By Sara Blake
As we wrap up May and National Foster Care Month, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite partners in supporting children in the foster care system, Foster Angels of Central Texas:
For the last two decades, Foster Angels of Central Texas has been a light in the lives of children in foster care. Whether it's providing funding for a child's after-school martial arts class (perhaps even a class their CASA volunteer took with them—true story), covering the cost of music camp so a student could fully participate in band the next school year, or making dreams come true by sending two siblings to Disney World; Foster Angels does everything imaginable to make life just a little easier for kids in the child welfare system.
Ted Oakley founded Foster Angels of South Texas in 1999, after giving personally to help meet the needs of kids in care. Ted quickly saw that the endeavor was bigger than one person, which led him to create Foster Angels as a way for the community to help meet both basic needs and special requests. Proving that bigheartedness runs deep in the Oakley family, Ted's daughter, Sarah, began teaching and volunteering in Austin and soon realized the need was just as big here. In 2010, she started Foster Angels of Central Texas, and it served more than 500 kids in its first year.
Today, Foster Angels has helped over 24,000 kids through its Central Texas location alone. Not only do they find creative ways to meet the needs of kids in foster care, Foster Angels is passionate about sharing these needs with the community and giving others the chance to make an impact in a child's life. Check out some of their stories on Facebook @fosterangelsctx.
Both the staff and volunteers at CASA of Travis County have the utmost admiration for our friends at Foster Angels. Below are just a few examples of how Foster Angels has enabled us to strengthen our advocacy by truly making anything possible for the kids we serve:
"Foster Angels was enormously helpful in one of my cases in which a great grandmother needed help with the costs associated with getting licensed to adopt her granddaughter. Foster Angels helped cover fees for FBI background checks and health and fire inspections. It has been a joy to see the child placed with her great grandmother. She is home, and she feels safe and well taken care of." - Fran Markowski, Senior Child Advocacy Specialist
"Foster Angels helped pay for an iPad for a child who had no means to turn in his online homework and was in danger of failing." - Kayla Reese, Early Family Engagement Specialist
"I've seen Foster Angels provide Christmas gifts for teens in the CPS office, African American hair care products for kids in placements of different ethnicities, and uniforms for a girl who was starting a new charter school. They remove the red tape." - Ola Jobe, Recruitment Specialist
"Foster Angels is an incredible organization, and has helped so many of the kiddos on my cases; but one in particular stands out. A placement for 4 siblings wasn’t receiving any kinship [relative or family friend serving as the child’s placement] funds yet and the children arrived to her home with only the clothes on their backs and shoes on their feet. CASA requested gift card assistance from Foster Angels so that placement could take all of the kids shopping to pick out their own clothes. Foster Angels not only approved CASA’s request, but added additional money to the original amount requested for the gift cards. The next time CASA visited, the kids couldn’t wait to show off their new clothes, shoes, and accessories." - Nicole Jacobs, Child Advocacy Specialist
"They’ve been lifesavers on my cases. We came to them a few weeks ago with a complicated situation for a kiddo who’s been in care for years, and they have gone above and beyond by providing resources that will help encourage a relationship between the child and a potential placement. They have also consistently been quick to respond and eager to share resources and connect us to community partners that can help. I can’t say enough good things about them. They are fantastic!" - Meredith Chambers, Child Advocacy Specialist
It’s partners like Foster Angels that help us more effectively speak up for kids and change our community for good. Learn more about Foster Angels on their website.
May 2019 CASA Partners