Texas foster care provider gears up for new initiative to bring in 700 more children under new state contract

There’s a call for faith based organizations to get involved

SAN ANTONIO – In the path toward full privatization of the foster care system in Texas under Community Based Care, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, or SJRC, was awarded the contract to care for children in Region 8B, which includes the counties surrounding Bexar County.

SJRC, which has been established for 37 years, launched its BELONG initiative earlier this month to be ready for phase 1, starting on Oct. 1.

Tara Roussett, CEO of SJRC, says everyone is working around the clock to hire staff, recruit and connect with families and organizations in the 27 rural counties the organization will serve.

“Right now, we’re hiring for business operations, director of HR, for chief public relations officer and chief technology officer, to get the infrastructure carried out across the counties,” Roussett said. “And then, ultimately, over the next six to 18 months, we’ll be looking at case managers, mobile case aides, residential directors, you know, people that can be out in those counties with a presence to help and build those community connections.”

The organization’s primary focus is reaching those already providing services with which to partner. Specifically, Roussett said she would like to see more faith-based organizations reach out to help.

Roussett said it’s crucial for children to stay in their existing communities.

“We’re really hoping to partner up with other agencies that are already there and bring services in, so using telehealth, tele-medication, having a spot in those across the region where families can go and visit and work services to ultimately get their child back,” she said.

SJRC already has about 100 children in its care. Under the contract, it would be responsible for approximately 700 more children.

Bexar County falls under Region 8a, which is serviced by Children’s Tapestry on behalf of the state. There are already five private agencies across the state contracted to serve foster children. Once the privatization process is complete, there will be 16 regions.

Roussett says not everyone can be a foster family, but everyone can support one way or another those families that do take on the task. Click here to learn more about how to help.

ALSO ON KSAT.COM: Many children who end up in foster care are removed from homes due to neglect and abuse. KSAT will be hosting a town hall on April 28 at 2 p.m. to discuss child abuse prevention. More information can be found here.


About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.