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.

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Sustained Resilience: Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM) program operated by BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division

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Katrina’s Landfall

The 29th of August in 2005 would become a day to go down in American history. Hurricane Katrina was making landfall during the early morning hours. The Category 3 storm brought sustained winds of 130 miles per hour to the residents of New Orleans and hundreds of communities located along the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. After several intense hours, the winds subsided, the storm moved inland and weakened, but devastation from the flooding from failed levees had just begun. Thousands would lose their lives and tens of thousands of people would be displaced from their homes in what would become the costliest hurricane in U.S. history and the fifth deadliest.

In the months and years that followed this catastrophic event, the lessons learned were many. Despite the delivery and application of an enormous volume of resources, almost four years after the storm, in April of 2009, thousands of individuals were still in need of social services that would enable their full recovery.

Trailer homes, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and initiated by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), had been deployed to assist residents that had lost their homes. As these trailer homes were never intended to be a permanent solution, a new pilot program known as the Louisiana Disaster Case Management Pilot (DCMP) was launched to assist people still living in FEMA temporary housing units. The goal of the pilot was to assist displaced residents with aspects related to long term recovery, including the transition to permanent housing and accessing available resources that addressed financial, legal and healthcare needs.

Lessons Learned The Hard Way

According to a 2010 independent study, “Navigating the Road to Recovery,” the efficacy of the Louisiana DCMP pilot program faced many obstacles: “Despite concerted effort by participating agencies, the implementation of the DCMP was fraught with challenges. As a result, the pilot could not be implemented as intended, leaving the needs of many clients not fully met.”

The report went on to document significant problems regarding communication, coordination, and financing of the program. “The stop and start of recovery initiatives led to serious discontinuities in client recovery, so the authors recommend that federal and state governments consider a single, longer-term recovery initiative that seamlessly acknowledges the stages of human recovery. Improvements in how federal and state governments identify and locate affected residents, consider needs and vulnerabilities in planning, and ensure continuity of services are critical to ensure high-quality disaster case management.”

The answer? The creation of a new federal program that leveraged the outcomes of the Louisiana DCMP program. The program came to be known as the federal Immediate Disaster Case Management program, or IDCM.

Inception of ICDM

Working in conjunction with FEMA, the new IDCM program would be administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Within ACF, a department known as the Office of Human Services Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) would be responsible for activating the program once certain disaster impact criteria had been met under a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

In 2014, the contract to provide these services for OHSEPR came up for renewal. With a lengthy track record of successful emergency response deployment operations on behalf of state and federal clients, BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) submitted a proposal and was awarded a five-year contract to provide IDCM services.

Preparations Commence

Quickly, the program was off and running. EMD established a management team and within 60 days employed and developed nine case management teams consisting of 30 case managers each. Months of team coordination and distance-based training soon followed. Members of the IDCM team come from across the country and represent all ten ACF regions.

In late summer of 2015, a full-scale IDCM disaster exercise was held at Silver Cliff Ranch, the BCFS-owned and operated wilderness camp in Nathrop, Colorado. Case managers were provided a mock “activation order” by EMD. Hundreds of designated case management personnel were then flown to Denver from across the country on a single day and were transported by EMD buses on a three-hour journey into the mountains. Over the following four days, the “ACME” exercise, which was scenario-driven and included real-world examples of actual client situations, the IDCM team was able to effectively implement disaster case management training at a higher level than any delivered training in the program’s history.

The exercise was attended by representatives from FEMA, ACF, and uniformed members of the United States Public Health Services (USPHS), a government agency that operates under the leadership of the Surgeon General’s office to ensure public health functionalities during major disasters. The exercise was an incredible success.

The BCFS IDCM team was now ready for action. All that was needed was a mission assignment. In the spring of 2016, that opportunity came.

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Record-Breaking Rainfall

The night of April 17, 2016 began with heavy rain forecast in the southeast part of Texas. On this night and for several consecutive nights, Harris County and the many other counties that make up the greater Houston metropolitan area were situated within a steady stream of upper level moisture coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. As this tropical air mass intermingled with cooler air approaching from the northern portions of Texas, thunderstorms developed rapidly. Instead of quickly exiting the area as they usually do, these clusters of storms seemed to maintain a constant, almost static, presence over the region. As the thunderstorms intensified, their eastward motion slowed almost to a dead stop. As the storms remained, they dumped several million gallons of rain on unsuspecting residents of a 14-county area.

