May 14, 2024

Partnerships for a Re-Imagined Child Welfare System

May is National Foster Care Month. This month and year-round, Partnerships for Children is enhancing community support for families involved in, or at risk of involvement with, the foster care system through the Foster Community program. 

Foster Community is working closely with Travis County Child Protective Services Courts on the Travis County Child Welfare Re-Imagined Pilot. The three-year pilot aims to center children and their community as they move through the foster care system.  

Cristal Maldonado, Director of Community Partnerships for PFC and Foster Community, emphasizes the need for wraparound support for children and families at-risk of entering the foster system. Children of color are statistically more likely to be separated from their birth family when interacting with the child welfare system. Addressing this disproportionality through community support is an essential first step towards a Re-Imagined child welfare system.

Community-based organizations, like Partnerships for Children, participating in the Pilot are working closely together to build support systems for youth in foster care. The Travis County courthouse now houses a resource room for kids and teens to have health, hygiene, and school supplies thanks to Foster Village. Young adults are also receiving additional support, hearing from college representatives and preparing for adulthood. Together, organizations are building support systems to further the ultimate goal of supporting children and families as they work towards reunification.

Teen resource room at the Travis County courthouse, implemented in 2024 as part of the pilot project in partnership with Foster Village!

The Re-Imagined Pilot is exploring a culturally responsive and equitable approach that offers community wide support that effectively and intentionally serves all families with an identifiable need. Beginning with decreasing the number of Children Without Placements in Travis County by early identification, through building community-based support systems for youth within the court system, the Pilot is already inciting positive change. Programs developed as a result of the Pilot will focus on ultimately avoiding separation of family units where safe and possible. 

Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) tabling at a community event.

Still, the need for supportive foster homes remains. Travis County saw zero Children Without Placements through March & April 2024, thanks in part to certified foster parents ready to welcome youth. According to Cristal, the most important thing a foster family can offer is an environment unbiased towards biological families, allowing the kids a supportive space to live and grow while their parents work through the child welfare system.  

Does this sound like you and your family? If it does, become a licensed foster parent! Begin by attending a virtual information session hosted by Foster Community. There, you will learn more about foster certification, and connect with foster/adopt agencies who will guide you through the certification process. Agencies will also provide variations of Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training and more resources to help equip you for managing social and emotional situations children in foster care may be facing in their lives. 

For more information visit, or contact Cristal at