Category: News & Announcements

ACH Child and Family Services Celebrates 500th Adoption

Randall and Nikki Emery welcomed Everett into their forever home, making them ACH’s 500th Adoption.
Local nonprofit focused on protecting children and preserving families celebrates historic milestone

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 19, 2021) – ACH Child and Family Services is excited to announce the organization’s 500th adoption. ACH serves children from infancy to age 17 who are in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) with special attention around the placement of sibling groups and children age five and up, especially teens.

“While we’re proud to announce this milestone, we recognize there is still much work to be done,” says Lance Ortiz, ACH Outreach Coordinator. “Every day, we seek parents who will open their hearts and homes to deserving children. This work is so important in our ability to make a positive impact in the lives of those children and teens who need it most, as well as the greater Fort Worth community. We want to continue to do what we can to provide the critical support and resources children need to succeed.”

ACH Child and Family Services continues to raise awareness of the impact and importance of foster care. In 2020, there were more than 9,000 children in North Texas in need of Foster Care.

“Foster parents are important because they protect children and preserve families,” said Ortiz. “They provide homes and hearts filled with love and compassion and help children heal from the traumatic experiences and environments they may have come from. ACH thoroughly trains and supports foster parents to help children heal while their biological parents are working with agencies to regain focus and prepare for reunification. If a court determines that’s not possible, then we look to adoption to find the child a forever family.”

ACH has several upcoming virtual & in-person Foster Care and Adoption Meet & Greet events:

  • Tuesday, August 31st, 12-1 p.m. (Zoom Meeting)
  • Tuesday, September 7th, 6-7 p.m. (In-Person)
  • Thursday, September 16th, 6-7 p.m. (In-Person)

Those interested in learning more about foster care and/or adoption are invited to join these free information sessions. Participants can register online or by calling 817.335.HOPE (4673). 

Learn more about how you can get involved at ACH today!

Going Beyond the Classroom

Being a teacher requires patience, kindness, and an open mind. When educating children with severe behavioral or emotional needs, providing safety, love, and hope through caring relationships is equally important.

Marcy Collins is the Academic Coordinator for ACH’s Wedgwood Campus, where she has been providing educational support to the children in our care for the past year.

This campus is home to several crisis intervention programs including Summit, Turning Point, and Behavioral Care. Wedgwood also houses the Morris Program, which helps 14–17-year-olds who are unable to live with their families develop the life skills needed to transition to independent living.

Providing Normalcy During Uncertain Times

Unlike many other therapeutic treatment facilities, the children in Summit and Turning Point attend school during their stay. These programs provide crisis intervention to avoid hospitalizations, in a safe home-like setting.

“When the kids enter our programs, their whole world has just been turned upside down, and they are having to deal with heavy emotional and behavioral issues,” said Marcy. “Having school during their stay establishes a structure and gives them a place to practice the coping skills they’re learning.”

The children in our care attend school through Odysseyware, an online curriculum that assigns students work and provides lessons. For the youth in Morris, some attend school virtually or in-person at schools in our neighborhood or are working towards achieving a GED. Collins works with each of them to ensure they are on track to graduating while accommodating their specific needs.

Leading with Love

Oftentimes, the children in our programs are coming from hard places, experiencing trauma that has made an impact on their behavioral and mental health. Because of that, Marcy must be prepared to handle these various behaviors in her classroom.  

“I make it a point that for every kid that comes into our care, I become familiar with their history,” said Marcy. “I learn about these kids before I even meet them, because I want to know what they are working with.”

This preparation helps Marcy learn what their triggers are and how she can avoid them, as well as the best techniques for helping them calm down in stressful situations. Just like with any child, there are times when they don’t want to do schoolwork and will outright refuse or break down.

“That is an opportunity to work with that kid and prepare them for life out of the treatment program,” said Marcy. “We can show them how to work through those frustrating times.”

Relationships Get Results

Because of her unique classroom of students, Marcy must go beyond the traditional role of a teacher. Maintaining the bond of a teacher and student is equally significant as that between a caregiver and a child.

“I am there not just to be a schoolteacher, but to be there for the kids,” said Marcy. “I make them feel comfortable, feel safe, and feel as if school is not their enemy.”

