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Forever Families: Stylists offer free hair services for children of color in foster care

The Travis County Hair Initiative connects Black stylists with children in foster care. The cost of the services is covered through a voucher.

AUSTIN, Texas — There's nothing quite like walking out of the beauty shop with a fresh hairdo to show off. 

But for many children of color in foster care, not only can it be hard to find a salon, it can be extra expensive and difficult to get the style you want.

Marcus Cantu with the nonprofit Partnerships for Children said the organization has partnered with the Travis County Child Welfare Board to find a solution.

"We did some research, [and] we started what we call the Travis County Hair Care Initiative," Cantu said. "And what it is [is] it provides $350, up to $350, for any youth to go out to a salon and get whatever kind of service they would like to get."

Lindsay Spinney is a local neonatal intensive care nurse and also a member of the Travis County Child Welfare Board. She said the goal is to get the word out to case workers, foster parents and guardians that this program is even a resource.

"Everybody deserves to feel good when they go out the door, and this is one of the ways that we can do that," Spinney said. "We've also found that it's really helpful for parents or guardians, whoever it is that – if it's a kinship, foster, adoptive family, anybody that is caring for a child with an open case with CPS – they're also able to utilize these services. It's maybe something they're not familiar with ... It's about inclusivity, and we want want these children to feel good."

Tee Higgins is a local stylist who is a part of the program and was asked by a teen girl in foster care to do butterfly box braids – a beautiful hairstyle that takes careful time and skill.

Credit: Tee Higgins

"Having your hair done or keeping your hair done, it builds confidence on a daily basis," Higgins said. "It makes little girls fearless, and that is the key to life .. having confidence and being fearless and knowing that you are beautiful."

To submit a voucher for the Travis County Hair Care Initiative program, click here.

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.


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