Foster Angels of Central Texas Foundation

The mission of Foster Angels of Central Texas is to improve the lives of the growing numbers children in foster care in our region - to ensure that each child has his or her basic needs met, and to provide life-enriching and life-enhancing experiences whenever possible. We seek to provide the kinds of interventions and supports that allow at-risk children to realize their full potential. In 2011, we served 1,162 foster children by providing them with immediate - often within 48 hours or less - assistance, thereby eliminating the red tape that often prevents the child from getting what they need in their greatest moment of need. Foster Angels of Central Texas is unique in that 100% of grants ...

Foster Angels of Central Texas Foundation
P.O. Box 152575
Austin, Texas 78715
United States
5127322329
http://www.fosterangelsctx.org

Board of Directors

Julie Applewhite, Suzy Balagia, Paul Bessette, Jo Burgh, Leon Chen, Allison Edwards, Thom Farrell, JJ Gottsch, Cuatro Groos, Richard Leshin, Derek Lewis, Vilma Luna, Wallace Lundgren, Dennis McWilliams, MP Mueller, Ted Oakley, Kathy Petet, Bill Walker, Jim Whorton, Ricky Williams, Scott Wilson, Sharon Woodul

Mission

The mission of Foster Angels of Central Texas is to improve the lives of the growing numbers children in foster care in our region - to ensure that each child has his or her basic needs met, and to provide life-enriching and life-enhancing experiences whenever possible. We seek to provide the kinds of interventions and supports that allow at-risk children to realize their full potential. In 2011, we served 1,162 foster children by providing them with immediate - often within 48 hours or less - assistance, thereby eliminating the red tape that often prevents the child from getting what they need in their greatest moment of need. Foster Angels of Central Texas is unique in that 100% of grants and donations to our agency are used directly for the benefit of children in foster care. In operation since March 2010, Foster Angels of Central Texas was modeled on Foster Angels of South Texas, which has operated successfully for 13 years to benefit thousands of children in foster care in that region. Foster Angels of Central Texas works closely with Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Director of CPS Region 7, which spans 30 counties. Foster Angels of Central Texas has grown in response to ever-increasing numbers of requests from CPS caseworkers, who see multiple unfulfilled needs in the foster children they oversee, and who were often stymied in obtaining help for these children until Foster Angels began its work. Its Director, as well as dozens of caseworkers, have voiced support and recognized the true necessity for this program to aid children in foster care, often commenting: "What did we do before Foster Angels?" That answer, sadly, is that many children suffered unnecessarily. The overall objective of Foster Angels of Central Texas is to provide assistance to as many foster children as possible, operating year-round. To that end, our objectives for 2012 are as follows: Serve a minimum of 1,200 foster children annually; Approve, a minimum of, 100 requests from foster children per month; Maintain an average request size of $150 per child, and $500 per family of 5 foster children or more; and Increase program awareness by receiving requests from at least 100 CPS caseworkers in order to reach more children in need. We collect monthly data from all incoming requests to track the total number of children served each month and the type of requests received. This data is used to determine whether Foster Angels is on pace to meet its annual goals. If not, the Executive Director will visit each agency with which we partner, and develop a plan to increase the number of children assisted, and/or the amount of funds, if any, that are needed. The Executive Director will regularly visit with CPS staff to ensure that the program is running smoothly on both ends, and to maximize awareness of the program. Progress toward goals is regularly reviewed by the Board of Directors to determine any changes in operations or opportunities to improve our services.

