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June 16th

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Stories

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10 Things the 85th Texas Legislature Got Right, Plus All the Rest from A to Z

The 85th Texas Legislature was one for the history books when it comes to child welfare.  From the unprecedented investment of an additional $508 million in the child protection system to the authorization of expanded community-based care and numerous other key decisions in between, Texas took major strides toward achieving the rallying cry of “Let’s Get It Right” that was adopted by legislative members and advocates alike.

In 2015, Governor Abbott declared at his inauguration, “Our children transcend politics.”  This year, the governor made the child protection system the first of his emergency items for consideration, and the Legislature – already having committed to giving this subject high-priority treatment – responded in many meaningful ways.  Upbring was pleased to support 64 different bills from 40 different legislative authors, including several of the session’s highest priority bills. Read More

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Upbring Thanks Katy Lifestyle Chiropractic for 10 Years of Generous Support

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

As Dr. Lambert Collins and his wife Lorrie were establishing Katy Lifestyle Chiropractic in 2008, they wrote a mission statement they called “The Miracle Year of Wellness.” The mission is aimed at improving the health and well-being of 10,000 individuals in the community through natural health solutions, patient education and charitable efforts. Read More

How to Become Foster Parents in Texas in 9 Steps

How to Become Foster Parents in Texas

Wondering how to become foster parents in Texas? Foster In Texas (FIT) works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to find loving families for thousands of children each year. We know that getting started as a new foster parent can seem scary, so we’ve simplified the process into nine steps that paint a clear picture of how to become foster parents in Texas. Read More

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Running Toward a New Life

Running is more than a great way for kids to stay healthy. Physical activity also releases endorphins that help heal the nervous systems of children who have experienced trauma.

That is why the recreational therapy specialists at Upbring New Life Children’s Center started a running club. One of hundreds of girls who has found confidence through the running club is 17-year-old Anna.

Before she discovered a love for running, Anna brimmed with anger and animosity from painful emotional wounds caused by chronic childhood trauma.

Today, Anna smiles as she finds her stride and races toward the finish line. “I used to be focused on the past,” Anna said, “but now I am excited about my future.” And Anna sure does have some big dreams.

She plans to graduate from college, compete in the Olympics, and then become a doctor.

Running is an example of the recreational therapy activities that are part of New Life’s comprehensive treatment program. The program includes in-depth clinical therapy, spiritual care, preparation for adult living, and on-site education through our Trinity Charter School partnership.

The courageous young girls who call New Life home bring their own talents and dreams. It is our joy to give them a safe place to place to heal, grow and thrive.

 

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Upbring BeREAL Program Earns Special Recognition from Texas Network of Youth Services

Upbring accepted the Steve Wick Innovation Program Award for its BeREAL program during the annual Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) conference. (L-R) Stephanie Bernal, BeREAL caseworker; LaNisha Bell, BeREAL caseworker; Lacy Carr, BeREAL program director; Krystale Bezio, Upbring senior vice president of program operations; Christine Gendron; TNOYS executive director; and John Bracken of the TNOYS board of directors.

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Meet the Ratcliffs

Like many couples, Fred and Portia Ratcliff wanted desperately to experience the joys of parenthood. But after trying for 10 years to conceive, the couple opened their minds – and their hearts – to another way of building their family.

Since 2006, the Ratcliffs have partnered with Upbring Foster In Texas to welcome nearly 200 children into their home.

By the time they arrive at the Ratcliff’s door, some of these precious children have been stripped of everything, from their self-esteem to the clothes on their back. Once, a newborn came straight from the hospital with nothing but a dirty diaper.

From toothpaste to clothes to three hot meals a day, the Ratcliffs provide the children in their care with the essentials of daily life. But that is just the beginning.

These incredibly brave children cannot stand up for themselves, so the Ratcliffs stand up for them. Portia beams with pride when she explains that the kids affectionately refer to her as Mama Bear because they know she will always go to bat for them.

For the Ratcliffs, fostering is a soul-feeding, lifetime passion. With an endless supply of love to give, they will continue welcoming any child who needs a safe, nurturing place to call home.

For the rest of the Ratcliff’s inspiring story, visit our YouTube page and watch their short video.

Partnership Builds Foundation for Stability

Upbring BeREAL participant Mustapha Feika

Mustapha Feika is one of six Upbring BeREAL participants living in affordable housing provided through a partnership between Upbring and Foundation Communities.

Permanency is the gold standard of the foster care system. But what does it mean?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines permanency as a legal, permanent family arrangement.

But permanency is more than an arrangement approved and bound by a judge. It is a feeling, and to define a feeling, we need to consult people like Mustapha Feika.

Mustapha spent most of his childhood bouncing between foster homes and shelters. Now 19 years old, Mustapha is uniquely qualified to define permanency within the foster system’s confines.

“Permanency to me means I have a safe, secure place where I feel welcome, and I’m part of a community that supports me,” Mustapha said.

Mustapha is experiencing the permanency that eluded him during his childhood, thanks to a new, strategic partnership between Upbring and Foundation Communities. Read More

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