From the mesas of New Mexico to the coastal areas of the Gulf and everywhere in between, MCH Family Outreach offices are impacting communities through transformational services and support to children and families. The primary goal of MCH Family Outreach is to strengthen families to help them provide safe, stable and healthy family environments. Whether it is illness, conflict, school difficulties, parenting challenges, or needing assistance connecting to other community resources, MCH Family Outreach is committed to helping families flourish.
Abilene: The Oakleys, a foster family in Abilene, have always loved having siblings placed together in their home. Over the last year and a half, they adopted two sisters on separate timelines – one in July 2021 and the other in June 2022. Early in 2022 both sisters started visiting with their baby sister who was placed with their paternal grandmother. When there was a placement disruption, the Oakley family was approached about having the baby sister also placed in their home. She arrived in their home in July. The older sisters have loved having their baby sister in the home with them and she has acclimated very well to the Oakley home. The family continues to maintain visits with the paternal grandmother in order to maintain that family connection.
Albuquerque: Cuidando Los Ninos (CLN) provides childcare and housing support for families experiencing homelessness. An MCH case manager began teaching Circle of Security classes at CLN for their participants. This was her second time working with CLN and her first in-person class.
The participants became a support for one another as they shared details of their challenges with their children. These challenges range from their interactions with the state’s children, youth and family department, tantrums and potential foster care placements. The participants were presented with the option to continue a Connected Caregiver’s class which they all welcomed as they wanted to continue to grow in their parenting skills and understanding.
Bryan: Monica is a single mother of two teenage sons. She is employed with Texas A&M University as a custodial supervisor. Monica had transportation but her vehicle was not reliable to get her to work or her children to school. Monica would have to leave meetings with her MCH case manager early to ensure she could make it home safely. MCH nominated Monica to OnRamp, an organization that donates cars to people in the community. After the car is donated, OnRamp handles all routine maintenance and repairs for a year. After the review of her application, Monica was selected to have an interview. She did well on her interview and was chosen to receive a vehicle. This news was life-changing for Monica. MCH continues to partner with OnRamp and its amazing staff of people who make dreams come true. Monica enrolled in the GED program since she now has reliable transportation to attend the classes.
Corpus Christi: The Corpus Christi office served Mr. A, a single father raising three daughters, through the Family Solutions program. He initially reached out seeking information and guidance on better communicating with his daughters as they grow. He was also interested in information on budgeting, community resources and parent support. During services, Mr. A was able to successfully obtain affordable housing for his family. Mr. A and MCH continued to review and monitor his budget, he started a savings plan, connected with local resources and attended family events with his children.
During an event at his daughter’s school, Mr. A guided children and other parents in building a picnic table. The school now has several picnic tables for the children to enjoy for years to come. MCH staff have enjoyed witnessing his confidence as his parenting skills grow as he has strengthened his connections with community programs and within the school district.
Dallas: Through the Gap program, the Dallas team walked alongside an aunt raising her great-niece after her sister passed away from cancer. The caregiver reached out to MCH Family Outreach in Dallas after looking online for assistance. The family was facing eviction and needed affordable housing for her and her great-niece. After joining the Gap program, she was able to acquire full-time employment and more affordable housing with the guidance and support of her MCH case manager. Through referrals and advocacy, she was also able to get the family into counseling for grief and loss. The caregiver worked with the case manager to create a monthly budget and was able to create savings and an emergency fund for the family. The family is now financially stable and continues to access counseling for additional support.
El Paso: Liliana, a single mother of five children ages 9 to 17, sought services from MCH Family Family Outreach in El Paso after struggling with her ability to communicate and connect with her children. Initially, she believed she was a bad mother and focused only on her struggles and failures. Liliana experienced abandonment and fear as a child which she carried into her adult life. She lived in survival mode, providing only basic needs and putting the importance of bonding and connection with her children in a secondary position.
As time passed, she realized her children were defiant and rebellious. Some were isolating themselves while others were putting themselves at risk in order to gain her attention. Through the Family Solutions program, Liliana was able to revisit her own experience of attachment and trauma. This experience gave her a better understanding of safety and the importance of having a voice, two things she lacked as a child. As she unlearned her old habits, she began to change and learned to properly care and nurture her children. In addition to praising and redirecting her children in a positive manner, she can now make positive statements about herself.
Houston: MCH Family Outreach in Houston worked with a single mother having trouble finding stable housing and establishing herself and her four kids in the city. She found her savings slowly dwindling and was unable to connect to resources because she was new to the city. MCH was able to connect her to different community resources and assist her with obtaining everyday household items such as pots, pans, dishes, silverware, and cleaning items.
MCH staff walked alongside her as she completed tasks that looked completely different than those required in her home state, such as enrolling her children in school and applying for food and medical assistance. With the support of MCH, she accomplished her goal of moving into a brand-new apartment and becoming a licensed realtor in Texas.
