Buckner International is seeking families with big hearts and Christ-centered values to fill several open foster group homes on Buckner campuses throughout Texas. There are five open group homes in Dallas, two in Lubbock and two in Mission.
Foster group homes exist to keep large sibling groups together when they enter foster care, while still providing a homelike, family environment.
“Siblings are already so bonded, so when we have large sibling groups removed, we want them to stay together,” said Andrea Harrison, foster care program director for Buckner Children and Family Services in Dallas. “If they’re entering foster care they’ve already been through a lot, so we don’t want them to be further traumatized by being sent to separate homes.”
The campus group homes are spacious, rent is low and bills are included other than phone, cable and internet. All three Buckner campuses feature playgrounds and access to additional support services.
“Families really have to have a desire and patience to care for so many kids,” Harrison said. “They have to see this as a ministry, and have a desire to do God’s work to care for vulnerable children.”
In Dallas, there are lots of campus activities and volunteers throughout the year to keep foster kids busy and entertained. On-campus foster families have help through tutors and mentors for their foster kids. The campus is gated and a security company monitors the grounds to provide peace of mind.
Some sibling groups placed in Dallas foster group homes may have unique needs or more emotional needs than kids who are placed in community foster homes, Harrison said. These children may require weekly therapy appointments rather than the biweekly therapy that other foster kids need.
Harrison said fostering in a Dallas foster group home will be easier for a married couple, and especially for those who have prior parenting experience. With staff nearby, campus foster homes have easy access to support and training.
To learn more about being a foster parent in Dallas, please call Courtney Moore at 214-321-4530.
The group homes in Mission have six bedrooms with two beds each. Monica Salinas, executive director of Buckner Children and Family Services in the Rio Grande Valley, said she would like to keep the number of foster children between six and eight in each group home.
“Having the foster home here on campus allows more help and support from the team for the family,” Salinas said. “We have an education liaison who helps with enrolling the children in school, withdrawing them from school and attending meetings. The schools are very close to our campus – one is within walking distance. And the biggest plus is that we have help with tutoring here on campus.”
Salinas said they like to keep foster children on campus active in the community. The campus has a 4-H program and children in the group homes often participate in school activities like band and choir and enrichment activities such as trips to the zoo or artistic performances.
The Mission campus is seeking foster families who understand the culture in South Texas and know the importance of strong family values.
To learn more about being a foster parent in Mission, please call Nelida Tristan at 956-585-4847.
In Lubbock, Buckner group foster homes typically house about 10 children, including any biological children the foster parents may have. All property maintenance is included, and there are campus events offered throughout the year, including parents’ night out.
“There are eight group homes on campus and we have a big gazebo and basketball court in the center of the homes,” said Mindy McDonald, foster care director for Buckner Children and Family Services in Lubbock. “All the kids can go out and play together. Sometimes we’ll have siblings who can’t live in the same house together, but might live across the street from each other in two different group homes, so they’ll get to play together and see each other.”
Like in Dallas and Mission, Lubbock foster group home families have extra support from Buckner foster care staff. It’s easy to drop into a staff member’s office to get help with a problem or turn in paperwork. Foster families on campus often work together to coordinate their foster children’s doctors or therapy appointments and supervised visits with their biological families.
“We’re looking for people who are flexible and willing to learn,” McDonald said. “It doesn’t matter how educated you are or how much experience you have – you have to learn something new with each child.”
To learn more about being a foster parent in Lubbock, please call Kaylee Hendriex at 806-795-7151.
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