Month: November 2023

The road to adoption is filled with support, guidance


By Jesse Booher


Children and families around the world are celebrating November as National Adoption Month. Those of us who work with children each day are grateful for these families, and during this special month, we recognize the need to continue finding the loving families that all children deserve.


The need is certainly there. In Texas over the past year, nearly 4200 children left foster care to adoptive homes. As recently as September of 2023, over 7500 children in foster care had adoption as their primary goal for leaving foster care. The need is especially high for older children and for those who are part of sibling groups. Meanwhile, some families have perhaps considered adoption but don’t know where to start.


Before many families adopt in Texas, they start as foster families, meaning they provide temporary care for children whom the state has removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Nonprofit organizations train and prepare prospective foster families and then work with the state to place children in the foster families that will best meet the needs of those children. The process of becoming a foster family can take three to six months, starting with an orientation session. From there, families fill out an application and participate in trauma-informed training sessions and a home study.


Foster parents can be single or coupled, including same-sex couples, and they may or may not already have children. The parent must be at least 21 years old, be in good physical health, pass a criminal background check and be able to financially provide for a child.


Those who decide to provide foster care are not alone. When working with child-placing organizations such as DePelchin, they receive trainings, counseling, in-home visits and other forms of support. The state also provides financial assistance.


Foster parents know that the care they provide may be temporary, because the goal is always to reunite children with their birth families or close family friends when possible. However, in instances in which parental rights are terminated, a foster family can choose to pursue adoption. The same organizations that place a child in a foster family often provides guidance and assistance throughout the process of adoption.


Throughout November and beyond, many families celebrate their adoption day. For all involved, it will be among the happiest days of their lives. Meanwhile, here in the Houston area and throughout Texas, other children continue to need safe and loving homes.


If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the foster-to-adopt process, we invite you to reach out to us at DePelchin Children’s Center or a similar nonprofit organization that places children into care. We can tell you more about the guidance and support available to families who welcome a child into their homes and lives.



Jesse Booher is Senior Vice President and COO of DePelchin Children’s Center. To learn more about foster care and adoption through DePelchin, please email

Groups launch Help Me Grow Gulf Coast

DePelchin and other organizations gathered November 2 to launch Help Me Grow Gulf Coast, aimed at providing comprehensive support and resources for families with young children in the Gulf Coast region.


This collaborative initiative brings together community organizations, healthcare providers, early learning programs, and family support services to ensure every child has the best possible start in life.


Help Me Grow Gulf Coast is a partnership involving First3Years, United Way of Greater Houston, and DePelchin. It is part of the nationally recognized Help Me Grow system, which operates in numerous communities across the United States to organize resources, facilitate collaboration among service providers, and provide tailored support to families.


Key components of Help Me Grow Gulf Coast include:


  1. Developmental Screenings: Help Me Grow Gulf Coast will offer easy access to developmental and autism screenings for young children. These screenings are essential for early detection of developmental delays, allowing for timely intervention.
  2. Family Support and Navigation: Trained navigators will work closely with families to connect them to the right resources, services, and supports based on their family’s unique needs. This personalized approach aims to reduce barriers to accessing essential services.
  3. Community Engagement: Help Me Grow Gulf Coast will collaborate with local organizations, healthcare providers, and educators to spread awareness about the importance of early childhood development and the available resources. Community engagement events and workshops will provide valuable information to parents and caregivers.
  4. Data Collection and Analysis: The program will collect anonymous data to identify trends, gaps in services, and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach ensures that the program remains effective and responsive to the community’s needs.


“Parents want to be the experts on their child’s development, so they know how to foster their growth and help them thrive,” said Megan Green, DePelchin’s Director of Prevention and Early Intervention Services.  “Through the Help Me Grow call line, families can ask questions, participate in development screening, and be linked to services that will support them as a family. Our goal is to lift the burden of waitlists in the Gulf Coast community by linking families to personalized services for their children. Providers have the availability to serve, and families will get access to the service they need most. It’s a win-win for our communities.”


For more information about Help Me Grow Gulf Coast, please visit or contact Norma Rojas at or 713-906-2108.


New residential programs focus on youth nearing adulthood

DePelchin has opened two residential programs for older children and teenagers — a critical population that can often be difficult to place in foster care.


The two new programs will be at DePelchin’s Today’s Harbor Campus in LaPorte, Texas. DePelchin has been preparing to open the programs since last year, when it assumed the assets of Today’s Harbor for Children, a longtime child-serving organization serving at-risk children and youth.


The Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program is a special and safe place for pregnant and parenting foster youth who are between 12 and 18 years old. Our highly trained and professional staff will guide our teen mothers through building relationships with their babies with the goal of ensuring health, stability, and safety for both the mother and her child(ren).


The Transitional Living Program provides a safe place for at-risk youth who are between 14 and 18 years old and aging out of foster care. The program is designed to assist youth who cannot reunify with their birth families, and who have decided that adoption is not an option for them. Our goal is to work with these young adults to prepare them for independence. Through this program, residents develop the coping methods, internal control, and social skills needed to function independently now and in the future.


With around-the-clock staff support, residents of DePelchin’s Today’s Harbor Campus will receive education, skills training, mental health services, and guidance in independent living.


“There is a major need for high-quality services for older youth in foster care,” said Jenifer Jarriel, DePelchin President and CEO. “These new programs represent a direct response to that need. We are grateful to the supporters who have made this expansion of our services possible, the staff who have worked diligently to prepare the Today’s Harbor campus, and the LaPorte community that has welcomed us so warmly.”