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Forever Families: How to help local children in the Texas foster care system

Whether it's fostering, mentoring, adopting or donating, there's a wide range of ways to help.

AUSTIN, Texas — A true sense of community means looking out for one another and making sure no one slips between the cracks – especially children in the foster care system.

As Cristal Maldonado with Foster Community and Partnerships for Children explains, we can all do our part to take some of the weight off these children's shoulders.

"The kids just need support. They need love and just someone who's cheering them on all the way," Maldonado said.

Partnerships for Children said that it's a common misconception that people think because they can't adopt or foster, they are unable to do anything for these kids. But Maldonado said that's not true. 

"Whether [it's] a mentor that can be for them 24/7, whether that's someone that's volunteering [through the Rainbow Rooms] and providing them with new school supplies, backpacks," Maldonado said. "Understand that not everyone has the capacity to foster or adopt, but we know that everyone has the capacity to do a little bit of something. There's room for everyone in this space."

Foster Community also hosts programs and classes at the Victor R. Garza Community Center in East Austin. The center is free to local families and offers a wide range of resources to those in need.

"We have GED classes, English classes, summer camp programs, dance classes, sewing classes, you name it," said Danny Castro, the community manager for the center. 

KVUE launched the Forever Families segment with Partnerships for Children (PFC) in June 2020 to highlight children in the Heart Gallery of Central Texas who need secure and permanent families. Every day, there are nearly 1,000 children waiting to get adopted in Central Texas, according to PFC.

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Editor's note: The children who are in the Heart Gallery program and featured in KVUE's Forever Families segments are children who have had every effort made on their behalf to connect them with family or others in their community to provide options for permanent, adoptive homes. Through no fault of their own, that hasn’t happened yet, and so in partnership with the Department of Family and Protective Services, we collaborate to bring awareness to KVUE viewers about these children in the hopes of finding them permanency before they age out.

MORE FOREVER FAMILIES:

'Family is everything' | This teen boy wants to be adopted

This 11-year-old wants to find a forever family

Travelers flying through the Austin airport can now learn about local kids in foster care

Young basketball lover wants a forever family to hit the court with

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