Message from the President: Kevin C. Dinnin

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Together… the title of this magazine, and yet so much more. BCFS, an international system of nonprofit organizations together provides life-changing programs across the globe and in historically underserved populations throughout the country. Together with the support of you, our stakeholders and donors, we respond to the needs of millions of children, adults, families and communities faced with severe circumstances and seemingly insurmountable challenges. BCFS is there, often when no other organization is. And we do it together!

2016 marks my 30th anniversary with BCFS, and not a day has gone by when I do not reflect on the vision and mission of this organization and how we have positively affected the millions of lives we touch. When I was called to serve as president, BCFS employed just 30 staff and had an annual budget that was a fraction of what it is today. Our team has grown exponentially to now include more than 3,000 dedicated BCFS personnel and the countless individuals that join our emergency response and critical-tasking endeavors.

Although many things have changed through the years, and the organization has experienced vast growth and expansion, what has not changed are our values, guiding principles, accountability for the funds for which we are stewards, and most of all, the love and compassion for those entrusted to our care. Our Community Services Division and Residential Services Division continue to bring hope and healing to children, youth and families across the U.S… Our overseas branch, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), recently celebrated 15 years of changing lives, providing safety and security to vulnerable children beckoned by human traffickers with a promise of money and food… At our residential campus, Breckenridge Village of Tyler, residents with a range of intellectual disabilities are thriving in a loving environment where their health and wellbeing are paramount.

Another important branch of the BCFS system is our Emergency Management Division (EMD). EMD is a nationally recognized leader in emergency management, incident management, disaster response, public health and planning for vulnerable populations. When record-breaking floods devastated the Houston-area, the federal government called on EMD to help thousands of victims recover, standing up an Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM) operation to serve 14 counties, ultimately impacting over 36,000 people who registered with FEMA as disaster survivors.

EMD is also highly sought-after to share life-saving emergency management expertise, providing trainings to first-responders and emergency managers on mass care and whole community planning; mass fatality management; evacuation planning; medical sheltering; healthcare management of events involving weapons of mass destruction; and more. Ready with robust emergency resources and supplies, EMD is set to deploy and respond at a moment’s notice – no matter how big or small the mission tasking. Thank you for being part of our journey, together. I invite you to see and read the heartfelt, memorable and meaningful stories of those we serve unfold in the pages before you. I know they will fill your heart as they have mine.

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Mensaje del Presidente: Kevin C. Dinnin

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Together (Juntos)… el título de esta revista, pero aún mucho más que eso. BCFS, un sistema internacional de organizaciones sin fines de lucro proporciona programas que cambian vidas en todo el mundo y en las poblaciones históricamente más marginadas de este país. Juntos, con el apoyo de usted, nuestros depositarios y donantes, respondemos a las necesidades de millones de niños, adultos, familias y comunidades que se encuentran en circunstancias severas y enfrentando dificultades insuperables. BCFS asume esta responsabilidad, cuando ninguna otra organización lo hace. ¡Y lo hacemos juntos!

El 2016 marca mi trigésimo aniversario con BCFS, y no ha pasado ni un día en que no refleje sobre la visión y misión de esta organización, y cómo hemos ayudado a las millones de vidas que hemos tocado. Cuando fui llamado para servir como presidente, BCFS tenía solamente 30 miembros sirviendo como personal de toda la agencia, y contábamos con un presupuesto anual equivalente a sólo una fracción de lo que es hoy. Nuestro equipo ha crecido de manera exponencial, a tal grado de ahora incluir a más de 3,000 individuos dedicados, aunados a los innumerables individuos que se unen a nuestros esfuerzos de emergencia y tareas críticas.

Aunque muchas cosas han cambiado a través de los años, y a pesar de la amplia expansión y crecimiento que ha tenido la organización, lo que no ha cambiado son nuestros valores, nuestros principios fundamentales, y nuestra responsabilidad en el manejo de los fondos que han sido puestos a nuestro cuidado, y por sobre todas las cosas, el amor y compasión hacia los que han sido puestos a nuestro cuidado. Nuestra División de Servicios a la Comunidad y División de Servicios Residenciales continúan trayendo esperanza y sanación a los niños, jóvenes y familias de los Estados Unidos… Nuestra sede internacional, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), recientemente celebró 15 años de cambiar vidas, proporcionando protección y seguridad a niños vulnerables engañados por traficantes de personas bajo una falsa promesa de dinero o comida… En nuestro recinto residencial, Breckenridge Village de Tyler, residentes con un rango de discapacidades intelectuales prosperan en un ambiente de amor donde su salud y bienestar son lo más importante.

