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Foster In Texas Archives • Upbring

San Antonio foster parents Gary and Sabina

San Antonio Foster Parents Build Legacy of Love

Gary and Sabina of San Antonio were blessed with three biological children. Their hearts led them to partner with Upbring foster-to-adopt to add two more to their family. If their story ended there, it would still be worth telling.

But the day they held a 3-month-old with two broken ribs and a broken leg, they knew they had to do more. Read More


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

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


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.

The Gift of Wonder

The Gift of Wonder

This Christmas season at Upbring we’re sharing some of our favorite gifts — the kind that continue to be a blessing long after they’ve been received. From the gifts of home and comfort to health and education, we’ll share inspiring stories as our way of saying thank you to all of you who so faithfully and generously made these gifts possible.


Read More


Celebrating Foster Care Month with our Foster Families

austin cakeDuring May’s National Foster Care Month, several Upbring Foster In Texas (FIT) offices hosted special events to show appreciation for their foster families.

Austin. Dinner, door prizes, child care and training hours were provided to 90 of our Austin-area families at the Foster Parent Appreciation party on May 23. Ten parents received awards and Cheryl Lamaak was named “Foster Parent of the Year.” In addition, Austin FIT dedicated their child care room to former foster parent Karen Lawler.

Dallas. On May 22, Dallas FIT hosted a brunch – by Southern Best Catering – for the parents and even provided them an opportunity to channel their inner Picassos  by painting with Xpress Your Canvas.

dallas painters

Laredo. Laredo FIT honored their foster parents at a celebratory luncheon on May 31 complete with gifts, a raffle and STAR trophies. The trophies – which represents the role they play as the “Stars of Laredo foster care” –  is etched with “STAR Foster Parent” and personalized with their name.

laredo trophies laredo mementos

Houston. Foster Parent Appreciation Day took place on May 22 at the Downtown Houston Aquarium and was an exciting day for everyone!

houston stingrays houston aquarium

McAllen. The Foster Parent Appreciation luncheon was held May 5 at Logan’s Roadhouse. Each year, McAllen’s foster parents look forward to being surprised by the restaurant location!


San Antonio. On May 20, San Antonio hosted their Foster Parent Appreciation dinner complete with a catered meal from Rudy’s BBQ and, dessert from Tiff’s Treats. Guests also had the chance to win door prizes. Thanks to Little Engine Homecare for providing the venue!

SA parents2 SA parents








Tyler. The Foster Parent Resource Fair – on May 14 at the Green Acres Bowling Alley – featured food, fun and prizes! The event was “first-come-first-bowl” and accessories to assist special needs children were made available so they could bowl too.

tyler bowling


BeREAL is Empowering Young Adults: Meet Zoiyee

Bereal Zoiyee and sonFor the past year, Zoiyee (age 19) has participated in Upbring BeREAL Austin – a Supervised Independent Living program designed to help young adults aging out of foster care in Central Texas.

As a single mom, Zoiyee has faced many harsh realities including the struggle to find a job that didn’t require her to work the night shift and have to pay evening childcare for her five-year-old son. Deciding to take control her own destiny, she enrolled in Goodwill Central Texas’ Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)  program, and on May 19, earned her CNA certification. Because Zoiyee is relieved and excited to have a clear career path that will provide long-term stability for her and her son, she’s set her sights on becoming an RN and has re-enrolled in classes.

And the best news of all? Zoiyee has secured a job that allows her the flexibility to work while her son is at school and have the evenings off so they can spend more time together.

Zoiyee is one of three BeREAL participants who enrolled and graduated from the Goodwill CNA program this May. We are super proud of all of them!

Learn more about Zoiyee’s journey
1.  How did you get involved with the Goodwill CNA program?
I learned about the CNA program at Goodwill from my BeREAL case manager. I wanted to be a lawyer and really didn’t want to go into the medical field – it wasn’t even on my radar. The more I looked into it, and found the CNA program was risk-free, I decided to go … and discovered that I really liked it!

2.  What was your favorite part of the program?

The number-one thing I loved about the program was the clinicals – they gave us hands-on experience so we would know what the job would really be like. We visited retirement and assisted living homes and had the chance to meet the people who worked there and hear their stories, likes and dislikes. Meeting the residents and hearing their stories was really good experience for me.

3.  What do you plan to do next?

Now that I finished the program, I’m waiting to take the State test. I’m very excited. I already have a job at HealthSouth – starting June 1 – and my RN class begins June 8. I’m going to follow this medical path – this program has made a big impact on me. Like I said before, I never really wanted a medical career but that has all changed. This is a good career path with many opportunities. I’ll be able to reach my goals and make a good life for me and my son.


We know poverty is a strong predictor of child abuse and neglect. Although children from all socioeconomic levels are at risk, those living in families with an annual income less than $15,000/yr are 22 times more likely to be abused or neglected than children in families earning more than $30,000/yr. We also know families are less likely to abuse or neglect children when the mother has at least earned her high school diploma.

We’ve partnered with Goodwill Central Texas to empower Central Texans to transform their lives through work, by supporting job readiness and placement.

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