As the initial rains fell, many residents thought the storms would pass and things would go back to normal soon. Little did they know that within 12 hours the water from the nearby Brazos River, Colorado River, and numerous local bayous would swamp thousands of homes. The following day, after being rescued from swift moving waters by teams of first responders in special flood response watercraft, many of these same homeowners would be sleeping on cots in emergency shelters set up in nearby schools. Some watched the contents of their homes – their life’s belongings – washed into a river of debris that only a few hours earlier had been the roadway through their neighborhood. Other flood survivors in rural areas were left helpless as their livestock perished or were stranded by the floodwaters.

The flooding was record-setting for the Houston area. As a result, the federal government issued a Presidential Disaster Declaration for dozens of counties across the region. While the state of Texas does have significant local case management capacity, as time passed and the demand for case management services reached record levels, the local case management capacity was outstripped. It was at this point, several weeks after the floods subsided, that state officials determined federal case management assistance would be needed.

The BCFS IDCM team received a 90-day Mission Assignment task order on May 26, 2016. By June 5, nearly 60 BCFS personnel were providing desperately needed services to residents of the counties impacted by the storms. Using a combination of centralized case management services and deployable case management strike teams, the IDCM group fanned out into a dozen communities that were most impacted by the floods. Sixty total personnel were initially deployed; an additional twenty personnel would be deployed a few weeks later.

It would become an IDCM deployment operation that would alter the face of the federal IDCM mission profile. 

Changing The Mission Profile

The cyclical phases of emergency management include Preparedness, Response, Recovery, Mitigation and Prevention.

In the emergency management world, the Response phase of any incident is usually short-lived. Response operations include application of response resources. An Incident Command Post is established as a location where response operations are coordinated. Supplies, equipment and personnel are organized and utilized in a manner that is designed to save lives and protect property. Incident Action Plans are drafted and distributed daily in order to capture required response objectives, organizational structure and personnel assigned to specific tasks. Situation Reports are also created and distributed daily, as a means of tracking operational success toward the established mission objectives outlined in the Incident Action Plan.

The Recovery phase, on the other hand, is where the heavy lifting begins. It is generally characterized by a slower pace, as recovery operations can continue for several years. Recovery operations rarely utilize the same tools as the Response phase. True to form, during previous IDCM deployments a different contractor had applied a typical recovery approach to their recovery efforts on behalf of OHSEPR. The results were disappointing and ineffective.

The BCFS IDCM team would take a much different approach. BCFS would, for the first time, apply a response-oriented approach to recovery operations. The results? A vast improvement in the coordination and application of IDCM case management resources, which allowed BCFS to assist thousands of affected residents in a much shorter time frame.

Powerful Results

EMD disaster case managers spread out across the Houston-area and 11 surrounding counties, helping flood survivors on a daily basis for months at a time. For each flood survivor, some experiencing their darkest hour, their disaster case manager served as a single point of contact for all their questions, advocating for them with multiple social service organizations and government partners, to help them achieve the best possible outcomes in their individual recovery process.

EMD disaster case managers were the go-to resource for flood victims to receive assistance meeting their needs for housing, furniture, appliances, utilities, employment services, transportation, health and wellness, senior services, access and functional needs services, legal assistance and more.

The positive impact on the affected communities was tremendous. Based on the results listed above, feedback from our federal partners has been very positive.

The highly successful work performed by BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division to ensure sustained resilience for the Houston-area will have a lasting impact for years to come.charlie-rosenberg-3-2

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

Little League Baseball Opening Ceremonies Feature Former Pro Pitcher

ABILENE – The Southern Little League kicked off the 2016 Little League Baseball season with a catered dinner on Friday, April 1, and festive opening ceremonies Saturday, April 2, complete with food trucks, games and a keynote address from former major leaguer Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris.

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Nearly 100 community members attended the Meat on the Mound dinner Friday night, where Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris provided the event’s keynote address. Morris’s story of his rise from Texas high school baseball coach to major league pitcher is the subject of the 2003 Disney movie, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid as Morris.