Daniel Pectol, ACH Director of Residential Services, praises Marcy for her ability to develop relationships with the children and utilize them during stressful situations when a child is frustrated or upset.

“You have to connect before you correct and she can get a child back on track,” said Daniel. “She is personal with them and she will sit down with them and make sure they have what they need.”

Always on Board

For Marcy, class is not over when the school day ends. She also provides training for the employees working on the Wedgwood campus. The love and care she gives children also extend to staff, according to Turning Point Supervisor McKenzie Slawson.

“She will help guide you in the right direction and answer any questions you have without judgment,” said McKenzie. “Marcy is a very important person here on our campus.”

During the pandemic, Daniel beamed at Marcy’s efforts in and out of the classroom. She covered for employees who fell sick with COVID-19 and stepped up in taking care of positive children as well. With all the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic, Marcy made sure the kids were taken care of.

“Marcy is committed to making things better for kids,” said Daniel.

For Marcy, juggling a classroom filled with different-aged kids, all with unique challenges can be tough, but she said the reward is so much greater.

“I love getting to see the confidence they develop while here at ACH,” said Marcy.

If you would like to support Marcy and our programs at our Wedgwood campus, ACH offers many ways to get involved. To get started, visit https://old.achservices.org/give-now/.

Free Summer Camp Helps Children with Life’s Challenges

ACH Child and Family Services helps children with emotional skill-building at Camp Thrive

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 8th, 2021)- ACH Child and Family Services’ Real Help for Real Life counseling program is providing a free summer camp for youth ages 10-17.  Camp Thrive teaches youth skills that will create better relationships for themselves moving forward and shows them how to self-regulate with their emotions and everyday challenges. These are skills many kids might have lost during the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing and spending an excessive amount of time behind a screen.

“These skills are important for youth because they lay the foundation for them to build off moving forward. This foundation is crucial to facing challenges day to day and interacting amongst their families and friend groups,” said Bethany Brown, ACH Skills Training Coordinator. “As child trauma expert Bruce Perry has said, we as humans need relationships to survive. Children must learn to express their feelings and learn what a healthy relationship looks like.”

Camp Thrive is divided into two sessions. The first session is July 15 at 6 p.m. for an intake session, and the camp is July 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The second session is July 26 at 6 p.m. for intake, and the camp is July 27 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Camp Thrive is free of charge and will be in-person using COVID-19 safety protocols. The intake includes parents or guardians, and the camp is for kids only. Free gas cards will be provided at the end of each session.

To register for Camp Thrive, call 817.335.4673 for top priority registration or visit https://achservices.org/skill-builder-classes/. Parents must respond and receive a confirmation before attending.

About ACH

With more than a century of experience, ACH, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency, brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. Some of our 17 programs and services keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who cannot live with their families. Through the Our Community Our Kids division, ACH is leading the way in Community-Based Care in seven counties of the Texas foster care system. ACH has been accredited every year since 2003 by the Council on Accreditation and in 2018 Our Community Our Kids became nationally accredited. Our vision is for families to thrive and children to experience safety, hope and love.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

ACH raises awareness of child abuse and neglect in Tarrant County

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 23, 2021) – Each April, ACH joins other organizations throughout the country to participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month, which calls attention to the trauma and long-term impact of child abuse and neglect.

Tarrant County has among the highest numbers of confirmed child abuse and neglect cases of any county in Texas, with 6,202 confirmed victims in 2020 alone. More than their peers, childhood victims of abuse and neglect are likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to become homeless and to end up in the criminal justice system. The cost of being denied a normal childhood is immeasurable. But the impact on the American society is not without cost, as the annual cost of lost worker productivity alone exceeds an estimated $65 billion.

As a thought leader in child abuse prevention, ACH is committed to partnering with organizations, corporations and individuals to raise public awareness of child abuse and to bring about needed change in our community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, factors like heightened stress, school closures, loss of income and social isolation resulting from the pandemic increase the risk for child abuse and neglect. The CDC is also concerned that victims might not receive the care they need and that the severity of their injuries might have worsened. They recommend that strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect are important, particularly during public health emergencies.

