The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Direct Assistance for the Needs of Children in South Texas Foster Care

Grant Information
Categories Community
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2014
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Foster Angels of South Texas Foundation
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Jennifer Starr
Phone 512-949-1670
P.O. Box 18863
Corpus Christi
Additional Information
Used for This request would enable us to pursue our mission: ensuring that each child has his or her basic needs met, and providing life-enriching and life-enhancing experiences whenever possible. Foster Angels of South Texas exists to improve the lives of the thousands of children in South Texas foster care who have many unfulfilled needs relating to: food; healthcare; clothing; beds and cribs; school supplies; tutoring; college prep; job training; quality of life; and much, much more. Because the state provides limited financial support for foster children and requests made by caseworkers can take 4-8 weeks to be processed - if requests are granted at all - we work with caseworkers to respond to children’s requests within 48 hours or less, and would utilize 100% of the requested grant in order to provide direct assistance to children and youth in South Texas foster care.
Benefits Because of limited state support, the children we help, many of whom have experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and emotional trauma, have oftentimes gone without the positive experiences that non-foster children are able to take for granted - everything from a safe and comfortable bed to sleep in, to adequate food and clothing, to having a birthday party or holiday gift, to enriching activities in sports or the arts - until Foster Angels makes them available. Lacking a family safety net, youth formerly in foster care experience high rates of homelessness, unemployment and incarceration; according to the Texas Department of Youth and Family Services’ Preparation for Adult Living Program, only 2% of foster students graduate from college. Foster Angels of South Texas exists to not only to fulfill immediate needs of children in foster care, but also to provide the items, supports and opportunities that increase self-esteem, build useful life skills and help foster children succeed in school and prepare for college or the workforce, so that these children are empowered to experience a meaningful adult life, become self-sufficient and contribute to society in the future.
Proposal Description In fulfillment of its mission, the Foster Angels of South Texas has served over 25,000 infants, children and youth in the last 15 years. Specifically, the organization serves all ages of young people currently living in foster care in Child Protective Services (CPS) Region 11, made up of Texas' 19 southern-most counties, including those on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, an area known for extreme, persistent child poverty.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that in 2012, over 397,000 children were living in foster care in the U.S. Every day, thousands of children are removed from families and homes because of abuse and neglect. On average, foster children will experience three different placements while in foster care, but many have been in more than twenty. Fifty-percent of adult former foster children experienced seven or more school changes, according to the Casey Family Programs. While stability and connection are two of the things too often lacking in a foster child’s life; these are two of the most important things for a child’s healthy growth and development, and the lack of them has multiple negative effects. The prolonged stress experienced by a child who moves from place to place, with no permanent family or community ties, only exacerbates the challenges faced by children who originally came from homes where they may have experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment. Some 28,000 children in foster care age out of the system every year with no family and with little to no support, and without the skills and tools needed to live a satisfying and promising adult life. According to the Casey Family Programs, just 52% were employed at age 21, and 46% of former foster children still lack a high school diploma four years after leaving foster care.

The requested grant would be utilized for Foster Angels to fulfill requests for assistance for children and youth in South Texas foster care. Unfortunately, the funds currently granted to assist foster children through state and federal agencies are insufficient to provide the diversity of services needed for them. Foster Angels of South Texas works closely with South Texas’ Region 11 CPS caseworkers, who submit requests directly to us, which are generally fulfilled within 48 hours or less. For caseworkers, who have in-depth knowledge of the needs of foster children, it is frustrating when requests they make to the state for foster children’s needs take 4-8 weeks to be processed, and sometimes are not fulfilled at all. Because of Foster Angels, caseworkers have another option that allows them to get immediate help for foster children. Foster Angels' work is a welcome relief to caseworkers who are often burdened with financial responsibility as a last resort in order to take care of these children.

A Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation grant would allow Foster Angels to provide support for essential needs – food, medical care, and safe, comfortable places to sleep – and also help ensure that foster children do not miss out on some of the things children should be able to enjoy: a birthday gift, a bicycle, the chance to play baseball or join the school band or attend summer camp, or even just the chance to enjoy new clothes. Class trips, amusement park visits, school dances and swimming lessons are just a few of the other experiences Foster Angels has helped provide. Summer school or tutoring programs can help a foster child catch up on his or her education. For older foster children, needs include driver’s education, bus passes for school or jobs, SAT or GED testing or prep classes, and vocational or certification programs.

Each year, we expand our services in response to ever-increasing numbers of requests from CPS caseworkers. We have become a resource that caseworkers have come to depend upon to help the South Texas foster care youth who are most in need. We hope to have the support of the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation for our goal to fulfill all the requests we receive from CPS caseworkers, and to bring positive change to the lives of an often overlooked population.