Programs

The mission of Foster Angels of Central Texas (FACT) is to improve the lives of the 5,000 children in foster care in our region - to ensure that each child has his or her basic needs met, and to provide life-enriching and life-enhancing experiences whenever possible. Increasingly limited state funds for the needs of these children mean that things that are assumed to be a regular part of childhood are often out of reach - everything from adequate food, clothing and shelter, to support for educational goals, to happy events such as birthday parties and summer camp. Older foster kids need extra help to secure jobs and safe places to live. Foster Angels works closely with Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Director of CPS Region 7, which spans 30 counties. CPS caseworkers interact directly with foster children and identify those in need of our assistance. Caseworkers are provided with Foster Angels request forms that can be emailed or faxed 24 hours a day to submit personalized requests on behalf of foster children. FACT receives and processes these requests on a daily basis. These requests are then granted and delivered to CPS within 48 hours whenever possible. The overall objective of Foster Angels of Central Texas is to provide assistance to as many foster children as possible; our objective for 2012 is to increase the number of foster children we serve to at least 1,200. Donations and grants allow us to provide direct benefits and fulfill some of the crucial needs of 15 children in foster care. Here are a few examples of how we help: Catherine, 12, and Shannon, 4, have never slept in a bed of their own. We provided the girls with new beds to replace the old air mattress they were sharing in their foster home. Nicholas, 17, has been in foster care and residential treatment centers for many years. He has worked hard to make good grades and would like to go to college. Foster Angels was able to pay for his SAT Preparation classes. Despite the fact that over 400,000 children are in foster care in the U.S., foster children are often called "invisible" or "forgotten," a voiceless population living in most communities without public notice. Each day, more children are taken from their families and homes due to neglect and abuse; most are placed in a foster home under the care of non-relative caregivers. Many enter the foster care system abruptly and are placed in unfamiliar settings with no personal belongings. It is the norm for foster children to move frequently: on average, a child will experience 3 different placements, but many have been in more than 20. There is little that remains constant in a foster child's life. It is no surprise that foster children face significant educational challenges and barriers to educational success. The vast majority of foster children have no mentor, and lack a consistent advocate in their teachers because of high rates of school transfers and mobility. Often, foster children do not receive adequate emotional and physical support, and are already at a disadvantage from their peers because many have experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional trauma. Due to their lack of a support system, foster children are more likely to drop out of school, be unemployed, homeless, or incarcerated as an adult. In fact, the arrest rate for those 18 to 24 is 4 times as high for former foster children as for others. Some 46% of former foster children will still lack a high school diploma 4 years after leaving foster care. Many current foster children fear the day they turn 18, when a child "ages out" of the system and no longer receives community or governmental help. Many never find their "forever family." Each year, some 28,000 children age out of the system with no family and little to no support, and without the skills and tools needed to live a satisfying and promising adult life. Foster children did not choose a life of abandonment, abuse, and neglect, but fell into their unfortunate circumstances at no fault of their own. Sadly, these children are failed and disappointed time and time again. Being able to provide them with some solace and encouragement through a new pair of shoes, a comfortable bed, a cap and gown for graduation, or the chance take music lessons can begin to instill in them the hope they may have lost. Uncertainty is a major part of a foster child's daily life: Will I be taken away from my family again? Will I get to sleep in a bed? Will I be moved again this week? Will I make friends at my new school? Will there be food for dinner? Will I ever see my brother and sister again? What will happen to me when I turn 18? Moreover, because of limited funding from state agencies, foster children are often unable to pursue their educational goals. The very high school mobility rate experienced by foster children is a crucial element in the high rates of school failure, behavior problems, and low rates of high school completion among this population. FACT is proud to provide support that can make a huge difference to a foster child who is struggling to achieve success at school and gain the skills to become a self-reliant adult. Some examples of how we support education: SAT Preparation Classes and GED Testing; Tutoring and Community- and School-based Summer Programs; After School Programs; College Textbooks and School Supplies; Driver's Education; Vocational and Certification Programs, and Computers and Educational Software. All children deserve to have their basic needs met, and to experience some kind of joy in their lives and be able to pursue their dreams. FACT provides assistance to meet the needs of children in foster care, not only to fulfill immediate needs, but also to promote self-esteem and self-worth so that these children can experience a meaningful adult life and contribute to society in the future. In order to ensure that foster care youth are given the tools to live a satisfying and promising adult life, Foster Angels of Central Texas seeks to impact their lives now. Almost each day of the year, we are assisting children in some area of need. For example, we help fill basic needs for good nutrition, healthcare, clothing and shelter, while at the same time we provide a unique source of support for education and its associated expenses. Many of the foster children we serve have missed out on things many children are able to take for granted: a bicycle, a birthday party, a prom, the chance to play baseball, help with homework, or even just the chance to enjoy new clothes. Foster children did not choose a life of abandonment, abuse, and neglect. They fell into these unfortunate circumstances at no fault of their own. Being able to provide them with some solace and encouragement through a pair of shoes, a cap and gown for graduation, or the chance to go to summer camp can begin to instill in them the hope they may have lost. Most of our requests fall into the following categories: education (such as summer school, GED and SAT testing, books, tuition, or computers); recreation (including summer camp, school or team uniforms, and special events); clothing and personal care items; housing and shelter (beds, cribs, linens, an air conditioner or fan); food; medical needs; adoption expenses; and transportation (including bus passes and driver's education). Many children enter foster care with very few articles of clothing or personal possessions, including basic hygiene and personal care items. In one case, six siblings, all under the age of 9, were found living in an abandoned church without running water or electricity. They came into foster care with the clothes they were wearing and nothing more. Foster Angels immediately provided the children with new clothes, shoes, and personal care items.

Statistics on Foster Angels of Central Texas Foundation