More than 28,000 children in foster care in Texas. Yes, it’s a staggering number. But when church, state and non-profit organizations come together ready to collaborate like they did recently for the Buckner Child Welfare Summit in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we know that change is possible!
We gathered with Hispanic leaders in the Rio Grande Valley in light of the important work happening on both sides of the border impacting vulnerable children and families. The day’s conversation was so moving and powerful, we want to share it with you. Our prayer is that as these leaders discuss the need for foster parents, groups, families and individuals will know how they can best respond.
Introduction and lecture 1: The need
Featuring Albert Reyes, president/CEO of Buckner International and JoAnn Cole, vice president of Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services.
Lecture 2: Why are there vulnerable children?
Featuring Lakesha Pope Jackson, Region 6 regional administrator for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Panel discussion 1: What can the church do?
Featuring Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, Texas; Jason Johnson, national director of church ministry initiatives for the Christian Alliance for Orphans; Carlos Álvarez, member of Aliento church; and Vidal Muñiz, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Pharr, Texas.
Panel discussion 2: How can private organizations partner with government agencies to best serve vulnerable children?
Featuring Felicia Mason-Edwards, division administrator for faith-based programs at Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; JoAnn Cole, Buckner; Lakesha Pope Jackson, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families; and Rachana Chhin, public policy outreach coordinator for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.
Questions and takeaways