Otro sector importante de nuestro sistema BCFS es nuestra División de Manejo de Emergencias (EMD por sus siglas en inglés). EMD es un líder reconocido a nivel nacional por su labor de manejo de emergencia, manejo de incidentes, respuesta durante desastres, salud pública y planificación para las poblaciones vulnerables. Cuando las inundaciones sin precedentes devastaron el área de Houston, el gobierno federal solicitó la ayuda de EMD para ayudar a las miles de víctimas en su recuperación, desplegando una operación de Manejo de Caso de Desastres Inmediata (IDCM, por sus siglas en inglés) para servir a 14 condados, impactando a las más de 36,000 personas que se registraron con FEMA como sobrevivientes de un desastre.

EMD también es un equipo muy solicitado por su competencia para su manejo de emergencias que salva vidas, ofreciendo entrenamientos a los primeros intervinientes y a los administradores de emergencias de cuidado masivo y planificación para la comunidad entera; el manejo masivo de víctimas fatales, planificación para evacuaciones, alojamiento médico, manejo del cuidado médico durante los eventos de armas de destrucción masiva, y más. Listo con recursos y suministros comprensivos, EMD está preparado para desplegar y responder en cualquier momento — sin tener en cuenta que tan grande o pequeña sea la labor.

Gracias por ser parte de esta jornada y recorrer este viaje, Together (juntos). Los invito a ver y leer las historias sinceras, memorables y significativas de aquellos a los que servimos, las cuales se revelan en las siguientes páginas. Sé que tocarán su corazón de la misma manera que han tocado el mío.

BCFS Hill Country Resource Center: Where Collaboration Meets Compassion

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For someone who needs help in the Texas Hill Country – whether it’s counseling, crisis intervention, or education and employment assistance – traveling to multiple nonprofit offices around town to meet basic needs can be difficult, especially without transportation or the flexibility to miss work.

That’s why BCFS gathered local nonprofits under one roof at the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center Model is an innovative way to connect several nonprofit organizations and maximize their combined talents and resources. For the community, this means that those who are struggling have easy convenient access to a wide array of programs, services, and resources in one central location.

Services Available:

  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Emergency shelter placement
  • Literacy programs and educational support
  • Job training and job placement
  • Parenting support groups
  • Help for military veterans
  • Creative art therapy
  • Computer lab access

Striking A Chord With Jackie

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Jackie Boyer loves to play the guitar. “I like that you can make it your own,” he says. “You can make it personal, you can make it unique. Whatever you do is really up to you.”

When Jackie came to BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene, he had dropped out of high school and experienced periods of homelessness. Four years after his first encounter with BCFS-Abilene, at the age of 21, Jackie is now gainfully employed, has his own apartment and is working toward a fulfilling career. Jackie’s story goes to show that in life – as in music – “whatever you do is really up to you.”

An Abilene native, Jackie entered the foster care system at age 14. A severe case of diabetes put his father in a nursing home, and the mental and emotional strain that placed on Jackie’s mother left her unable to raise her four children.

Jackie is the youngest in his family, with two older brothers and an older sister. Jackie was able to stay with one of his older brothers in a foster home temporarily, but they were separated when the brother aged out of the system. Jackie was later transferred to a new foster home.

When Jackie aged out of foster care, he struggled to stay on a stable path. For a while, he was homeless and had nowhere to turn. But things began to fall into place when he was accepted into Our House, a transitional living program operated by BCFS-Abilene. Our House provides safe, comfortable housing to young men overcoming homelessness, while helping them save money, improve their life skills and prepare to move out on their own.

However, Jackie’s stay at Our House proved challenging for him and his housemates.

Jackie found it difficult to follow the house rules or stick to his Personal Transition Plan – a set of individualized rules and goals that helps each resident grow to self-sufficiency. When his hyperactive behavior disrupted the other residents, Jackie was asked to leave.

