A big response in the Big Country! The MCH Family Outreach office in Abilene participated in the Greater-Abilene Foster Care Simulation February 21. The event, produced by Big Country CASA, was the first of its kind in Texas.
The event was designed to raise awareness of the foster care process and what children, families and other parties involved experience. The more than 60 participants were assigned a specific role – either as a child, biological parent, foster parent, court appointed special advocate, case manager or a child placement agency. The simulation took participants through the first month of various foster care placement scenarios with each week broken up in 15-minute increments. Several sponsors and partners, including the MCH Family Outreach team in Abilene, acted as the professionals, and guided participants through certain areas of care such as counseling, services and visitation.
“I have a heart for children and families,” said Maggie Brennan, director of MCH Family Outreach in Abilene. “I was adopted at birth. It’s a really beautiful thing to see families open up their homes and see others support those families going through the organized chaos that is foster care. This simulation is so important for the greater-Abilene community to help close the knowledge gaps in the system.”
There are 395 children in foster care in Taylor County, according to Rebel Taylor, advocate and events director for Big Country CASA.
The need for foster homes in the Big Country region is critical. Child placement agencies are needing 1,500 additional beds to adequately care for foster children.
“It is so powerful to see how our community is coming together to learn more about foster care,” Taylor said. “Politicians even sent representatives to this simulation – that’s important because we know any change to improve the system will need to happen through state and national legislation.”
More than 25 organizations involved in foster care, including MCH Family Outreach, participated in a resource fair after the simulation. Thank you to Big Country CASA for collaborating with our team and others to bring more awareness of foster care to the greater-Abilene area!
MCH Family Outreach offices are ready to help families through the foster care process. Click here to learn more.