Jun 27, 2018
Ana Acosta
“Foster Community: Transforming the way we think about Foster Care”
“Foster Community: Transforming the way we think about Foster Care”
Foster Community is an action-oriented group of nonprofits, government agencies, and community leaders dedicated to supporting the youth in Foster Care.
 
Ana Acosta
Community Engagement Specialist
“My main role as a community engagement specialist is to empower you to get involved and support the youth in foster care.”
Before launching Foster Community, Ana was a teacher and administrator in high needs schools where she had the privilege of working with children in the foster care system. Her students helped her gain a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by kids in care and after 16 years of teaching, she finally heeded a calling to shift her energies to support children in the foster care system.
She quickly learned that the hardships these children experience are exacerbated by the crisis-level shortage of foster families. Each year, hundreds of kids are forced to sleep in government offices, hotels, psychiatric hospitals or shelters because there aren’t enough families available. Although not everyone is ready to become a foster parent, everyone can support children and families in the child welfare system and Ana is ready to help you find the way that’s right for you.
The challenges in the foster care system are too complex to be tackled by a single government agency or nonprofit organization. The key to a better foster care system is an engaged and collaborative community and Foster Community is working with individuals and partner organizations to make this vision a reality.
 
As stated in the TCCB website, the objective of the St. Joseph’s Ministry and Foster Community are the same and their intended impact can he enhanced by strategic collaboration. Both initiatives convey the message that the solution to the challenges faced by the youth in foster care lie within the community and all of us have a role to play in supporting youth in foster care.
 
In addition to broaden the St. Joseph’s Ministry visibility and reach, Foster Community 
can help parishioners navigate the complexities of the child welfare system.  Foster Community serves as the starting point and connects them with representatives from child welfare organizations. The Community Engagement Specialist helps removes barriers to involvement by offering practical ways to engage at different levels of involvement. Foster Community partners can provide guidance to parish leaders and parishioners as they try to discern their level of engagement. Below are some of the supports that Foster Community can provide:
 
Inclusive and culturally responsive engagement strategies tailor to the outreach needs of parishes in Central Texas
Coordination and facilitation of on-site presentations by partner organizations 
Support the implementation of the engagement strategies in the Parish Resource Guide and Toolkit
Promote the St, Joseph’s Ministry in Foster Community website and social media channels
Access to the services of Bilingual Community Engagement Specialist and bilingual resources 
Access to the child welfare data and trauma informed practices
 
Foster Community would like to collaborate with the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) and help promote the St. Joseph’s Ministry to raise awareness of the many ways Catholics can support children in foster care. 
 
A collaborative relationship between Foster Community and the TCCB would be mutually beneficial as our coordinated efforts would achieve greater impact. This impact would be measured by the number of individuals, families and parishioners becoming involved in supporting the youth in foster care. List of Foster Community Partners (as of February 2018)