Month: July 2023

When foster care is needed, aunts and uncles often step in

A man reaching out for a hug from his son and a lady holding her daughter

Aunts and uncles play a critical role in the care and raising of many children. They are especially important to children in foster care because they often take on the responsibility of caring for children in their extended families who have been removed from their parents, helping those children stay connected to their own personal backgrounds and heritage.

July 26 is National Aunts and Uncles Day. At DePelchin, we want to use the day to express gratitude to all who provide kinship care, which is a type of foster care provided by relatives or close friends.

When children are removed from their homes, Child Protective Services (CPS) seeks first to place them with a relative. In 2021, 45% of Texas children taken into CPS custody were placed with kin, which can have many advantages: Placement with a relative can allow children to remain connected to their families, cultures, schools and communities. It also increases the likelihood that they will achieve “permanency” – adoption or a reliable relationship with the same family – before reaching adulthood.

Aunts and uncles, along with grandparents, are some of the relatives most likely to provide kinship care. These relatives often care for children who are difficult to place with traditional foster families, either because of their age or their unique needs, and thus play a key role in a state short on placements for children in foster care.

At DePelchin, we believe it is important for kinship caregivers to become licensed foster parents, which makes additional supports available to those families. We assign specialists to kinship caregivers to help them through the licensing process. Once they become licensed foster parents, kinship caregivers working with DePelchin have free access to services we provide to other licensed foster families, such as mental health services and parenting training.

If you or someone you know is providing kinship care and would like more information about DePelchin’s kinship care programs, please click here.

Thank you to the supporters who help us support kinship caregivers. Most importantly, thank you to the aunts, uncles, and other relatives who care for children in your extended families when they need it most.

Meeting the mental health needs of diverse communities

A child giving their mother a high five

July is recognized as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. As an organization that provides a variety of mental health services for children and adults, DePelchin understands and seeks to address the unique barriers that minority communities face when trying to access mental health care.

DePelchin’s mental health services include school-based counseling at some campuses serving high-needs students, as well as in-person and virtual counseling for children, parents and other family members. Our counseling program is an important part of our effort to prevent the maltreatment of children and keep families safe.

This month is important not only because we serve a diversity of children and families in our mental health programs, but also because we know that minority communities face some unique challenges in getting the care they need. For example:

  • A lack of bilingual therapists is a major barrier to care. Even in Houston, which has a large Hispanic population, there are not enough therapists who speak Spanish. Plus, there are little-to-no services available for minority families who speak a language other than English or Spanish. Some use a translator, but this can be both cost-prohibitive and not conducive to building a trusting relationship with a therapist.


  • Families that lack financial resources have limited choices when it comes to finding a counselor or therapist and must often rely on no-cost services. As a result, the counselors available to them may or may not share similar cultural backgrounds. While counselors are trained in cultural humility and cultural sensitivity, clients may still find it more difficult to build a therapeutic relationship with someone from a different background.


  • Another challenge arises from stigmas related to mental health.  Some may be reluctant to access mental health services because their culture sees this as a weakness or believes that mental health issues should be handled either within the family or by the church. There is also a strong lack of trust in the system from minority families based on generations of bad experiences. Families may also worry that seeking no-cost counseling will jeopardize their immigration status.

Because meeting the mental health needs of children and families is such an important part of our work, DePelchin tries to address these and other barriers in order to make services available to people of all backgrounds.

“While many of the issues that non-white and minority clients face are similar to issues and challenges faced by all clients, there are definitely some additional concerns that these clients face that make finding and accessing mental health services more of a challenge,” said Dr. Charity Eames, DePelchin’s Director of Clinical Services. “DePelchin tries to mitigate these concerns by hiring a diverse group of counselors, by providing as many services as possible in Spanish or a client’s native language, and by talking with families to allay concerns regarding mental health stigmas or concerns about how accessing services may affect benefits or immigration status.”

During this month and throughout the year, we are grateful for all who strive to meet the mental health needs of diverse communities. We are also grateful for those who seek counseling and other services for children and other members of their families. Finally, we appreciate the supporters who make it possible for DePelchin to offer these and other critical services.

Please click here for more information about DePelchin’s counseling programs.

Help give DePelchin families the school supplies they need

Three kids with new backpacks

While the blistering heat might make us feel that summer will never end, a new school year is rapidly approaching. We invite all DePelchin supporters to help us make sure the year starts on the right foot for the children and families we serve.

DePelchin is collecting school supplies this summer to distribute to children we serve across our programs and in the four regions where DePelchin offers programs: Houston, Austin, Lubbock, and San Antonio. For years, our supporters and volunteers have helped make our Back-to-School drives a success. Last year, we distributed 900 new backpacks filled with paper, binders, pencils and other supplies needed to start the new school year successfully.

We will again distribute the backpacks in August, and now is a perfect time for individuals, businesses, or community groups to host a donation drive to collect school supplies and donations. Hosting a donation drive is easy and a great way to rally friends and coworkers around a cause that makes a tangible difference in children’s academic journey.

Our most needed items are mesh or clear backpacks, composition notebooks, spiral notebooks, and colored pencils. You can also purchase items off of our Amazon wishlist.

We will be collecting donations at our DePelchin Donation Station at 200 Sandman Street in Houston, where volunteers will help us sort donations and prepare them for distribution to our offices around the state. Donations should be dropped off by July 27, either between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Tuesdays, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays, or by appointment. If you have any questions about how to host a donation drive, please contact Norma Noonan at or (281) 780-9873.

Each year, we see how much the families we serve through foster care, prevention services, and other programs appreciate the school supplies that our supporters provide. Please consider hosting a donation drive soon so the children we serve can be ready to learn as they start the school year.