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April 20th

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Meet the Upbring Nurses serving our Foster Children with Primary Medical Needs


Phyllis Christensen, RN, and Mary Appl, LVN, travel to Upbring Foster In Texas homes – served by 14 offices across Texas – to help our Primary Medical Needs (PMN) children. They make it a priority to ensure these foster children – 40 at the present count – receive the very best care possible.

Phyllis Christensen, RN

Phyllis Christensen, RN

Phyllis was an active duty airman in the Air Force for 21 years and retired to attend nursing school. She has worked as a Floor Nurse, ER Nurse and an ICU nurse, spent 10 years in the operating room and is certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Phyllis then went to work for Child Protective Services (CPS) as a Regional Nurse Consult – this was a newly created position serving foster children in 30 Texas counties. In early 2011, Phyllis joined Upbring, The New LSS, as a therapeutic foster care nurse and PMN Director.

Mary has been a nurse for 20 years and joined Upbring in 2011 as a geriatric nurse at Trinity Lutheran in Round Rock (operated by Lutheran Social Services at the time). Later, an employee reached out about an available Regional Nurse position at Upbring with PMN foster children. Mary loved the idea of working at the other end of the age spectrum – with children from birth to 18 – and hasn’t looked back. Mary really enjoys the travel and the families she visits. “They are so devoted to caring for their foster kids, some of whom have serious medical issues,” said Mary.

Mary Appl, LVN

Mary Appl, LVN

PMN Family Visits
Phyllis and Mary, who visit each PMN foster family and conduct assessments on a quarterly basis, often find these appointments occur more frequently to help families answer questions or ease concerns. Their primary goal is to let families know they are accessible and at their service as needed

Phyllis and Mary also help parents navigate Medicaid, provide training on medication administration and regularly attend doctor appointments. Phyllis says the best part of her job is seeing how these children can progress and flourish in a loving environment.

Upbring is always in need of excellent, qualified foster parents, particularly for PMN children. For those who might consider this commitment, but worry about the challenges of caring for children with special medical needs, Phyllis and Mary will be there for you!

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, visit

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