Due to inclement weather, the dinner was moved from the Southern Little League fields to a hangar at Abilene’s Eagle Aviation Services. With a brand new American Airlines jet parked in the hangar, the last-minute venue change was a source of much excitement for children and youth in attendance who were invited to climb aboard the plane and tour the cockpit.

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On Saturday, April 2, with clear skies, a crowd of 500 including baseball players, their families and other community members, gathered at the baseball diamond to celebrate the announcement of the 2016 Southern Little League Baseball teams and coaches. The crowd enjoyed food trucks, prizes, kids’ games, a silent auction and a homerun derby. Homerun derby winners were awarded in four age groups: Jayden Carrillo (8 & under), Dylan Lujan (10 & under), Colin Hayward (12 & under) and Billy Jackson (18 & over).

Silent auction bidders competed for a Juan Gonzalez autographed baseball jersey, and an autographed Josh Hamilton photo – but the most popular item was a one-hour pitcher’s mound session of pitching lessons and tips with Jimmy “The Rookie” Morris.

Jimmy Morris served as the Official Grandmaster of the Little League Opening Ceremonies. In his remarks, he encouraged the little leaguers to follow their dreams.

“Watch out for the dream-killers,” Morris warned the youth. “They come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t let them get to you, and don’t let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams.”

Morris also acknowledged April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, cautioning that abuse can happen to whom, where and when its least expected, and imploring parents and children to be aware of the signs.

“Keep a watchful eye,” Morrs said, “and if you’re uncomfortable discussing it, keep BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene in mind, they’re here to help.”

BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene partnered with the Little League to support the event. BCFS-Abilene operates parenting education programs, support groups for dads, and programs that help youth from foster care and other challenging backgrounds transition into adulthood.

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“The partnership with Southern Little League gave us an opportunity to build new relationships in the community,” said BCFS Director Emily Cole. “We are proud to provide youth and families across Abilene with parenting support groups and simple tips on how to improve the peace and communication in the home. Every family can benefit from additional resources and support.”

Proceeds from ticket sales for Meat on the Mound and the silent auction benefited Southern Little League players. The funds will cover the cost of grounds updates, maintenance and new baseball equipment – as well as a scholarship fund for children from low-income families to pay little league fees and join a team.

Community partners who sponsored the weekend’s events include Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Texas Screen Printers, Western Bank, D1 Sports Training, and Dr. Jay and Nancy Capra. Abilene Portable Buildings and Suite Life Pet Resort and Spa donated silent auction items.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

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.

Eleventh Annual Ladies’ Spring Luncheon Packs the House to Benefit Breckenridge Village of Tyler

TYLER – More than 400 guests came together at the KE Bushman’s Celebration Center for Breckenridge Village of Tyler’s (BVT) 11th Annual Ladies’ Spring Luncheon on Friday, April 15. Each year, the luncheon is held to benefit the residents and day program participants at BVT, a faith-based community for adults with developmental disabilities. The luncheon is BVT’s largest annual fundraising event, and female residents of the Village attend as guests of honor.

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Grammy-nominated artist, motivational entertainer and author LynnMarie Rink brought her unique brand of wit and wisdom, engaging luncheon guests with anecdotes, inspirational experiences and even a musical performance. Mrs. Rink and her husband are the parents of a son, James, with Down’s syndrome. Rink details the trials, tribulations and victories of her life as a working mother and caregiver to her son in her recently published memoir, Wrap Your Heart Around It: A Memoir About Learning to Love the Life You Have.

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Rink’s honest message sent energy and encouragement rippling through the crowd, and for Sharon Freeman, a parent/guardian of a BVT resident, Rink’s message was especially resonant.

“Hearing LynnMarie’s experience reminded me of how blessed I am to have friends that guided my husband and me through the unexpected guardianship of an adult nephew that lives with autism,” she said. “Breckenridge Village has given our nephew the security, love and home environment to flourish! The luncheon – and BVT – are blessings.”

“It’s refreshing,” said Linda Taylor, BVT’s Associate Executive Director of Advancement, of Rink’s candid message, “to have someone be open and vulnerable to share their life story so authentically.”

“LynnMarie was by far the best luncheon speaker ever,” said BVT Auxiliary member Artie McKinsey, who has been a generous donor and faithful supporter of the luncheon since its inception more than a decade ago.

