Did you know that we run a quarterly newsletter? The Circular is full of tips for foster parents, celebrations of adoptions and milestones, and information on events and trainings near you! Click the image below to read the latest issue, and don’t forget to subscribe so you can stay in the loop!
This is Yancy, one of our foster kids in the Houston area. She came into care struggling in school and speaking minimal English. Her grades were suffering and her periodic behavior challenges warranted her a high level care. With the perseverance of the Mayo family and especially Yancy herself, she now holds a high school diploma and has begun taking classes at the San Jacinto community college to study child development. She was able to turn her education around and graduated in May of this year. In addition, her excellent grades and dramatically improved behavior qualified her for the Circles of Care car program which provided her with $4,000 toward the car she is seen with as well as her first six months of car insurance. She intends to use this vehicle to further her education by conducting observations at various daycare facilities as well as attending her classes and her place of employment. Yancy had a serious mountain to climb when she first came into care, and her future is incredibly bright. Way to go, Yancy!
Look for her in the upcoming annual report!
As the weather continues to heat up, we all must be reminded of the potential dangers of pools, water, and swimming and how to keep children safe as they enjoy these fun recreational activities. Swimming is one of the best ways to keep cool during the summer especially here in beautifully hot and sunny Texas. Remember to supervise children as they play in the water, never leave them alone in a pool or other body of water, and be vigilant. Also keep in mind that it is more than just pools and other swimming locations which can pose a risk to children; bathtubs, open septic tanks, even a large bucket can be dangerous. A child can drown in only a few inches of water in just a few short minutes. In addition, older children can be just as at risk as younger. Last year, 75 children drowned in Texas alone, eleven of them over the age of twelve. Read on for tips from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to help make 2016 safer for children everywhere.
Standard 749.3137 states: if four or more children are engaged in swimming activities, then there must be at least two adults to supervise the children.
Standard 749.3147 states: a hot tub must be covered with a locking cover when not in use.
Standard 749.3141 states: a child must wear a life jacket during all boating activities, the child is in more than two feet of water and does not know how to swim, and/or if it is ordered by a physician.
Standard 749.3135 states: if children are allowed to swim in a body of water such as a river, creek, pond, or lake, the supervising adult must clearly designate swimming areas.
Click below for access to the DFPS Minimum Standards where you can find the complete rules and regulations regarding children and swimming:
You may also click below for access to the DFPS website Watch Kids Around Water where you will find more helpful safety tips and Lifeguard 101:
Swimming is a fun, healthy recreational activity. We encourage allowing children in your care to play in the water and enjoy their summer as much as possible. Talk with your kids about water safety and what plans you have in place in the event of an accident or emergency, and as long as you keep these tips in mind and stay vigilant, all of our children can stay happy and safe.
Check out this great video on adoption and the remarkable Dennehy family. They have adopted children from all over the world, many of them with special needs, to complete their family.
For more information, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CirclesOfCare or www.facebook.com/ILikeGiving
We are very pleased to announce that Circles of Care has been awarded accreditation through CARF International, a non-profit, independent accreditor of health and human services established in 1966. Agencies are granted accreditation periods ranging from one to three years based on performance, and we are thrilled with the commencement of our three-year award. CARF will assist our agency to improve the quality of services we deliver, demonstrate the value we provide to the communities we serve, and aid us in meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards. This achievement underscores our commitment to excellence and quality and our motivation to succeed and improve as we work to help children in need all across Texas.
Throughout the survey process, the CARF staff expressed their astonishment with Circles of Care’s preparation and dedication to excellence. They were impressed with the great detail of our records and policies and with our effort to deliver the best possible care to the children we serve. Moving forward, we will continue to work with CARF to ensure we deliver peak services for our clients.
Of course, a special thank you is due our care providers, staff, and stakeholders who sat down with the CARF team to discuss our organization and the services they have received. We truly appreciate the time you took to aid us in achieving this milestone and speaking on behalf of Circles of Care. Each of our program directors worked hard to ensure their program area was up to par for CARF’s arrival, and none worked harder than Summer Solomon, program director of our Rio Grande Valley office, who headed up our accreditation team. We hope to continue to make all of you proud of our agency in the future.
We are very excited about this landmark in our history. We are excited to work with CARF and all of our foster homes to better the agency, better the children we serve, and better the State of Texas.
For more information on CARF, please visit http://www.carf.org/home/
For updates on our accreditation and other activities, check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CirclesOfCare
Summer is approaching quickly, and we would like everyone to keep a few things in mind:
As many of us know, the summer months in Texas can at times be unbearable with the heat. In order to beat the heat and to have some fun, many families head to the lake, community pool, or other body of water for a quick cool down. With many statewide news outlets reporting child drowning every year, we would like to ensure that all everyone understand the importance of child safety in or around any body of water. Just in the state of Texas, more than fifteen children drowned last year. More than half of the children were five years old or younger, and all but three were under the age of ten. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Houston area is typically a hot spot for child drowning deaths, but last year the Dallas-Fort Worth area had the most child drowning deaths with four. In Texas last year, four children have drowned in bath tubs (29%), three in pools (21%), and two in ponds (14%). Other locations include a river, a lake, a creek, and a septic tank. Children under the age of one most often drown inside the house. Older children most often drown outdoors. Outdoors, children most often drown in pools, especially backyard and apartment pools. Most young children who drown in pools were out of sight less than five minutes and were in the care of one or both parents at the time. Indoors, the bathtub is the most dangerous location. These awful incidents can happen anywhere, so it is important to never lose vigilance.
