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.

Men’s Breakfast Speaker Hits It Out of the Ballpark!

Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris has lived a life of inspiration; which made him the perfect speakers for BCFS Health and Human Services’ annual Men’s Breakfast hosted in Kerrville.

The sky was dark and the air was crisp in Kerrville. The thoroughfares seemed empty, but the community turned out in a show of early morning support for BCFS Health and Human Services’ Kerrville Men’s Breakfast. The event, which raised funds to help complete the organization’s new Texas Hill Country Resource Center for children, youth and families, featured uplifting words from former Major League Baseball pitcher Jimmy Morris.
Morris was a high school baseball coach who preached to his team to always follow their dreams, and to be undeterred by naysayers.
There are two types of people: those that want to see you fail, and those that want to see you succeed. The people at BCFS want you to succeed,” he said to nearly 200 community and business leaders, supporters and youth as day broke in the Texas Hill Country.
Morris coached baseball at Reagan County High School in the 1990s in Big Lake, Texas, a west-Texas oil drilling community. When his team challenged him to follow his own message of never giving up on your dreams, they made a friendly wager: If his team won district, he would try out for the majors again, reigniting a dream extinguished ten years prior due to injury.
Believing in his own hard work and his grandfather’s encouraging words, Coach Morris gave the big leagues another shot and, at age 35, made his rookie debut as a starting pitcher with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. While his major league career only lasted a few years due to persistent tendonitis, , Morris became a living testament for having a can-do attitude and following your dreams. His memoir, The Oldest Rookie, led to yet another first – his Hollywood debut – inspiring the 2002 feature film “The Rookie,” starring Dennis Quaid.
Having fulfilled his dream of playing major league baseball, Morris returned to his passion of working with youth and inspiring others to live out their dreams. Thanks to Morris’ support, more than $31,000 was raised for the new BCFS center, which will impact the lives of thousands each year.

Youth in foster care becoming SUPER HEROES

Hosted by BCFS Health and Human Services’ San Antonio Transition Center

Photo: Girl speakingSAN ANTONIO – On Wednesday July 2nd, youth in foster care gathered at the University of Texas at San Antonio for the 15th annual Independence Day youth conference for workshops and informational sessions aimed at preparing them for adulthood and independence when they age out of foster care. The conference, hosted by BCFS’ San Antonio Transition Center, included a college and career fair, four experiential workshops showcasing positions in multiple career fields, and a youth panel of alumni to discuss “Life after Foster Care.”

“For many youth in foster care, aging out of the system can be a scary and uncertain time,” says Terri Hipps, executive director of BCFS’ Community Services Division. “Too often, when they turn 18 years old they’re on their own trying to navigate college, their first job or first apartment without the traditional family support system to lean on. Our annual conference helps equip them for that transition toward independence.”

Approximately 100 youth were in attendance, as well as volunteers and 16 of BCFS’ community partners including UTHSC-UT Health, Metropolitan Health District, and Alamo Community Colleges. The event was sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio, Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) Mexico Center, and Full Force Foundation.

Many of the workshops focused on inspiring youth to pick a career field and commit to working hard to find a good job. Professionals from the fields of healthcare, public service, arts and science came to discuss educational requirements and healthy expectations about joining the workforce.

“During the ‘Life After Foster Care’ panel, several youth who went through the system and emerged successful, spoke about their struggles learning how to stand on their own two feet after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home,” says Tramelle Jones, BCFS’ Texas Workforce Advocate who helps youth find gainful employment. “It inspired the youth to hear they can take control of their future, stay focused, and work hard to achieve their dreams.”

The theme for this year’s conference was “Become a Super Hero,” because according to Gayle Spencer-Davis, the associate executive director for BCFS’ Community Services Division, the youth need to “learn the super power of flying forward towards a successful future regardless of their past.”

BCFS’ San Antonio Transition Center serves youth in and aging out of foster care, as well as other young adults facing challenges like homelessness, poverty, or those recovering from physical and emotional abuse. The center is a “one-stop-shop” that provides youth counseling, case management, and assistance with education, employment, housing location and medical care.

To learn more about the BCFS San Antonio Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/SanAntonio.