Meticulously decorated tablescapes adorned with heart-motif linens and fine china offered visual imagery to the luncheon’s theme, Wrap Your Heart Around It, borrowed from Rink’s book title.

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“The tables reflect the heart of the ladies who support the Village,” said longtime BVT supporter Sandy King. “I’ve been blessed to be a part of the celebration of BVT’s Forever Children; it’s a wonderful ministry.”

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KYTX Channel 19 anchorwoman Dana Hughey served as Mistress of Ceremonies and Mrs. Cindy Dykes, wife of Green Acres Baptist Church minister, Dr. David Dykes, delivered the meal blessing. Mrs. Dykes served as the guest speaker at the inaugural BVT Ladies’ Spring Luncheon in 2006.

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The luncheon featured a silent auction showcasing handcrafted items generously donated by local businesses and friends of the Village. All proceeds from the luncheon benefit residents and day program participants at BVT, a faith-based community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information about the work at BVT, contact Linda Taylor at 903-596- 8100 or visit BreckenridgeVillage.com.


Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) is part of BCFS’ global system of health and human service non-profit organizations. BVT is a faith-based community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities. Located on a tranquil 70-acre campus just west of Tyler, Texas, our community offers exceptional residential and day enrichment programs to meet the needs of the persons entrusted to our care. We are dedicated to serving a group of amazing people—God’s Forever Children—in a warm, safe, family-like setting that seeks to empower each resident as he or she develops spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially in a safe, loving, and closely supervised environment.

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.

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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. 

BCFS in the Kerrville, TX Daily Times

Agencies raise awareness of child abuse, neglect

Kellie Early, president of the Kerr County Child Services Board, said the 355 ribbon placards on the county courthouse need to be reduced. Each ribbon represents a child who was impacted by abuse or neglect in Kerr County in 2015, according to county statistics.

“We haven’t been seeing that number go down in recent years,” said Kellie Early, president of the Kerr County Child Services Board. “It’s increasing, and that’s partly because of the drug problem we have in Kerr County. Every time there’s a drug bust, they’re calling Child Protective Services to get the kids.”

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Kerr County Interagency Network opens central office

At least 45 service groups in the area can now reference clients to other community organizations all under one roof, thanks to the Kerr County Interagency Network.

On Tuesday, members of the network gathered at the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center on East Main Street to celebrate its official opening.

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Beatrice Barrera: VIP in BCFS Head Start

Let’s take the time to congratulate Beatrice Barrera who has been selected for BGLR MVP. Beatrice has shown that she exemplifies all of the great qualities that are sought-after by BCFS Education Services.

She is a reliable, diligent and conscientious employee who is always willing to assist all fellow staff members and families. She was instrumental in BGLR achieving our 100% compliance goal in our immunization audit. She takes initiative. She has stepped in without prompting or hesitation to assist caseloads. She has entered data into SHINE, conducted home visits, filed paperwork, helped in the classroom and the list goes on.

For all of reasons listed above Beatrice Barrera is the BGLR MVP. Congratulations, Beatrice!

 

Big Country Men Learn How To Be “Game Changers” from NFL Hall of Famer at Annual BCFS Breakfast

More than $50,000 raised to benefit homeless youth

ABILENE – On Thursday, February 25, BCFS Health and Human Services brought Big Country men (and women) together for the second annual Men’s Breakfast to enjoy steak and eggs, classic cars, a sports star, live music and fellowship. The event raised more than $50,000 to support BCFS Health and Human Services’ work with homeless and struggling youth.

IMG_0932Dallas Cowboys legend and NFL Hall of Famer Randy White provided the keynote address about what it means to “be a game changer.” The 160 guests in attendance enjoyed live music by Kevin Rowe, a classic car show and a silent auction followed by a hearty steak-and-eggs breakfast. Several community leaders attended, including the Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald,

State Representative Susan King, as well as local college and high school football coaching staff.

Guests mingled with speaker Randy White for autographs and photo ops. As a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ storied Doomsday Defense, Randy White played an integral part in the team’s success during his 14-year career, appearing in three Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XII and being named Super Bowl Co-MVP.

Proceeds raised at the event will benefit Abilene teens and youth in need from BCFS Health and Human Services and BCFS’ Our House.

