Graduates Celebrate at BCFS Health and Human Services-Kerrville

KERRVILLE, TX — BCFS Health and Human Services-Kerrville celebrated the recent high school graduations for three youth in foster care who achieved the academic milestone of a high school diploma. The intimate ceremony was organized by BCFS Health and Human Services’ Program Coordinator Deyanira Garcia and BCFS-Kerrville’s Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Advocate Kamaria Woods.

Photo: Kerrville Graduation

Graduation is a big deal,” explained Garcia, and we wanted to show them that their success is important.”

Two of the graduates, Danyela and Adianna, have their sights set on joining the armed forces, while Nathaniel hopes to turn his passion for gaming into a career in video game design.

Community partners H-E-B, Target, WalMart, AceMart, the Giving Bee Hill Country Quilt Guild, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Kerr County Child Services Board provided gifts for the graduates, and Kerrville’s Rails Café donated a meal for the ceremony.

Adianna told me that it means so much to her that we’re in her corner,” said Woods. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Congratulations to the graduates!

For pictures of the festivities, click here.

Visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville for information about programs and services in the Texas Hill Country community

BCFS HHS – Kerrville Expands Services

Texas Governor’s Office Awards Grants to BCFS Health and Human Services for Work with Kerr County Youth

KERRVILLE – The Criminal Justice Division of the Texas Governor’s Office has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services a two-year, $216,000 grant to support individuals whose lives have been directly affected by crime. The Transitional Housing Initiative grant will support Our House operated by BCFS Health and Human Services-Kerrville, a transitional living program for young adults. The program provides intensive case management to young adults who are victims of abuse and/or neglect, foster children aging out of foster care, and other victims at risk of uncertain circumstances. Our House offers safe, stable housing, and professional guidance for qualifying program participants while connecting them to resources that promote independence and long-term success.

The Texas Governor’s Office awarded BCFS-Kerrville a second grant to support the Youth Averted from Delinquency (YAD) Program. This $70,000, one-year grant will help BCFS-Kerrville’s YAD program address truancy and delinquency in juveniles between the ages of 14-17 by providing intensive case management services to youth and their families.

“Over the next two years we expect the programs supported by these grants to positively impact the lives of youth and families in Kerrville and surrounding Kerr County with intervention services that we know work,” says Dennis Ferguson, program director for BCFS-Kerrville. “Both grants affirm that investing in our youth is critical in today’s society. Our goal is to develop these youth to become contributing members of their community.”

The Transitional Housing Initiative grant targets young adults ages 18-25 who have been victims of crime, with an emphasis on those who have past involvement with the child welfare system. Supportive services utilize a trauma-informed care approach and includes intense case management for youth and families, individual and group life skills training, restorative justice, and access to other critical resources.

The YAD program addresses the needs of youth facing troubling circumstances by providing intensive, evidence-based wraparound services that include engaging school counselors, law enforcement, juvenile justice probation, and the court system to ensure positive outcomes. Recent data confirm 94 percent of YAD program participants did not reoffend, 78 percent had no further truancy incidents, and 80 percent reported a decrease in substance abuse.

“BCFS Health and Human Services is committed to delivering strong outcomes through these well-established and proven programs,” said Celeste Garcia, Executive Director of BCFS Health and Human Services Community Services Division. “We are committed to continuing these successful programs to ensure youth in this community have a real chance at success!”

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, or to support BCFS’ work in Kerrville visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.

Kerrville Celebrates the Grand Opening of the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center

Photo: BCFS Resource Center building

It was standing room only today at the celebration to mark the grand opening of the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center. The 20,000 sq. ft. facility on Main Street is the cornerstone of the city’s non-profit block, offering comprehensive, “one stop” services to local children, teens, young adults and families in need.

The event was hosted by BCFS and featured Kerrville family physician and longtime BCFS board member Dr. David Sprouse as the master of ceremonies, entertainment by the Tivy High School Marching Band and lunch catered by Don Strange. The celebration also included a dedication of the building in honor of Babs Baugh, a passionate advocate for children’s causes, who was named “BCFS Chairman of the Board Emeritus.” Dr. G. William (Bill) Nichols, a nationally recognized artist who lives in the Hill Country, was commissioned to paint a portrait of Baugh that was unveiled following the ribbon cutting ceremony and will hang in the building’s entryway.
For years, Sandy Cailloux dreamt of creating a non-profit block of community organizations where, together, agencies could leverage their combined talents, resources, passion and compassion to generate a powerful force for good. Nearly four years ago, The Cailloux Foundation, who had been a longtime supporter of the transition center model operated by BCFS Health and Human Services, launched a $500,000 challenge grant to build a new center.
The facility will now house several area non-profit organizations, including Art2Heart; BCFS Health and Human Services; Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, Inc.; Families & Literacy, Inc.; Goodwill Industries of San Antonio; Hill Country Ministries, Inc.; and New Hope Counseling. BCFS Health and Human Services’ transition center will also offer free space to organizations on a daily, weekly, monthly or as needed basis; making important resources efficient and easily accessible, without duplicating services already available in the community.
“Today, the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center stands tall as a beacon of hope and healing for anyone needing help. It offers efficient access to critical resources for those who are struggling; bolsters the community’s ability to quickly intervene during crises; and instills a strong sense of personal responsibility in youth and families by creating an environment of accountability for turning their lives around,” stated BCFS President Kevin C. Dinnin.
The center is open to anyone in need, including youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, truancy and substance abuse. Under a single roof, individuals have access to counseling, case management, literacy and educational support, job training and placement with local businesses, housing location and more. The center also offers programs that strengthen families, providing parenting support groups and classes that help open communication and teach innovative, healthy ways to set boundaries and discipline; as well as creative art therapy and counseling for individuals of all ages.
For more information about BCFS’ work in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