“It wasn’t until he found Our House, enjoyed how nice it was, and then lost it that he decided to take responsibility and overcome all the things that had been holding him back,” said Emily Cole, Regional Director for BCFS Health and Human Services. “He wound up on the streets again and said ‘I don’t want to do that again.’ It was a motivating factor for him to get it together,” said Cole. “Not every fairy tale ending comes with a picture-perfect road getting there.”

Although his time at Our House came to an early end, he remained actively involved in other BCFS-Abilene programs, including the Texas Workforce Commission program which helped him define his career goals and advance his education.

“I got help with my schoolwork, they helped me get my GED,” Jackie says, “and they helped me write a résumé and find a job.”

Jackie landed a full-time position as desk clerk and bookkeeper for a local hotel, and soon was offered the opportunity to move into one of the hotel’s units built out as a small apartment. It’s become another step toward Jackie’s goals of independence and selfgrowth.

When Jackie began a relationship with a young woman who was pregnant, Jackie, excited at the prospect of helping care for a newborn, joined the Fatherhood EFFECT program. Fatherhood EFFECT is a parenting education program operated by BCFS-Abilene that teaches the characteristics of a good father, like discipline, masculinity and work-family balance.

Although the relationship, ultimately, did not work out, he says he completed the program “for his own personal gain” and learned valuable skills about decision-making and healthy communication.

Living independently, holding down a job and studying to earn his GED simultaneously proved to be a challenging combination for Jackie. Staying active in BCFS-Abilene’s programs was daunting with a jam-packed schedule, according to his case worker, Alexzandra Hust. But, he powered through the study sessions, long work shifts and weekly life skills workshops at BCFS-Abilene.

When he earned his GED in December 2015, Alexzandra and the BCFS-Abilene team were overjoyed. Soon after, they helped Jackie file financial aid and admissions applications for local colleges. He plans to study psychology at Cisco College.

Jackie’s experiences in foster care inspired him to choose a career field helping others.

“I plan to be a social worker working for Child Protective Services or Betty Hardwick, I haven’t decided which yet,” Jackie says. The Betty Hardwick Center provides mental health care for children and adults, residential services for people with developmental disabilities, and early childhood intervention services.

Today, Jackie still plays the guitar and plans to dabble in songwriting for an added creative outlet for self-expression. He doesn’t shy away from opportunities to share his story, and over the next few years, perhaps his song lyrics will be another window into the ups and downs of his personal journey.

“I have made some great memories at BCFS,” says Jackie, “and I will never forget the people I have met there over the years.”

India’s Son Returns to Give Back CERI expands to India led by Ian Anand Forber-Pratt

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Whether you’re in a rural Indian village or in the hustle and bustle of a crowded urban street, it’s clear: India is a vibrant, intoxicating nation, bursting with color and so full of life. The food, the smells, the sounds, the ancient temples, the varied dialects, and the sense of order hidden beautifully in the chaos – a faint-of-heart traveler might even say it borders on sensory overload. This proud nation of warm and resilient people is also, unfortunately, the source of some staggering social and economic epidemics.

India is home to 1.2 billion people, twenty-two percent of whom fall below the international poverty line. In 2015, the average annual income of each family equated to a meager $4 per day.* Imagine the futility of trying to stretch these few dollars to pay for safe housing, medical care, food, clothing, education and other essentials.

Poverty coupled with lack of education, unemployment, child labor, homelessness, substance abuse, physical and mental health needs, child abuse and neglect, violence and inability to access resources are just some of the horrific challenges India’s children face every day. In response, the international arm of BCFS, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), launched a new organization in New Delhi, India, in partnership with other thought leaders and agencies, to strengthen families and protect children.

The Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care of Children will support and strengthen family-based care and protection for millions of children in India through proactive initiatives that will bridge the gap between government policies relevant to child care and protection and how these initiatives are implemented at the ground level.

Heading up this transformative program is scholar, researcher and sociologist, Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, a man following his lifelong dream of bringing progressive alternative child care to India, and promoting the idea that every child deserves to live in a healthy, happy, loving family setting. Ian aims to revolutionize the social service systems for children in his native India to include foster care and kinship care for orphan children.

