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EMPOWER, a nonprofit child welfare collaborative, now provides foster care case management, kinship and reunification services for all children and families in the Metroplex East region, after entering Stage II of the Community-Based Care (CBC) contract with the State of Texas on March 1, 2024. EMPOWER is led by Texas Family Initiative LLC (TFI) and is supported by local providers in North Texas, including CK Family Services, Jonathan’s Place, The Bair Foundation and Pathways Youth and Family Services. EMPOWER will serve as the lead agency for the nine-county area that includes Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall, Kaufman and Navarro counties.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare for the final phase of CBC readiness and get ready to provide children and their families in the Metroplex East region with the most effective services to promote safety, permanency and overall well-being,” says Shirley Dwyer, Texas Family Initiative Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “We are thankful to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for their loyal partnership in ensuring a seamless transition.”  

EMPOWER was awarded the CBC contract by the State of Texas in February 2023, and entered a multi-stage process to take over services for the region. Stage II is the phase of implementing and transforming the services and care provided to children and families in the nine-county region through February 29, 2028, the term of this contract. 

CBC is an innovative approach to traditional foster care services because it utilizes local nonprofits to outsource out of home placement and case management services. Under CBC, a single entity is responsible for coordinating and delivering all child welfare services in a specific geographic area. The model allows for the CBC contractor to draw on existing community-based local resources and support to meet the unique and individual needs of children and their families. CBC’s goal is to have children placed in foster care close to their home so that they may thrive and remain connected to their family, friends, school and community. In order to promote family preservation and reunification, EMPOWER works with families to identify the root causes of their involvement with the child welfare system and provides the support needed to solve those issues.  

“Our team is committed to the safety and well-being of children and families in Metroplex East and we are dedicated to providing them with the best care available,” says Dr. Linda Garcia, Senior Vice President of EMPOWER. “We will also continue to educate our local communities on the crucial role foster parents play to fill the significant need for more foster homes.” 

The Metroplex East contract is one of the largest CBC awards in U.S. history, and the fifth region in Texas to transition to CBC services. There are nearly 2,000 foster children in the Metroplex East region. 

Since Sept. 1, 2023, EMPOWER has provided placement services in the Metroplex East Region. During that time, all children referred by the State have been placed in a licensed placement and have not stayed in unlicensed child watch. For the first time in over five years, all children in the Metroplex East Region are placed in licensed placements.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), from September 2021 to February 2022, on average there were 2,456 children in DFPS conservatorship in Texas’ Metroplex East region. Around 79% of those foster children were placed within the same Metroplex East region, and 37.8% were placed in their home county. 

There are many local children in foster care in need of a safe, loving place to call home. To learn more about how individuals and families can help these children in need, please visit www.3empower.org.

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