“BCFS’ Our House is a transitional home for young men ages 18 to 23 overcoming homelessness,” said Emily Cole, BCFS Regional Director. “Our first goal is to get these young men off the streets and stabilized in a safe living environment. We get them fed, clothed and cleaned up. Ultimately we help them find a steady job, further their education and transition out into independent living.”

Celeste Garcia, Executive Director of Community Services Division for BCFS Health and Human Services, announced that their parent organization, BCFS, would match funds raised at the event, dollar-for-dollar.

Major sponsors who made the event possible include the Dodge Jones Foundation, Jay and Nancy Capra, Hendrick Health System, and Western Bank.

BCFS Health and Human Services helps youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems; families with young children and teens; and young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and unemployment. The organization provides counseling, education and housing assistance, mentorships, case management, parent support groups, child abuse prevention programs, and life skills trainings.

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For more information about BCFS’ work in Abilene, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Abilene or call (325) 692-0033.

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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.

 

Ready For the Fight: BCFS Emergency Management Division

By Jon Bodie

Again and again, in the face of steep odds and often without the luxury of time, BCFS EMD has responded to the call to action with expedience, expertise and an extreme commitment to serving others when resources are stretched to the breaking point.

Similar to many of the programs across the BCFS system, the EMD was founded on the premise of meeting unmet needs in disaster response areas and serving individuals who have been disproportionately impacted, where no one else was able – or willing – to take on the challenge.

HISTORY

During the Branch Davidian incident in early 1993, BCFS began establishing what has become a long, successful track record of providing compassionate, yet skillful emergency services to state and local government agencies. Nineteen children, age 5 months to 12 years, were released from the Branch Davidian compound into the hands of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS). DFPS then turned to BCFS to provide emergency care for these children.

It wasn’t until late in the summer of 2005 that a dedicated program division was conceptualized by BCFS President & CEO Kevin Dinnin. The provision of emergency housing and support for individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs and people with medical conditions who were displaced from their homes was on the minds of officials responsible for mass care planning within the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). The state’s mass care coordinator had inquired about the possibility of BCFS Health and Human Services taking on this important role should a disaster require these types of critical services. No jurisdiction in the U.S. had adequately prepared for or had plans in place to care for this population.

An agreement was made for BCFS Health and Human Services to explore this as a mission capability, with formal plans to follow later in the year. Unfortunately, a year wasn’t the timeframe Mother Nature would abide by – just a few weeks later Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The images of survivors “left behind” plastered across TV screens and newspapers, forever engrained in our minds, spurred the State of Texas to reach out to BCFS – the only organization that could deliver on such a daunting, logistically complex situation that required a delicate balance of compassion and capability.

Over the next few chaotic weeks, as evacuees streamed into Texas, a formal request was issued for BCFS Health and Human Services to facilitate a medical sheltering mission. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita bore down on Texas as the one-two punch. Long-term planning was not an option, it was time to act! Several months and 1,700 medical shelter guests later, the emergency management division of BCFS came to fruition and was fully operational.

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Later that year, medical sheltering plans were developed based on real world experience BCFS Health and Human Services gained during the responses to Katrina and Rita. An in-house, reservist-based Incident Management Team (IMT) was formed, consisting of personnel with multifaceted career experience in fire-rescue, EMS, law enforcement and emergency management disciplines.

In early 2006, BCFS Health and Human Services began offering incident management and medical sheltering expertise to state and local government agencies. In short order, BCFS EMD was on the road to becoming a national leader in the areas of disaster-related health and medical response, consultation and training.

When FEMA required the development of national guidance and training for emergency managers on how to adequately support and care for the disasterrelated needs of individuals with disabilities, the federal agency determined there was no other entity that could rival BCFS EMD’s depth of knowledge and history of success and experience. BCFS Health and Human Services authored FEMA’s Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) in General Population Shelters. Since its publication, BCFS Health and Human Services has trained emergency managers from all 50 states on best practices, legal requirements for integrated all-hazards planning, and methods for coordinating operations with public and private entities to meet the needs of all citizens in preparing for disasters.

HERE & NOW

Fast forward to 2015. BCFS EMD has expanded to a robust team of emergency management professionals and subject matter experts. BCFS EMD’s All Hazards Incident Management Team (IMT) is comprised of more than 200 formally-trained personnel from across the nation, with significant experience in planning and responding to all-hazards domestic and international catastrophic incident responses.

