2018 will prove to be an exciting year for Harbor of Hope.
As of January, Harbor of Hope has officially settled in Denton. We are now calling the Texas Building in the square our home. What an exciting location, full of history, unique shops, and restaurants. The energy is inspirational, and we cannot wait to get to work!
As Harbor of Hope begins to put roots down and grow, I have had the honor to meet people along the way that have educated and inspired me. A couple of months ago, I sat down with some people with CPS to discuss the direction my agency should go after I learned that I would not be able to work in Tarrant County, where we were originally based. We reviewed regional maps, statistics and numbers, and I left this meeting with two conclusions:
- The region known as 3A (Wise, Cooke, Denton, Grayson, Fannin, Hunt, & Collin Counties) has a capacity issue. What this means, is that there are not enough foster homes in these counties to care for the children (also originating in these counties) coming into the system.
- Although, with the need for foster families willing to help all age ranges, there seems to be a higher demand for families to care for teenagers.
As someone who has worked in the foster care system for several years now, I can see first hand what ends up happening to teenagers in the system, and as a community, I know we can do better. There is a collective, ‘throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air’ mentality when it comes to teenagers in the foster care system. As a result, we have resorted to sending these kids to ‘shelters’ or ‘residential treatment centers’ which are in some cases a good temporary solution for kids that truly need this type of treatment, but in general, not an appropriate long term or short-term option for most of the teens in care.
During my meeting with CPS, we discussed, at length, solutions that would help give teenagers in care hope for their future. This ensures that teens have access to mental health support, access to opportunities to prepare for adult living, and the opportunity to lay down roots with a family that resides as close to their own home town as possible.
As a parent to three teenagers, I know that it is an extremely challenging task. The responsibility is great, but I know the challenge that has been presented to me is a worthy one. I am ready to take on that challenge, and I am looking for families that are willing to go on this journey with me.