We at ACH believe that attacking this issue on a grass-roots level will lead to greater success in getting the public engaged in an issue that truly affects everyone. So, we will continue to share ideas and communicate key statistics to the public at large. Preventing and treating child abuse and neglect is everyone’s job. If you know a family who is struggling and needs support in parenting, call ACH at 817-335-4673. If someone suspects abuse and neglect, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

To kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month, ACH is holding a virtual event from 12—1 p.m. on Thursday, April 8. This year’s 11th annual “Lend a Hand” event will feature Tia Magee, ACH’s Youth Emergency Shelter Manager and the focus of an upcoming Netflix original movie, ‘Redd Zone,’ and her son Brandon Magee, producer, and former professional athlete. They’ll be discussing Child Abuse Prevention Month and Tia’s experience helping youth in crisis.

How can you help bring attention to this issue? Wear blue on Friday, April 9 and post photos of yourself and your friends wearing blue to #SilenceEndsHere, #KidsCantWait, #WearBlueDay and #GoBlue.  All of us at ACH will be wearing blue, so you should, too.

To learn more about ACH Child and Family Services’ important efforts to battle child abuse and neglect, visit https://achservices.org/silence-ends-here/.

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About ACH

With more than a century of experience, ACH Child and Family Services, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency, brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. Some of our 17 programs and services keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who can’t live with their families. Through the “Our Community Our Kids” division, ACH is leading the way in Community-Based Care in seven counties of the Texas foster care system. ACH has been accredited every year since 2003 by the Council on Accreditation and in 2018 Our Community Our Kids became nationally accredited. Our vision is for families to thrive and children to experience safety, hope and love. Learn more at achservices.org.

817.335.HOPE (4673)  |  ACHservices.org

 

Lend a Hand Virtual Event Supports National Child Abuse Prevention Month

ACH raises awareness of child abuse and neglect in Tarrant County

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 25, 2021) – During Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, ACH joins other organizations in calling attention to the trauma and long-term impact of child abuse and neglect. Tarrant County has the fourth-highest number of confirmed child abuse and neglect victims of any county in Texas and ACH is committed to bringing about needed change.

To promote awareness of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, ACH is holding a virtual event from 12—1 p.m. on Thursday, April 8. This year’s 11th annual “Lend a Hand” event features a conversation between Tia Magee, Program Manager for ACH’s Pat O’Neal Youth Emergency Shelter program and her son, former NFL linebacker and Boston Red Sox outfielder, Brandon Magee. Their story is a fascinating one, currently being made into a Netflix movie, “Redd Zone,” starring Jada Pinkett-Smith in the role of Tia Magee. Brandon is the Executive Producer and will talk with Tia about what inspired the movie being made and how Tia’s personal mission aligns with ACH’s mission and the work she does today to help children in our community.

Lend a Hand was founded with the idea that organizations dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and neglect needed an outlet from which to provide information, discuss collaborative ideas and share various ways of communicating the key statistics to the public at large. ACH believes that attacking this issue on a grass-roots level will lead to greater success in getting the public engaged in an issue that truly affects everyone.

To register to attend and learn more about ACH Child and Family Services’ important efforts to battle child abuse and neglect, visit https://achservices.org/lend-a-hand/.

Sponsors for the Lend a Hand event include Modo Networks, The Christenberry Group, Deutser Consultants + Creators, QuikTrip, and Kelly & Robert Keller.

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About ACH

With more than a century of experience, ACH Child and Family Services, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency, brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. Some of our 17 programs and services keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who can’t live with their families. Through the “Our Community Our Kids” division, ACH is leading the way in Community-Based Care in seven counties of the Texas foster care system. ACH has been accredited every year since 2003 by the Council on Accreditation and in 2018 Our Community Our Kids became nationally accredited. Our vision is for families to thrive and children to experience safety, hope and love. Learn more at achservices.org.

817.335.HOPE (4673)  |  ACHservices.org

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

ACH raises awareness to protect exploited persons during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 4, 2021)- Each January, ACH joins others throughout the country to participate in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which calls attention to the experiences of human trafficking victims in our country. In 2019, 2,455 human trafficking victims were identified in Texas. ACH advocates on behalf of these victims in the Tarrant County and surrounding areas through a series of programs designed to support those who are vulnerable.

“Trafficking can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race or gender,” said Tia Magee, Program Manager for ACH’s Youth Emergency Shelter. “Our staff works every day to provide a safe place and trusting relationships for victims of human trafficking whose crises, homelessness, substance abuse or mental health concerns leave them especially vulnerable to traffickers.”

Several of ACH’s programs help youth at risk or affected by human trafficking. The Pat O’Neal Youth Emergency Shelter serves youth ages 10-17 who are runaways or homeless or who are experiencing or at risk of sexual exploitation and/or trafficking. The shelter – the only one of its kind in Tarrant County – provides 24/7 safety and care as well as outreach, education, advocacy, counseling and case management services.

The Youth Emergency Shelter is also a designated “Safe Place.” Safe Place is a national program administered locally by ACH that provides access to immediate help and safety for young people in trouble. Youth feeling unsafe or threatened can get help from ACH at any of more than 250 Safe Place locations throughout Tarrant County.

Through ACH’s Assessment, Intervention, and Referral Services (AIRS) program, youth and others in crisis can find the help and assistance they need, when they need it. AIRS operates a 24-hour crisis call response line that serves as a portal to connect individuals to ACH programs and services or other community services. If you need support, contact us at 817.335.HOPE (4673) or email help@ACHservices.org for 24-hour assistance. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is spearheaded each year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through their Blue Campaign, which works closely with DHS Components to create general awareness training and materials for law enforcement and others to increase detection of human trafficking and identify victims.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline provides survivors of human trafficking with vital support and a variety of options to get help and stay safe. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

 

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About ACH

With over a century of experience, ACH Child and Family Services, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency, brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. ACH has 17 programs that provide a variety of services and support in crisis intervention, foster care and adoption, family services, residential services, and community-based care. Some are in place to keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who can’t live with their families. Through the Our Community Our Kids division, ACH is leading the way in Community-Based Care in seven counties of the Texas foster care system. ACH has been accredited every year since 2003 by the Council on Accreditation and in 2018 Our Community Our Kids became the only nationally accredited community-based care contractor in Texas. Our vision is for families to thrive and children to experience safety, hope and love. Learn more at achservices.org.

Thank you, Junior League of Fort Worth!

junior-league-yoga

Youth in the LIFE Project enjoyed a night of yoga with the Junior League of Fort Worth.

Thank you to the Junior League of Fort Worth for being a positive presence in the lives of our youth. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, they continue to provide care and support to ACH Child and Family Services’ Youth Emergency Shelter and The LIFE Project.

“Although we were unable to engage with volunteers and visitors in person at the campus, these amazing volunteers collaborated with us to complete wellness sessions with our LIFE Project kiddos virtually through Marco Polo and Zoom,” said Vanessa Daniels, ACH’s Volunteer Services Manager.

Junior League of Fort Worth is extremely generous with their time, talent, and resources. They have also given us a recent gift for the RTC and for emergency funding for COVID-19.

“We could not do what we do without the help and support of our volunteers. We are blessed to have Junior League of Fort Worth as one of our superhero community partners,” said Vanessa.

Junior League of Fort Worth has volunteered with ACH for five years, and in 2017 they received our Community Partner Award for their commitment to our youth.

Sharon Soh, clinical manager at the shelter, said the Junior League volunteers have always brought fun to the shelter.

 “The kids always enjoy the dinners they bring and the games they play,” Sharon said. “It’s a really great opportunity for them to learn how to socialize with others with respect and is always a time they look forward to.”

Once again, thank you Junior League of Fort Worth for all that you do for our youth at ACH!

 

 

Junior League of Fort Worth volunteers show off their homemade tattoos with the Little Art Bus.

Fostering Families via Zoom

COVID-19 has not discouraged future foster parents from trying to change a child’s life during May’s National Foster Care Month and all year long. Right now, ACH Child and Family Services has 26 families in virtual training to become foster or adoptive families or kinship caregivers

“Even with a pandemic, families are stepping up each and every day to provide a child with a safe, loving home,” said Stella Maggs, Director of Foster Care and Adoption at ACH.

Foster care, Adoption, and Kinship training classes are currently being provided on Zoom. However, as state-mandated, some classes are still held in person, such as First Aid and CPR.

 
MEET THE FOSTER PARENTS!
 
Dave and Alyssa Slayton are of one of the many couples who have been doing online trainings to become foster parents at ACH.

“I can honestly say, because of COVID-19, there have been some bumps along the way, but ACH has either had a solution or one in the works,” Alyssa said.

Going virtual with trainings through Zoom has allowed potential foster parents to attend trainings as far as Weatherford, Gainesville, and Balch Springs.  Dave saves an hour-long commute to ACH’s Wichita campus from his job.

“Now his commute is from one computer to the next,” Alyssa said.

One thing that has impressed them, is how well-adapted and resourceful the Adoption & Foster Care team has been during the trainings.

“We would have thought they had done all of this before,” Alyssa said. “It could have been a very mundane process, but the teachers were diligent about keeping the class interactive and intrigued.”

BRANCHING OUT

When the pandemic hit, Family Engagement and Placement Supervisor Rene Rodriguez said he wanted his department to reach as many people possible. Zoom trainings have allowed ACH to reach families far and wide around North Texas.

“ACH’s name is everywhere now,” Rene said. “People seem to like the virtual approach as it’s more convenient—and keeps us all safe!”

ACH’s Adoption & Foster Care team planned on expanding meet and greets with prospective foster parents to more cities by the end of the year. However, the pandemic forced them to expand reach in just a few days.

“We had to,” Rene said. “Kids can’t wait and we in the Foster Care & Adoption Department know that all too well.”

BECOME A FOSTER PARENT!

The need for caring parents is greater now during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join our virtual training classes to become a Foster or Adoptive parent and provide a child in-need with a safe and loving home. ACH is here to help you every step of the way.

GET STARTED TODAY.

Donate a meal to families and youth in need!

If you want to help your community during the COVID-19 pandemic, here is your chance! Next time you order from your favorite restaurant, you can help youth and families who otherwise might go without a meal. 

Through the Comfort Food Care Package program, participating Texas restaurants will be offering meal packages that can be donated by customers to needy families impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced this program in late March.

“The Comfort Food Care Package program will provide at-risk youth and families with an additional food source,” said Governor Abbott, “while giving Texans another way to support local restaurants and their fellow Texans experiencing hardships due to COVID-19.”

HERE’S HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS:
  1. Add an order to your meal at a participating restaurant for at-risk families and youth!
  2. The restaurant packages the meal.
  3. The Texas Family and Youth Success Program identifies families and shelters with the most need.
  4. Favor delivers within 8 miles—and the tip is included!
PLACE YOUR ORDER AT PLACES LIKE JASON’S DELI

Jason’s Deli was one of the first restaurants to participate in the program! Just add a “Family Care Pasta Meal” to your order and it will be delivered to those in need.

“This Comfort Food Care Package is a way that we can all pitch in and do our best to help Texans,” said Blake Parker, Jason’s Deli’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Other participating restaurants in Fort Worth include El Fenix, Ol’ South Pancake House, Arizola’s Mexican Restaurant, Boopa’s Bagel Deli, Dirty Job Brewing, Edelweiss German Restaurant, El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, Funky Picnic, and HG Sply Co.

SPREAD THE WORD!

We love seeing Fort Worth businesses involved with helping youth and families in need. However, we need to add more restaurants to that list.  Encourage your favorite local restaurants to be a part of the Comfort Food Care Package Program! 

 LEARN MORE  

FULL LIST OF PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS IN TEXAS

 Please note that the Family and Youth Success program uses a community-wide list to identify families and shelters who have the most need for meals. ACH Child and Family Services manages the Family and Youth Success program in our area, but meals extend well beyond ACH clients—this program truly serves the community at large!

April is Counseling Awareness Month

Did you know ACH’s Real Help for Real Life program is open to ACH & OCOK employees?

Real Help for Real Life provides help and support for youth and their families through Youth and Family Counseling and Skill-Building Classes.

Whether it’s anxiety, depression, conflict at home, bullying, anger issues, behavior problems, school attendance, or thoughts of running away—Real Help for Real Life is here and ready to help youth, ages 6 to 17, and their families by providing youth and family counseling and skill-building classes.

These services are provided at convenient locations in the following counties: Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Hill, and Palo Pinto.

Call 817.336.HOPE (4673) to schedule an appointment.

Be sure to share these important resources with your clients, friends, and family!