BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lifts Up Youth in Foster Care
May is “National Foster Care Month”
May is “National Foster Care Month”
If you’re stopping by the 1100 block of Main Street anytime soon make sure you have on your hard hat. Construction is moving full speed ahead on Kerrville’s new center, known as the “BCFS Health and Human Services Texas Hill Country Resource Center.”
The Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) $125,000 toward the construction of a new Kerrville Transition Center that serves youth in foster care and those facing other struggles, such as homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, unplanned pregnancies and more. The project has received significant support from many community leaders, organizations and philanthropists passionate about filling an unmet need for youth of the Hill Country.
“Since we opened Kerrville’s original transition center six years ago, demand for services has exploded,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS HHS Executive Director of the Community Services Division. “We are grateful to the Peterson Foundation and all those who have and will invest in the expansion of transitional care services, so we may continue to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and, importantly, non-duplicated care to youth making the transition into independence and adulthood.”
Transition centers bring together under one roof services such as counseling, case management, access to medical care, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, literacy training, educational support, and connections to employment and educational opportunities. The new transition center will continue to be operated by BCFS HHS, while also housing four other non-profits: Art 2 Heart; Families & Literacy; and Partners In Ministry-Vision Youth. In addition, it will provide space on an as-needed basis for other community partners to directly offer services to youth.
The capital campaign was fueled by a $500,000 challenge grant from The Cailloux Foundation to build a new “one stop” transition center on the non-profit block managed by the Community Foundation. The new 16,000 square foot Kerrville Transition Center will provide a robust place where compassion and help will be available to serve more than 4,000 individuals in need each year. Christian Women’s Job Corps and Big Brothers Big Sisters will remain on the campus and offer coordinated services as well.
“We support the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country and BCFS HHS in this capital project and urge others to support it as well,” said Sandy Cailloux Executive Director of the Cailloux Foundation. “Helping at-risk youth and young adults become more responsible and self-sufficient gives them a much better start in life and strengthens our entire community.”
All gifts to the new Kerrville Transition Center are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to BCFS and mailed to 550 Earl Garret Suite 114 in Kerrville or at www.DiscoverBCFS.net/StepUp.
BCFS Health and Human Services’ new “Community Services Division” will lead programs that serve thousands of children, families and communities each year. Terri Hipps will serve as executive director, focusing on on developing best practice service models, and expanding programs and community support.
Effective April 1, BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS HHS) will join together the Teen & Youth Services and Community-based Services Divisions to create one unified “Community Services Division.”
The new division will lead programs that serve thousands of children, families and communities each year. Terri Hipps, who has been with BCFS HHS for 10 years, will serve as executive director. In this role, she will focus on developing best practice service models, and expanding programs and community support. Under Hipps’ leadership, three associate executive directors will assist with the management of operations throughout the far-reaching division.
Cindi Garcia, who has been with BCFS HHS for 14 years, will make the transition from executive director to vice president of program operations support for BCFS Community and International Operations. In this role, she will lead the agency’s investments in quality assurance, professional development, systems improvement, research, and other special projects.
“Smart and strategic growth management has ensured the BCFS system has had fortitude needed to sustain and expand our work times of prosperity as well as times of challenge,” said Ben Delgado, BCFS Executive Vice President of Community and International Operations. “This new structure will support increased standardization of business processes and shared best practices.”
“Terri and Cindi’s longtime leadership as executive directors has played a key part in making BCFS HHS what it is today,” he continued. “In their new roles, I know they will continue to be strong forces in the development of who we will be in the future.”
BCFS Health and Human Services today celebrated the opening of its new “Our House” program. BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home for homeless males between the ages of 18-23, located at 202 Vine Street. The vision for Our House was sparked years ago by the Christian Community Development Coalition (CCDC)….
ABILENE – BCFS Health and Human Services today celebrated the opening of its new “Our House” program. BCFS’ Our House is a transitional living home for homeless males between the ages of 18-23, located at 202 Vine Street.
The vision for Our House was sparked years ago by the Christian Community Development Coalition (CCDC), whose board members included passionate community members like Randy Perkins and Nancy Capra. At CCDC’s request, BCFS took on the project of bringing Our House from a dream to reality.
“It’s hard to chase your dreams when you’re worried about where you’re going to sleep at night or get your next meal,” said Terri Hipps, BCFS Executive Director of Teen and Youth Services.
“Homelessness impacts much more than the individual, it has a compounding effect on the health and prosperity of the whole community,” she continued. “BCFS is proud to have had the strong support of community leaders like Mayor Norm Archibald and the City of Abilene, as well as partner agencies, as we worked to build and open Our House and begin answering this vital need.”
Thanks to funding from numerous private foundations, individual donors, and a community development block grant through the City of Abilene, BCFS’ Our House represents a nearly $345,000 investment in serving struggling Abilene youth. Prior to opening, BCFS ensured that it secured enough revenue to cover Our House’s operating expenses for at least the first year. This tactic was a powerful statement of BCFS’ commitment to be a sustainable, long-term resource for youth and the community.
Youth may stay at Our House for as long as needed, which may range from a few months to a year. The key strength of the project will be its connection with BCFS’ Abilene Transition Center, which opened in 2011 and provides counseling, case management, and education, housing assistance and employment connections to more than 400 youth each year.
Those assisted by the transition center include former foster youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, high school drop outs and homeless young adults. According to the Abilene Independent School District, an estimated 743 students in were homeless at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. Foster youth are especially vulnerable to homelessness. Within 18 months of aging out of the state foster care system, 50 percent of youth struggle to put a roof over their heads. BCFS’ transition center and Our House project address these issues head-on, providing an easily-accessible and comprehensive network that makes getting help simple for youth.
“We are thankful to the community leaders, the City of Abilene, and our sister agencies, Hendrick Medical Center and Hardin-Simmons University, for their partnership and support,” said BCFS President and CEO Kevin C. Dinnin.
For more information about BCFS’ work with teen and youth around the world, please visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.