the system, strut their stuff at a fashion show last week hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services. The Dare to Dream Fashion Show featured 16 male and female models from the Preparation for Adult Living program that helps youth transition from foster care into adulthood and independence. About 200 guests attended the show at Granberry Hills in San Antonio on Wednesday, June 10th.

“We host the fashion show to encourage young adults to build self-respect and learn how to carry themselves with confidence,” says BCFS case manager Verena Silva. “Ultimately, we want them to dream big.”

The models wore outfits from Plato’s Closet, styled to demonstrate fashionable but appropriate looks for daily wear, professional attire, and a night out on the town. At the end of the show each model was presented a trophy, and the group cheered after the surprise announcement that they could keep their stylish outfits.

The fashion show marks the end of the Empowerment Series, a group of workshops held at the BCFS center to educate youth on how to make safe, informed decisions while building leadership skills. The workshops brought together young adults in foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and teens overcoming abuse to discuss motivation, career opportunities, and self-esteem.

Sponsors for the fashion show included Granberry Hills, Plato’s Closet, Aveda, Youth Transitioning Into Adulthood (YTIA), the National Council of Jewish Women, Superior Health, All Access Tags, and One Sound DJ Productions.

The BCFS center serves young people in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, teen pregnancy, or an unstable home life. The center is a “one-stop shop” that provides counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, and housing location.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, visit DiscoverBCFS.net.


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries. 

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1-November 30. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a “below-normal” season, it is critical for individuals, families and communities in areas vulnerable to storms to be prepared.

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1-November 30. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a “below-normal” season, it is critical for individuals, families and communities in areas vulnerable to storms to be prepared.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) specializes in emergency management, incident management, disaster medical response, mass care, medical sheltering and planning for vulnerable populations. When disaster strikes, our Incident Management Team can have boots on the ground anywhere in the U.S. within 48 hours. BCFS EMD personnel have responded to every major critical incident in the U.S. in the past 12 years, including several hurricanes, the 9/11 Terrorist Attack, the H1N1 flu pandemic and a number of tornados, fires, floods, hazardous material spills and earthquakes.

New Texas Hill Country Resource Center Rounding Into Comprehensive Community Center

Photo: Building under construction
March 2015
Photo: Unpainted finished building
May 2015

There’s no missing the almost 20,000-square-foot, two-story building taking shape on the non-profit block of 1100 Main Street. In the last two months, the site has gone from lumber framing to a bonafide building structure. BCFS Health and Human Services’ new Texas Hill Country Resource Center, which is being built by Kerrville contractor JM Lowe, is on schedule to open its doors this Fall, and will house fellow Hill Country non-profit organizations such as: Art2Heart; Families & Literacy, Inc.; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Hill Country Ministries and New Hope Counseling.

In the new center, Hill Country residents will have “one stop” access to:
  • counseling
  • case management
  • emergency housing assistance for young adults
  • life skills training
  • literacy training
  • educational support
  • connections to employment and educational opportunities
  • mentoring
  • parenting classes
  • arts and drama for children, and
  • Christian encouragement through Bible study and prayer
The shared-space concept instills greater access and accountability for the children, youth and families helped by the center, while also ensuring non-duplication of services and leveraging of talents and resources. All nonprofits will share training rooms, state-of-the-art communications technology, a conference room, computer lab and other common areas. Space is still available for other non-profit agencies. Organizations interested in leasing opportunities at the center should contact Sue Tiemann with Commercial Realty Services: (830) 792-5775.
“With the combined power of BCFS and our partners, this center is going to be the most robust site for care and compassion for children, young adults and families throughout the Hill Country,” says Brenda Thompson, BCFS’ local director.
Fundraising is ongoing to furnish the facility. Naming rights are available for spaces throughout the center, beginning at $1,200.
“Sponsoring one of the spaces in our center is not just a great way to help a child or family in need today, but also an incredible opportunity to permanently honor or memorialize someone you love,” says Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, BCFS Development Officer.
To support the work at BCFS’ Texas Hill Country Resource Center or to learn more about working in the new facility, contact Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie at (830) 928-9387.

Registration Information for Comfort ISD Head Start

BCFS Education Services is proud to announce a new partnership between Comfort Independent School District and our Head Start program. Beginning in August 2015, we will hold full day Head Start classes on the Comfort Elementary School campus, and will follow the school’s calendar. There will be 40 Head Start spots open in Comfort, available to families that live in the Comfort school district.
Families will need to visit Comfort Elementary School to register their students for Head Start. Below is information about upcoming “Registration Round-Ups.” If you are unable to attend these registration events, you may also apply at Comfort Elementary School during school hours.
Comfort ISD Registration Round-Up Events:
May 17, 2015 1pm – 3pm
June 7, 2015 1pm – 3pm
Comfort Elementary School
605 3rd Street, Comfort, Texas 78013
(830) 995-6410
Four-year-old students will be given priority for registration, however we still encourage families with younger children to apply, as the remaining spaces will be filled by eligible 3-year-olds.
BCFS Education Services is very excited about this partnership and confident this will be a great benefit to our Comfort students. Children will attend Head Start classes in the same building that will eventually be their kindergarten classrooms, making them more comfortable with their environment and ready to learn!
Questions? Please contact our office at (830) 331-8908.

BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center Receives Nearly $9,000 from Local Organizations

Community Partners of Lubbock, the Lubbock Area Foundation and the Junior League of Lubbock have together awarded nearly $9,000 to BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center for special programs that celebrate academic achievement and positive decision making by youth and young adults served at the center.Community Partners of Lubbock has pledged $4,750 in support of the center’s annual “Hope Chest” event, which honors local youth in foster care who are graduating from high school and college. After a celebratory luncheon, graduates receive Target gift cards and head out with transition center staff and volunteers for a shopping trip where youth purchase household items for their new dorm rooms or apartments.

