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Local leaders, organizations joining together to support foster care system

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 2:15 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The foster care system is changing in Texas, and as those changes are making their way to our area, a group of local leaders is working together to get ahead.

Community groups and leaders like Waco mayor Dillon Meek, CASA of McLennan County, Prosper Wacp and others are part of the Families and Foster Care Coalition. Anna Futral, executive director of CASA of McLennan County, said the coalition has several goals, including looking at the challenges families and kids face in foster care, and finding ways to strengthen community support.

Futral said foster care is complex, and there are major changes to the system coming, as the state rolls out a new method for placement and case management. While the changes are not in our area yet, Futral said it’s important that all the non-profits, angencies and people involved in the foster care system are on the same page.

“It’s very, very important that service providers or ministries or nonprofits or state agencies, all the folks that are working together now in this coalition can honestly have our act together ourselves so that we can provide quality services and support for these families and children.”

Futral said another aspect of the coalition is raising awareness about foster care. Right now, there is a capacity crisis across the state. There are not enough foster placements for children, and Futral believes that greater awareness about the process could help.

She hopes to show people there are many ways to get involved beyond becoming a foster parent.

“There are many ways that you can support foster families via non-profits or some church ministries here locally, and could cause a family to remain open to take children, or take additional children, for example, because they have that support,” Futral said.

Mandy Vasquez Moore is a foster parent, who is also the executive director of Foster Village Waco, a nonprofit that’s part of the coalition.

Vasquez Moore said when you’re a foster parent, a child can come to your home on short notice, so having the support of organizations in the community is important.

She said that’s part of what she hopes the coalition can help accomplish.

“What we’re able to do is streamline our efforts together to really support families well, so that families already involved and families hoping to get involved in foster care can feel encouraged and supported and hopefully have a more sustained journey whenever they’re involved in foster care.” Vasquez Moore said.

Futral said the group has already met once, and they are working out more specific goals for what they’d like to accomplish, and identifying any gaps. Futral said one focus that’s already become apparent are some gaps in services, especially in the area of mental health.

If there are any groups or people involved with foster care who are not part of the coalition and would like to be, they can contact Prosper Waco at (254) 741-0081 for more information.

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