Born in Kolkata, India, Ian was adopted from a home for unwed mothers when he was two months old by a Canadian mother and an American father. Ian was raised and educated in the United States, along with his adopted sister from India, Anjali, and his brother and sister (biological to his adoptive parents). His adoptive parents, determined to connect Ian and Anjali to their Indian heritage, exposed them to Indian cultural events where they learned about native foods, dance and language. However, it was not until his first trip back to India in 2006 when he said his “internal circuits” really connected with his ancestry.

“I felt at home, and not at home, in the same emotion,” Ian recalls of this trip. “I finally felt like I’d found a sense of purpose. I was going to use the gifts I’d been given in life to honor my adoptive parents and give back to the country that gave me life.” Even before that memorable trip, however, Ian dreamed of giving back to his birth country, he was just unsure of exactly how.

Ian ventured out to be a catalyst for change, taking those first few steps, no matter how small. Two years and thousands of emails and phone calls to potential partner agencies mustered Ian only one connection with another organization. However, he remained dedicated and slowly started to see results. He knew he needed to collaborate with existing service providers to make a real impact. New connections trickled in from partnering agencies, including important policy makers, government officials and leaders in social services. This established a network of advocates that would, in the next ten years, have the power to change state government and pass critical policies.

Today, critical legislation and social service guidelines are in place, including the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015, Central Adoption Resource Authority Guidelines on Adoption 2015, the Model Guidelines on Foster Care 2016 and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme 2014. Ian served on advisory committees for both state and national legislation on foster care in India.

Together with partners from governmental and non-governmental sectors, the Centre of Excellence is slated to continue making significant changes and much-needed advancements in India’s child care and protection system.

In the words of renowned human rights advocate, Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Leaders and visionaries like Ian and CERI are spearheading that change in India, every day.

Partners of the Centre of Excellence include the Core Assets Group, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and Washington University Visit http://www.AlternativeCareIndia.org

*Sources: Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook; World Bank

Welcome, Andrew Carter, Regional Director – South Texas

HARLINGEN – BCFS Health and Human Services is excited to announce Andrew Carter as the new Regional Director – South Texas at the organization’s international children’s campus located in Harlingen, Texas.

As BCFS’ Regional Director − South Texas, Andrew will be responsible for the full coordination of the highest level of care and protection of the children temporarily residing at the campus. He will supervise all Program Directors and staff while promoting best practices, conducting risk analysis and ensuring compliance with government regulations, state licensing and accreditation standards.

Drew Carter.JPGPrior to joining BCFS, Andrew served with the Texas Highway Patrol as a Sergeant, later a Lieutenant, and from 1998 to 2005 he served as a Sergeant with the esteemed Texas Ranger Division. In the last decade, Andrew served in a variety of management positions in the oil and gas industry.

Carter holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Le Tourneau University in Longview, Texas.  He earned a Master Peace Officer Certificate and is trained in Incident Control Management, EDN, Safety Leadership, and Crucial Conversations. In 2000 he was named National Police Officer of the Year.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Andrew’s background at the helm of the South Texas region. He is a dedicated public servant with strong management and leadership skills and an impeccable service record,” stated Asennet Segura, Executive Vice President/COO for Community, International and Residential Operations.

Carter will start his tenure with BCFS Health and Human Services immediately and will be based at the Harlingen Office.

# # #

BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries. 

Now Hiring in Baytown: Join BCFS Talent Network

HIRING IN BAYTOWN

Now hiring PRN (as-needed) staff:

  • Social Workers (Case Managers and Counselors)
  • Teachers & Teacher’s Aide
  • Direct Youth Support Staff
    (Transporters, Shift Leaders, and Supervisors)
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Medical Support Staff

Pay ranges from $15- $40
depending on the position

Minimum qualifications:

  • Must be bilingual in Spanish & English
  • Must be at least 21 yrs. of age
  • Must have clear criminal background & driving record
  • Must have a valid driver’s license

Ways to APPLY or learn more:

Download Application

BAYTOWN FULL-TIME JOBS

  • Associate Program Director
  • Director of Maintenance
  • Lead Clinician
  • Case Manager
  • Direct Care Staff (Evening & Overnights)

JOB FAIR

Thursday, January 21st – 9 a.m. to noon
Workforce Solutions, 4308 Garth Road
Baytown, Texas 77521

BCFS Names Aram Svajian Director of Talent Acquisition

SAN ANTONIO – BCFS, a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations, has named Aram Svajian Director of Talent Acquisition. In this role, Svajian will oversee and manage the full life cycle of the company’s talent identification and recruitment processes.

