Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) joined representatives from other childcare agencies across Texas at the State Capitol in Austin on Feb. 1 for the awareness event “Never Alone Star State – Advocating for Children in Foster Care” sponsored by the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services (TACFS).
“The alliance put together the event as an opportunity to unite together to advocate for children in foster care in Texas and encourage legislators to make these children a priority this legislative session,” said Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who helped arrange attendance to the event for MCH.
According to its website, the mission of TACFS is to strengthen services to children and families through quality care and advocacy. The alliance is made up of agencies that focus primarily on working with children and families who are at-risk, children who have experienced abuse and neglect and families dealing with low income, loss of jobs, domestic violence, and other issues.
Tim Brown, President/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home, also serves on the Board of Directors for TACFS. He said MCH felt it was important to participate in the awareness event due to the potential for wholesale changes to the Child Welfare Regulatory and Services system in Texas.
“Many of the changes being proposed are positive, but there are others that may impact agencies in unanticipated ways, agencies such as MCH who also serve children placed privately by their own families and caregivers,” Brown explained. “We felt like we could add balance to the proposed solutions by bringing a wider view to the discussions.”
Brown, along with several other agency leaders, was recognized at the Texas Senate during the session by Senator Charles “Carlos” Uresti of Senate District 19. Uresti serves as vice chair for the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Uresti sponsored the conference portion of the event which also included breakfast, presentations and speakers throughout the day, including remarks from Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. Participating agencies also spent the afternoon making legislative visits.
MCH is accredited through the Council on Accreditation (COA), accepts placements and referrals from TDFPS and is licensed and regulated by the department. Brown pointed out that MCH holds an excellent record of compliance and safety for those in our care.
“We wanted the opportunity to participate in the dialogue and support positive and necessary change without further encumbering providers with additional changes or regulations unnecessarily,” he said.