Texas First Lady announces Network of Nurture Initiative for child welfare system

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman sent a letter to faith partners across Texas Thursday asking them to join with DFPS to help provide support to youth and families in the child welfare system.

In announcing the Network of Nurture Initiative, Abbott and DFPS are seeking to find loving homes, educate parents and provide support for the youth in foster care by promoting a partnership between DFPS and faith partners in Texas communities.

“The new year brings new hope for health, happiness and prosperity, and resolutions to spend more time enjoying friends and most importantly, family,” the letter said. “While not everyone feels called to foster or adopt a child in need, we are all called to do something for this vulnerable population. As you start planning your programs for the new year, please consider becoming a part of a ‘network of nurture’ that provides support to youth and families in the child welfare system.”

In the letter, Abbott and Whitman laid out a number of ways that faith partners and their members can help:

• Survey members to see how many foster and adoptive families are a part of congregations that may need support;

• Encourage members to provide support services to foster and adoptive parents, such as babysitting or providing meals;

• Mentor an older youth transitioning out of the foster care system through ministries such as The Open Table, a faith-based model that congregations use to create community and transformation;

• Donate diapers, clothing, school supplies, car seats, cribs and beds or volunteer to help sort items at a CPS Rainbow Room;

• Consider joining the CarePortal or Orphan Care Solutions, online portals that allow congregants to fulfill requests for goods and services requested by a CPS caseworker or family member; and

• Participate in Blue Sunday, a national day of prayer for abused and neglected children that is typically held on the last Sunday in April.