Svajian comes to BCFS with a 20-plus year career in human resources, recruitment and staffing. At Randstad Healthcare and ProCare One Heathcare Staffing, he honed his skills in recruiting strategies, market diversification, training and development, customer service, improving retention rates, building high performance teams, and strengthening operational effectiveness.  He earned his B.A. in human resources from the University of Central Oklahoma and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.

As BCFS’ Director of Talent Acquisition, Svajian will institute policies and procedures to enhance recruiting effectiveness, streamline the recruitment-to-hire process, and improve the overall candidate experience. His new role will also entail the development of a flexible and adaptive recruiting team that can quickly respond to the diverse needs of the BCFS system.

“With his education and extensive experience, I know Aram will bring high-performance outcomes to the BCFS Human Resources team,” said Karen Thaxton, EVP – Human Resources. “He is a hands-on leader with a breadth of cross-functional expertise in customer service and the applicant experience, with sharp instincts for capitalizing on industry trends. Aram will continue to build BCFS’ best-in-class approach to attracting, sourcing and hiring.”

For more information about BCFS, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.

# # #

BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Mass Hiring Campaign Launched by BCFS Health and Human Services in Harlingen, Texas

Now interviewing to fill dozens of full-time and PRN positions 

Harlingen, TX – BCFS Health and Human Services has launched an intensive recruitement campaign for a number of positions to support the BCFS Health and Human Services’ Harlingen facility. These positions are vital to the organization’s growing operations serving children and youth in need.

BCFS is recruiting for a number of full-time positions with benefits, including associate program directors, lead clinicians, case managers, direct care staff for evening and overnight shifts, and a director of maintenance.  PRN (as-needed) positions are also available for social workers, case managers, counselors, teachers, teacher’s aides, and more. Hourly pay rates for PRN employees range from $15 to $40/hr., commensurate with experience and position.

Interested candidates are invited to attend the upcoming job fair on Friday, January 8, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Best Western Casa Villa Suites, White Wing Conference Room, 4317 S. Expressway 83, Harlingen, Texas  78550. Applicants should bring a valid form of identification, updated resume, and any licenses and/or certifications if applicable.

Applicants can also download an application at http://discoverbcfs.net/now-hiring-harlingen-baytown and/or email BCFS’ Human Resources at HR@bcfs.net.

“It’s a life-changing experience to work with BCFS in Harlingen” says Aram Svajian, BCFS Director of Talent Acquisition. “Every day, our team members make a significant difference in the lives of youth who are far from home, separated from their families, and experiencing a difficult transition. We have the unique opportunity to bring them hope and comfort.”

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Harlingen operation serves as an international children’s campus for unaccompanied children. For more information about BCFS, visit DiscoverBCFS.net.

Minimum qualifications include bilingual proficiency (English & Spanish); must be 21 years of age; must have clear criminal background and driving record and must possess a valid driver’s license.

# # #

BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Marilu A. Reyna,  Executive Vice President − Public Affairs & Communications

BCFS

1506 Bexar Crossing | San Antonio, TX 78232

office (210) 832-5000 | fax (210) 832-5005

direct (210) 283-5146| cell (210) 790-5281

corporate website www.BCFS.net | program website www.DiscoverBCFS.net

Isaac’s Story: A Life Transformed

Isaac was struggling through a difficult time when he came to BCFS Health and Human Services. He had bad habits to kick, a juvenile record, and needed help to focus on his education.

That’s when he joined BCFS’ Youth Averted from Delinquency (YAD) program.

“When I first started working with BCFS in the YAD program with Mr. Taylor, my life slowly started to get better.  The more I listened, the better off I got.  The life skills program taught me a lot of skills that I use in my everyday life.

My life is great now. I no longer use drugs, and I’m happily married and have a beautiful daughter.

In a week, I will graduate high school. I plan to go to the Fire Fighting Academy in Abilene to get my certification.  Then, I plan to come back to Kerrville and hope to join the Fire Department in my community. I’m really grateful to have worked with BCFS and their staff.”   – Isaac

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