BCFS hosts 3rd annual Men’s Breakfast in Kerrville

On Thursday, November 12, BCFS Health and Human Services brought Kerrville men (and women) together at the third annual Men’s Breakfast, featuring a classic car show, pro-football player, live music and steak and eggs – all to benefit Hill Country youth and families in need.
Tyrone Smith, former NFL defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and former Baylor University Cornerback and Team Captain, led the keynote address entitled Know Your Purpose. The Tivy High School varsity football team was among the 220 guests. The George Eychner Quintet performed while guests perused a classic car show at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. A hearty steak and eggs feast was on the menu as well, catered by Rails.
Several youth from foster care and the juvenile justice system who are in BCFS Health and Human Services’ programs attended the breakfast to personally thank donors and sponsors for their support.
The breakfast raised more than $30,000 to benefit Kerrville youth and families served by BCFS Health and Human Services. Major sponsors for the breakfast included Trade Mark-Carrier, JM Lowe, Kerrville Public Utility Board, Family Practice Associates and Camp Mystic.
“When we provide young men and women with educational and economic opportunity, and serve as a stabilizing force in their tumultuous lives, it’s good for our entire community,” said Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, development director for BCFS Health and Human Services. “The men and women who enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in the Hill Country.”
BCFS Health and Human Services helps youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems; families with young children and teens; and young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and unemployment. The organization provides counseling, education and housing assistance, mentorships, case management, parent support groups, child abuse prevention programs, and life skills trainings.
“We are so proud to be part of a town that sees value and potential in each and every life. It’s wonderful to see time-and-time again how invested our community members are in making sure we reach out our hands to help everyone who wants to work hard to reach their dreams – regardless of the challenge,” said Brenda Thompson, BCFS Health and Human Services’ local director.
For more information about BCFS’ work in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

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 Celebrates “National Foster Care Month”

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lifts Up Youth in Foster Care

May is “National Foster Care Month”

According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Kids Count Data Center, in 2014 there were more than 30,000 children in Texas’ foster care system. The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work’s Child and Family Research Institute has shown that foster youth, statistically, have poor educational outcomes, are less likely to finish high school, go to college or hold stable employment.
As the nation marks May as “National Foster Care Month,” BCFS Health and Human Services works daily to help young adults and youth in foster care grow toward independent adulthood and self-sufficiency.
At BCFS’ transition centers throughout Texas, 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. The organization focuses on offering a support system to youth in foster care that helps them grow into healthy, productive adults.
“These young people are in our community, and some have endured serious tragedies and challenges through no fault of their own,” say center directors. “Our mission is to help youth learn responsibility, seek and find opportunities and, ultimately, create a healthy, loving environment for themselves, their families and our larger community.
“What we offer at the center teaches them that everyone is important, and everyone can make a positive difference.”
BCFS also offers foster care services that connect youth with safe and loving foster homes. Adults who would like information about becoming a foster parent can call (210) 208-5629 or visit DiscoverBCFS.net/FosterCare.
For more information about the BCFS’ transition centers, their programs or how to help, visit DiscoverBCFS.net.

Brenda Thompson joins BCFS in Kerrville

BCFS Health and Human Services taps Thompson as Director of Community Based Services in Kerrville

KERRVILLE — BCFS Health and Human Services has named Brenda Thompson the new Director of Community Based Services at the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center. In this role, Thompson will oversee all programs operated at the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center, and will be at the helm when the new BCFS Texas Hill Country Resource Center opens later this year.

In her new role, Thompson will oversee all BCFS programs in Kerrville, manage the new center’s key projects, actively engage in community education and outreach and be responsible for all BCFS operations in Kerrville.

Thompson joins BCFS having previously served as CEO of the Kerr County YMCA and Executive Director of the Kerr County Day Care Center. Over her 18-year career in social services, Thompson secured $2 million in grants, initiated the merger of the Kerr County Day Care Center and the Kerr County YMCA, and operated programs that served thousands of families across the Hill Country.

“Retirement was short lived for me,” says Thompson. “When the opportunity with BCFS presented itself, I knew I needed to be a part of bringing a new nonprofit resource center to Kerrville that would help so many people in our community. My passion is working with youth and families so I am thrilled to be a part of BCFS and the many programs that they offer people in our area.”

BCFS Development Officer and Kerrville-native Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is excited to welcome Thompson to the team. “Brenda and I worked together for years in local non-profits before joining BCFS, so I have seen first-hand how passionate she is about helping people. She’ll be a valuable asset to BCFS,” said Maxwell-Rambie.

“Brenda joins the BCFS team with a wealth of experience under her belt serving folks in Kerrville,” says Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President-Community and International Operations. “She is highly respected and well-known in the community because she has served here for nearly 20 years. We are honored that she’ll become the face of BCFS in the Hill Country.”

Construction is currently underway on the nearly 20,000 square-foot BCFS Texas Hill Country Resource Center. The new building will house several social service agencies and be the centerpiece of the non-profit block on Main Street. According to Maxwell-Rambie, the shared-space model emphasizes accountability in the youth and families it serves, ensures services are unduplicated, and promotes efficiency through the leveraging of shared talents and resources.

In the new center, BCFS will provide teens, young adults and families with counseling, case management, access to medical care, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, literacy training, educational support, and connections to employment and educational opportunities all under one roof.

To learn more about the BCFS Texas Hill Country Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.

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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.