Killeen: MCH Family Outreach in Killeen worked with a mother enrolled in the Nurturing Parenting class and a father who was simultaneously enrolled in the Circle of Security class. They completed the parenting education but desired additional support navigating the education system for their son. The parents feared their child was not being appropriately challenged in school and would display negative behavior in the classroom. An MCH case manager was able to provide information about the Family Solutions program and ways MCH can support them as they advocate for their child’s needs in the classroom. This family is eager to continue receiving MCH support through Family Solutions case management.
Las Cruces: MCH Family Outreach in Las Cruces, New Mexico, worked with a single mother struggling to find community resources to help her meet the needs of her two children with autism. The family hoped to create a safe home environment, get reliable transportation and receive help to get back pay from Social Security.
MCH assisting in getting the daughters enrolled into school, procured rental assistance from a COVID relief program and helped the family with Social Security issues. This allowed the mother to buy the car the family needed.
Shortly after catching up on rent, the family received an eviction notice. MCH linked the mother to community resources that assisted with the cost of a short-term hotel. Another community connection, Project Vida, provided shoes and clothing for her children. MCH also connected her with Community of Hope rapid rehousing program, which assisted the family with first month’s rent and deposit.
Lubbock: The Family Outreach office in Lubbock received a referral from a partnering agency for a mother and her two teenage boys needing family support, resources and parenting. The mother had relocated to Texas to participate in a program for victims of trafficking. She agreed to the move to provide a better life for her boys and to become a better parent. A month after she was in services with MCH, she was removed from the program that had sponsored her. This left her and her sons homeless with only the items they brought with them during this quick transition.
Her MCH case manager collaborated with another agency to provide food and shelter until permanent housing options could be made. Once the mother qualified for affordable housing, both agencies helped with upfront financial needs. Although she felt defeated just a month earlier when facing homelessness, the client now felt hope. She had been ready to give up and move back to her old life, but by the grace of God, a partnership of agencies was able to instill some faith and hope in this family. With the help of MCH, this mother has a home, a job that supports her and her children’s needs, and her boys are enrolled in school. She worked hard learning how to better communicate and how to nurture herself and her sons.
San Antonio: MCH Family Outreach in San Antonio worked with a single mother having trouble meeting her family’s basic needs. After losing her job during COVID and moving to escape a domestic violence situation, this mother struggled to make ends meet despite her best efforts.
MCH case managers helped connect the woman to several community resources to help with food and childcare assistance. The felt-support she received enabled her to begin a job search which led to her obtaining a stable position at a local surgery center.
With help from MCH she caught up on her utility payments and also developed a budgeting plan. She now has insurance for her family through her employer and is no longer reliant on food stamps to feed her family. The family continues to receive support from MCH and the mother hopes to begin working toward her goal of enrolling in a nursing program.
Transition Services: The Transition Services program worked with Luis, an alumnus of the charter school at MCH who is now a first-generation college student. (Read more about this student on page 18 of this issue of Sunshine magazine.) This young man’s family emphasized the importance of education beginning at a young age, and now he is working toward his educational goals at McLennan Community College with hopes of becoming a real estate agent. The Transition Services team provides ongoing case management as young people navigate the many challenges that come with independence.
Tyler: MCH Family Outreach in Tyler worked in conjunction with the Bryan outreach office to help a Gap family in the Tyler area. A grandchild was placed with the grandmother but they had not had a previous relationship. She was at a loss of where to begin to get him services. The MCH case manager connected the grandmother to several community resources and helped her fill out the necessary forms to get assistance. The case manager also began TBRI sessions with the grandmother to give her the tools she needed to start connecting with her grandson and how to handle some behaviors. MCH was able to provide the child with supplies and clothes as he began school. The case manager equipped the grandmother with budgeting knowledge to help her understand where cutbacks could be made to free up additional funds. With assistance from MCH, she now feels more equipped to handle the behaviors of a child who has been subjected to trauma. She was very thankful to have MCH as a part of her journey.
Waco: Waco Family Outreach is working with a client introduced to MCH through a presentation at Inspiracion Waco. The client has three children, one of whom was abused by a family friend. This traumatic event deeply affected this family, adding fear and anxiety in both caregivers and children. The client came to Waco Outreach hoping to receive help navigating counseling resources and guidance in parenting adolescents. The Waco case manager shared information about additional community resources, such as Shepherd’s Heart Ministry, and helped the client understand legal information given to her from American Gateways.
The caregiver has been timid about making community connections due to seeds of mistrust sewn by the traumatic event. MCH gave the client information on teaching sewing classes and potentially selling her items at local markets. With the help provided in case management the client is on track to teach sewing classes at the Good Neighbor House and her husband has been more open to bridging cultural differences and building relationships with others in their community.