The Lubbock Area Foundation granted the center $2,950 for emergency funds as well as support for the “Court Improvement Project,” a partnership with Judge Kevin Hart, Judge Kara Darnell and the South Plains Foster Care Court that boosts youth attendance and participation in their foster care court hearings. Through the project, court hearings are held in the less-intimidating, more-relaxed atmosphere of the transition center. Since the program started, attendance and participation has increased significantly, and youth report being more satisfied with the outcomes and creative collaboration with case workers and family members.

This is the second grant from the Foundation in support of the Court Improvement Project.

The Junior League of Lubbock awarded $1,200 to BCFS to support its monthly “Alumni Nights” at the Lubbock Transition Center. Alumni nights invite young adults who have aged out of foster care to the center for dinner, fellowship and an opportunity to share big news, such as new jobs, graduation or the birth of a child.

“We are extremely honored and thankful to receive these grant awards,” said Kami Jackson, BCFS Lubbock Transition Center director. “Community Partners of Lubbock, the Lubbock Area Foundation and Junior League all work to invest in the future of our community, and their recognition of the center shows that they believe in the good work we do for Lubbock’s youth.”

BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center provides services for youth in, and aging out of, the foster care system and those at risk of homelessness and other challenges. The center provides youth with case management, counseling, and assistance with education, employment and housing. Many of the youth served by the center spent time in foster care or the juvenile justice system. Other young adults make the center their “home away from home” to have a safe place to study after school, and mentors to keep them on the right path.

The Whole Community is Needed for Mental Health Recovery

May is “National Mental Health Awareness Month”

Jessica was ten years old when she realized her mother was in danger. Whether across the dinner table, down the hallway, or in her parents’ bedroom, she would watch in stunned silence as her father launched into verbal and, oftentimes, physical attacks on her mom. Then, she’d run into her little brother’s room where she could lock the door and hold her hands over his ears to try to muffle the screams. When the police finally came to arrest her father, she ran again; this time away from the social worker sent to retrieve Jessica and her brother, and place them in a new home.
Traumatic events affect people differently. For children especially, encounters with abuse or neglect can have a profound influence that, if unchecked, can adversely affect their mental health and relationships with others for the rest of their lives. In fact, according to Child Advocates of San Antonio, children in foster care experience mental illness at a rate of almost 30 percent greater than the average population of children. Additionally, youth in foster care are less likely to receive adequate treatment and services to address their mental health issues.
Counselors and caseworkers are not only the triage team, but also part of the recovery. These professionals play a crucial role in going beyond meeting children’s basic needs, delving into complex issues that can range from violent learned behavior, to substance abuse or even severe psychiatric issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.
Trauma-informed care is today’s gold standard for working with youth in foster care. This methodology helps youth identify and articulate how past and present issues are affecting them. A safe environment, trusting rapport and careful listening helps counselors and caseworkers recognize mental illness and take quick action to address feelings that could prevent a youth from achieving success in school or at work, or trauma that could lead a youth to harm themselves.
Of course there’s no magic blueprint for identifying and overcoming mental illness. While counselors and caseworkers are the triage team, the entire community needs to be part of the recovery.
As May marks both “National Foster Care Month” and “National Mental Health Awareness Month,” BCFS Health and Human Services encourages all those in our community to be more attentive and sensitive to children whose misbehavior or strange actions may in fact be outcries from trauma. Connect children and families to organizations where they can get professional mental health support.
Together, we can improve the wellness of our entire community and prevent more innocent children like Jessica from suffering from mental health issues.
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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. At BCFS transition centers, local youth in and aging out of foster care and those at risk of homelessness, poverty or other challenges have ”one-stop” access to case management, counseling, mentoring, educational opportunities, employment connections, housing location and legal service – all free of charge. 

Formal programs focus on equipping young adults with “real life” knowledge and skills, such as interviewing for a job, balancing a checkbook, healthy decision making, choosing a career path, teen pregnancy prevention and the consequences of being sexually active. 

BCFS Names Victoria Perez Director of Community Based Services – Corpus Christi

BCFS Health and Human Services has named Victoria Perez as Director of Community Based Services – Corpus Christi. In this role, Perez will oversee all programs administered through the organization’s Corpus Christi Transition Center, which provides resources and services for youth in and aging out of foster care and others who need assistance transitioning into “life on their own,” as well as families.
Perez joins BCFS with more than 20 years of managerial experience in the health and human services field. Throughout her career, Perez has served in several roles, overseeing and delivering important services to those in need, while also meeting and exceeding rigorous regulatory and professional standards.
Perez has been recognized by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for her contributions in the care of offenders with medical or mental impairments, and by Texas Christian University for her work in HIV research. She holds a master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and is working toward a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology.
“Victoria is a compassionate and dedicated leader who knows what ‘right’ looks like,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President – Community and International Operations. “Her energy and expertise are going to be key assets as we look to not only strengthen, but expand our services and partnerships in Corpus Christi.”
BCFS’ Corpus Christi Transition Center provides resources and services to youth between the ages of 14-26, with the aim of growing their skills and knowledge, strengthening self-confidence, creating healthy community relationships and learning positive self-guidance. Most of the youth served by the center have spent time in the foster care or juvenile justice system, or have battled issues like homelessness, substance abuse or truancy.
The center also offers parent education programs that show families how to resolve conflict and improve communication; improve children’s behavioral problems; as well as deal with complicated issues like strong emotions, aggression, alcohol and violence. Parents who participate in the program may receive other valuable services including free childcare, transportation assistance, and help receiving essentials like food, baby items and clothing.