San Antonio nonprofit hopes for better solutions to solve crisis within state’s foster care program

Boysville CEO says it has been difficult placing higher-level children in homes

A nonprofit dedicated to serving children in need of shelter is hoping other foster organizations and the state work better together to solve the crisis taking place in Texas’ foster care program.

SAN ANTONIO – A nonprofit dedicated to serving children in need of shelter is hoping other foster organizations and the state work better together to solve the crisis taking place in Texas’ foster care program.

“The people who this is affecting are our kids,” said Paula Tucker, CEO of Boysville Inc. “It is affecting organizations, but it is really affecting the kids that we serve.”

With Texas Child Protective Services shutting down 1,000 residential treatment center beds over the past 12 months, Tucker, along with many others, are asking the same question.

“Where are the other 1,000 kids in the state of Texas going? I think we have to come together as organizations and as (Child Protective Services), all of us, and come up with a great plan,” Tucker said.

Tucker said on top of the pandemic, it has been especially challenging for organizations to place higher-level children.

“Could be a child who has medical issues, a child with mental issues, aggressive, or all of those things above,” Tucker said.

Due to certain circumstances, she said many organizations that specialize with higher-level children have required heightened monitoring from the state, which could lead to the loss of beds they’re seeing.

“If you are not following the rules from CPS according to how they say you are supposed to be following the rules, then you get on a heightened monitoring list,” Tucker said. “That is determined based upon how many deficiencies that you may have gotten when they came out to do an audit.”

Tucker said deficiencies could vary.

“It could be that you don’t have the correct food in the refrigerator, or it is outdated,” Tucker said. “It could be the facility has something the child could get hurt on, like certain playground equipment. It could be the staff don’t monitor children correctly.”

Tucker said she is heartbroken by the loss of beds over time and feels there should be a better solution.

“I think if they can help us and give us some good advice on what they are looking for and what we should we be doing, that would make it better -- not closing down organizations,” Tucker said.

She says she believes a big part of the problem is the lack of training for shelter workers and lack of support to shelters.

Tucker says that would help everyone reach the common goal of making sure the children are safe.

“What is the best for our children? We need to come up with a good strategy that we all work together on, not just Boysville or Tapestry or whoever else is out there in the field. All of us (need to) come together to come up with the best solution and come to a common ground in working with our children.”

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About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.