Our Mission

To make tomorrow better than today by supporting and empowering children, youth, and families involved with Child Protective Services.

Race Equity Value Statement

Many of the children, youth, and families we serve through child welfare systems are disproportionately impacted by racism and other social injustices. We are committed to:

  • Manifesting change in our spheres of influence by using intentional language, embracing educational and training opportunities, and engaging in courageous conversations with our supporters and other members of our community.
  • Building an organization, programs, and events that more accurately reflect and more effectively support those we serve.
  • Advocating for reforms and enhancements that prioritize just treatment and the fair distribution of resources and support.

What we do

Partnerships for Children was founded in 2003 to bridge the gap between limited government resources and the growing needs of children and families in the care of Child Protective Services (CPS).

Provide Necessity Items

We provide necessity items like diapers, clothing, and beds to children and families from resource rooms located in CPS offices in Austin and Waco.

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Create Holiday Memories

We create holiday memories for children with an open CPS case in Central Texas by matching them with community donors to fulfill their gift wishes.

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Raise Adoption Awareness

We help connect families interested in adoption to children in the care of CPS who seek relational permanency.

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Ease Transitions

We help ease the transition into adulthood and independence for youth involved in the child welfare system through mentoring support, life-skills training, and financial education.

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Mentor through Music

We provide children involved in the child welfare system with committed one-on-one mentoring relationships through music lessons.

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Enhance Community

We are the backbone support for Foster Community - a network of nonprofits, government agencies and community leaders dedicated to enhancing community support for families involved or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system.

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"I had to grab a few things from the Rainbow Room after an emergency removal and the 10-year-old boy that was with me could not take his eyes off our display of toothbrushes. I realized that he has never had his very own toothbrush. We now make sure that he always has the items that he needs and deserves because of the Rainbow Room."

— Investigations Caseworker

Our History


In 1989, after the highly publicized death of a young toddler in Dallas, a group of concerned citizens created Community Partners of Dallas to assist Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers in meeting the needs of children in their care. Then in 1993, these efforts evolved into 24/7 resource rooms called Rainbow Rooms. In 1998, with the help of the First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush, this program was replicated throughout Texas.


In February of 2003, this initiative was brought to Austin as Partnerships for Austin Children in Crisis (now Partnerships for Children) and was incorporated and gained 501c3 status. We opened the doors to the first Travis County Rainbow Room in September of that year.

In 2004, we began our second program, Holiday Wishes. We hosted its first toy drive, brightening the lives of 250 children who couldn’t be home for the holidays.


After seeing what a difference our two programs were making in the lives of the children in CPS, we decided to work on making an even bigger impact through annual fundraising. In 2006, we hosted our 1st annual gala. In 2010, Cover 3 hosted its 1st annual Golf Classic for us. In 2011, we hosted our 1st annual Girls & Giving event and the 1st annual Byrd & Street Mistletoe Jam.


In 2012, we were awarded the Impact Austin grant. This enabled us to launch our third program, YES Mentoring, to support youth aging out of the child welfare system.

In 2014, we announced our fourth program, the Heart Gallery of Central Texas, at our 10th Anniversary Celebration. This program helps children who’ve been waiting to be adopted find their forever home.

At the end of our 2014 fiscal year, our annual operating budget broke the $1 million mark. And we haven't stopped growing. We kicked off our current fiscal year with a $2.5 million operating budget.

Our volunteer initiative, Teens4Teens, began in the summer of 2016. We knew this was a wonderful opportunity for young people to get involved in their communities and be encouraged to maintain that spirit of generosity as adults.


Forever Families is a weekly outreach and awareness segment featuring children and youth from our Heart Gallery. Since 2017, the coverage has expanded, and these segments are now featured on KVUE and viewed by thousands each week.

In 2018, we were approached by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to take over the backbone support for Foster Community; a network of nonprofits, government agencies and community leaders dedicated to increasing the number and diversity of healing foster and adoptive families in Central Texas.

In 2019, we expanded our resource services coverage and took over management of the Rainbow Room in Waco to assist with the growing need in this community.


2020 certainly had a profound impact on our world and was especially challenging for the children and families we serve. Through the amazing support of our community, PFC was able to pivot and expand our resource services to provide meal delivery, grocery gift cards and rent and utilities assistance to the families we serve. This assistance is now part of our regularly provided resources.

Our Board of Directors have focused the final months of 2020 on in-depth DEI work to build a foundation for the future of our organization and programs that put anti-racist and culturally competent supports in place to continue to chip away at the disparities in outcomes for children of color in our community.

In January 2021, we announced that Kids in a New Groove (KING) would be joining the PFC family. This mentoring through music program provides music mentors for children ages 5 and up who are involved in the child welfare system.

Latest News

Forever Families

Each Friday on KVUE midday, reporter Hannah Rucker introduces a new child looking for a forever family. These segments are crucial in raising awareness about the children featured in The Heart Gallery of Central Texas.

KING Mentoring

Learn more about our music mentoring program, Kids in a New Groove, recently featured on KVUE News.

Interested in talking with us about story opportunities? Email info@partnershipsforchildren.org or call 512-834-4756

Our Staff

Susana Martinez

Exective Director

Marcus Cantu

Director of Programs

Cristal Maldonado

Director of Community Partnerships

Ally Smith

Director of Development

Elisabeth Carrell

Grants Manager

Stacey Thompson

Austin Rainbow Room Administrator

Aneiya Harrison

YES Program Manager

Ritsel Decena Soriano

YES Program Coordinator

Dave Bishea

KING Mentoring Program Manager

Dorian Colbert

KING Music Outreach Coordinator

Sarah Murry

Heart Gallery Program Manager

Lindsay Holley

Heart Gallery Program Coordinator

Peyton Mooney

Resource Services Coordinator

Danielle Sinishta

Community Engagement Specialist

Biz Williamson

Event Manager

Lilian Estrada

Communications Manager

Yolanda Gonzalez

Bookkeeping & Payroll Specialist

Trena Goldsmith

Waco Program Manager

Our Board

Board Chair

Nicole Watson

Product Marketing Director, Salesforce

Board Chair Elect

Sally Baskin

Territory Director, Azure

Past Board Chair

Christy Rome

Executive Director, Texas School Coalition

Board Secretary

Jenny Goerdel Carrera

Community Advocate

Board Treasurer

Dauphen Jackson

CFO, Fuquay, Inc.

Ryan Willett

Attorney, Willett Law Firm

Keiko Anderson

Lawyer, Law Office of Keiko Griffin, PLLC

Thelma De Leon

Community Advocate

Paula Lina

Director of Value Engineering, Planview

Andrea Stovall

OR Director, Austin Plastics & Reconstructive Surgery

Shawntell Walton

Senior AP Specialist, Digital Turbine

Jonathan Stanner

President & CEO, Summit Hotel Properties