EMD has also formed a Disaster Medical Staffing Team (DMST) comprised of more than 200 healthcare professionals nationwide. This team offers BCFS EMD its own in-house capability in regard to the types of medical services required for effective emergency medical sheltering. Physicians, physician extenders, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, respiratory therapists and pharmacists are all rostered as reservist members of the DMST – available for rapid deployment anywhere in the United States.

BCFS EMD is now also contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) to be the sole national provider of immediate case management during disasters. This selfsufficient, self-supporting, scalable model is called an Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM) team, and serves to resolve disaster-related unmet needs of people impacted by an incident of national significance. As with the IMT and DMST, the Disaster Case Management Teams (DCMT) were created based on an emergency response need expressed by the government.

When an emergency occurs and a presidential disaster declaration is implemented, FEMA reaches across to OHSEPR to facilitate the humanitarian services needed to get people back on their feet. OHSEPR responds by deploying BCFS EMD’s Disaster Case Management Teams. Over the past decade, BCFS EMD has successfully deployed and supported hundreds of staff rostered into all-hazard field-deployable teams for extended periods during disasters and public health emergencies. BCFS EMD has responded to international incidents, national emergencies and every major incident affecting the State of Texas in the last decade.

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BCFS EMD is committed to always doing what is right to help individuals and organizations in need, which is why it sometimes underwrites and provides response resources and assets at no cost to the entities in crisis.

ALWAYS READY, ALWAYS WILLING

BCFS EMD is an all-hazards partner to private healthcare entities, as well as local, state and federal government agencies.

EBOLA CRISIS

In response to a request from one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, BCFS EMD deployed IMT personnel to provide coordination and communications support, as well as public health and medical experts for procedure development and training during the Ebola crisis. Today, the policies and procedures drafted by BCFS EMD provide employees from coast-to-coast with the step-by-step guidance on handling patients who arrive at one of the healthcare system’s hospitals or urgent care facilities with symptoms of Ebola.

SENIOR HIGH-RISE APARTMENT FIRE

On the morning of Sunday, December 28, a fire broke out in an 11-story, high-rise senior independent living complex in Castle Hills, Texas. The fire resulted in the deaths of six senior citizens and the hasty evacuation of several hundred elderly residents, most of whom were evacuated with only the clothing they were wearing. The following day, the highrise complex was sealed due to air quality concerns and an active fire investigation. Of the 226 senior residents who were displaced, more than 120 required temporary placement services and case management support to facilitate immediate unmet needs, including recovery or re-issuance of identity documentation, housing coordination, food, medical care, and financial assistance.

Within the first week, BCFS EMD IMT personnel were requested by the Castle Hills Unified Command to take over operations as the incident moved into recovery mode. BCFS EMD’s DMST personnel were deployed to provide needed medical assistance, as well as case management tasks that resulted in the successful transition of displaced residents to alternative permanent living arrangements. This deployment of EMD personnel and resources totaled 31 days and was underwritten by BCFS, the parent organization of BCFS Health and Human Services.

CENTRAL TEXAS MASS FLOODING

At the request of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), BCFS EMD deployed equipment resources to Central Texas in response to record flooding that occurred during the Memorial Day weekend. BCFS EMD’s Mobile Command Platform-1, also known as MCP-1, served as the Incident Command Post (ICP) for unified local and state response operations in the Wimberley area. MCP-1, in addition to being the ICP, also provided communication and technology support to incident operations. EMD also deployed Mobile Mast Trailer-1 (MMT-1) to support fail-safe communication requirements of the incident. This deployment of BCFS EMD support personnel and equipment resources was underwritten by BCFS.

CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL

BCFS EMD’s Disaster Medical Staffing Team (DMST) supported the response to the major oil spill along the coast of California when a ruptured pipeline leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil – with at least 21,000 gallons dumped into the ocean – creating a nine mile slick before it could be secured. The DMST provided first aid and medical case management support to the incident. This deployment of DMST personnel and equipment resources totaled 73 days.

The Emergency Management Division of BCFS Health and Human Services stands ready, willing and able to take on any mission task when the welfare and dignity of others are on the line.

When skilled, aggressive, proficient, competent teams are required to enhance the capacities of private healthcare systems, public health emergency response and emergency management agencies, BCFS EMD is ready for the fight.