Building Connections with Child-Placing Agencies in Texas

Graphic showing child-placing agencies in Texas and the Texas Innovation Network

Last fall, our team at the Texas Foster Youth Health Initiative (TFYHI) partnered with four agencies working directly with youth in foster care. We’re now in full swing of our collaboration with THRU Project, Trel’s Home for Children, Upbring, and Youth in View!

Each agency provides feedback on the curriculum and trainings we develop for caregivers, professionals, and youth in foster care. “[Our partners’] input and their advising and all of their ideas really gives us an opportunity to make this a relevant curriculum for youth in different regions of the state,” said Nicole Treviño, a TFYHI program coordinator with the Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing.

This winter and spring, we visited each site to lead trainings for caregivers and child welfare professionals on sexual and reproductive health and healthy relationships. “We’re partnering with these agencies and these organizations to educate their staff, educate their caregivers, educate all of the adults that are involved in the lives of youth in care,” said Andrea Requenes, a TFYHI statewide training coordinator with the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services.

Members of our Texas Innovation Network focus on building relationships with child-placing agencies in their region. Tia Brooks, a TFYHI project coordinator at Ntarupt, works closely with the youth and foster and adoptive caregivers at Youth in View. “I’m really excited to be able to take the time and pilot our new youth curriculum with all of their youth there, as well as our caregiver curriculum,” Tia said.

As the only organization with a focus on mentors, rather than caregivers, THRU Project provides a distinct perspective on our interventions. “What we’re seeing is that in terms of mentors, there’s a lasting relationship that’s being built through THRU Project’s programs,” said Eleni Pacheco, a TFYHI project coordinator with Healthy Futures for Texas. “Whereas a young person may go through many homes, have multiple caregivers, and not really be able to create and maintain a sustainable relationship with those caregivers. So we have a unique opportunity here with THRU Project in creating these interventions, giving them to mentors, and having mentors be able to sustain that connection with the information and resources […] that we’ve given them.”

In the next few months, we’ll continue collaborating with agencies to create youth-centered  sexual health education. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates!