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A foster child at a playground in Central Texas.
Insights: Greater Austin

Honoring Those Who Stand Up for Children in Foster Care – Today and Every Day

Nichole Aston

During my time at the foundation, I’ve worked alongside so many innovative Austin nonprofits as they’ve done whatever it takes – adapted operations, scaled, introduced programs, and even merged – to better serve our children living in foster care. This endless brainstorming, innovating, and pivoting – which is ongoing since there is so much work still to be done – has led to better experiences and outcomes for our children. And that is invaluable.

How Our Partners Walk the Walk

As Foster Care Awareness Month concludes, I’m reminded of the many lives changed by the 16 partners we support in this space. No single organization or individual tackles this mission alone; we all work toward a shared goal – the best interests of the children we serve. Here are just a handful of examples of how our partners operate to better serve children in foster care:  

  • Collaboration is the core of this work. More than a decade ago, the Travis County Collaborative for Children became the first county-wide implementation of trauma-informed training. Today, the collaborative involves 60 organizations and over 1,200 individuals — including nonprofit organizations, caregivers, teachers, advocates, and representatives from the judicial system — all working together to improve children’s lives.
  • Growth is the rule, never the exception. Our partners excel at identifying opportunities and making them happen. For example, in 2013, CASA of Travis County launched its Family Finding Program to locate extended family members who can support children in foster care — whether through moral support, sharing family stories, acting as emergency contacts, or providing potential foster placements. What started as an addition to their core work has become a vital fixture in the community.
  • “What’s next?” is on repeat: These organizations don’t just support children today; they plan for the future. Over the past three years, our partners have banded together to prepare our region for the launch of Community-Based Care — which will completely transform how the foster care system operates here in Austin and across the state. They’ve improved in-care support, provided additional resources for kinship care, and engaged with the community to support families— with much more to come.

We’ve Only Just Begun…

With all that we’ve already accomplished, we know there is still so much to do to ensure our children living in foster care are set up to thrive. There is a lot of hard work in front of us, and I’m grateful to have such amazing partners. Thank you for all you do to create better circumstances for our children living in foster care!

You are heroes not only this month, but every day.