When around water, keep children in eyesight and within reach at all times!
It is imperative that a child receives supervision anytime they are participating in activities in or around water. Make sure that there is always at least one parent or responsible guardian nearby or two or more if they are supervising a group of children playing in the water. Remember to bring life jackets for everyone when on boats and for children who may not know how to swim in deeper water; a child must know how to swim in more than two feet of water or they need a life jacket. If necessary, consult with the child’s pediatrician to make sure it is safe for them to swim or play in the water.
Another high profile topic in the media every year is the deaths of children left in hot vehicle in the summer months. Even on a mild day, a child trapped in a hot car can die of a heat stroke or hyperthermia in just minutes. On average, 38 children die in the U.S. each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. What is most tragic is that all of these deaths are completely preventable!
Heat exhaustion can occur at temperatures above 90 degrees and heat stroke can occur when temperatures rise above 105 degrees. When a child is enclosed in a hot car, the child loses body fluids and salts through sweating, causing heat exhaustion. If not treated immediately, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. In heat stroke, a child can no longer sweat. The body temperature rises to deadly levels leading to severe damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys or even death. Keep in mind that a car is basically a metal box. The hot sun can turn this metal box into an oven. Nobody would ever consider leaving a child in an oven. When the outside temperature is 93 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and 140 degrees in 40 minutes even if a window is cracked open. A car parked in direct sunlight can reach 131- 172 degrees Fahrenheit, even after only fifteen minutes. At that temperature, it only takes a matter of minutes for children to die or suffer permanent disability. (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 1999).
There are three simple things you can do to ensure that all children safely exit the vehicle after every trip:
Never leave a child alone in a vehicle.
Make it a habit to look in every seat every time before you exit the vehicle.
Always lock the vehicle and put the keys out of reach of children.
If you see a child alone in a car, do not hesitate to contact the authorities for help. It could save a life!
The summer is a fun, relaxing time. Children are out of school, parents take vacations, and the weather is beautiful. These tragedies are preventable as long as we are vigilant.
For more information on heat and water safety, you may visit the following websites:
Stay safe out there from all of us at Circles of Care!
Circles of Care is proud to announce that we are spearheading a new community coalition to address child and family issues all across South Texas from Corpus Christi to Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. Composed of private child care providers like Circles of Care, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, CASA, the Juvenile Justice Department, counselors and therapists, schools, police, and pediatricians, the coalition will focus on issues to eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation, family conflict, truancy, and other familial challenges and increase community and family welfare for the region. Needs will be addressed within the scope of social and mental health services, and each unique organization will bring its original ideas to the discussion. The coalition will work as a unit to examine proposals and develop effective solutions to child and family obstacles.
The coalition has begun formation as Circles of Care has reached out to its partners, both new and longstanding, for recruitment of members. We seek an active and diverse team, familiar with the needs of the region culturally, economically, and socially and with the skills to address those needs and uncover new ones. The first meeting, as yet unscheduled, is approaching, and the coalition will meet quarterly thereafter. Meetings will include input from all facets of the communities involved, determine new strategies, and evaluate current strategies for effectiveness.
We are very excited about the potential for this new coalition. Stay tuned here for updates on its progress.
Circles of Care would like to extend a thank you to everyone who attended our presentation on child abuse Attention Deficit Disorder on April 23, 2015. Kiko’s restaurant on Everhart Road was kind enough to host us and provide a fine meal for all in attendance. Dr. Bain, pictured below presenting, offered valuable information on child abuse and ADD including new research, behaviors, and coping skills. The presentation began with the topic of abuse and covered warning signs, coping mechanisms, behavior management, and reporting before segueing into the topic of Attention Deficit Disorder in children. The audience included representatives from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, CASA, the Juvenile Justice Department, women’s shelters, and area school districts. Not only was the information presented immeasurably valuable to these child care workers, but it also gave the organizations in attendance an opportunity to meet and network with one another in the development of a cohesive support system for child welfare.
Thank you to everyone who made it. We look forward to seeing you at our next presentation.
We are hosting a very special event on our Facebook page. Visit today and hit “Like” on our page to be entered into a drawing for fun prizes. Click “Share” on the event post, and you can be entered a second time! Multiple winners will be chosen for gift cards, cash prizes, and theater tickets just in time to check out the summer blockbuster “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Check it out before May 8 for your chance to win!
Enter at www.facebook.com/CirclesOfCare
April is Water Safety Month!
Warm weather is quickly approaching and water is a great way to beat the Texas heat. Water Safety Month exists to create water safety awareness and prevent water-related injuries and deaths. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among infants, toddlers, and young children so we want to remind you to keep an extra close eye on kids around the water.
You play an important role in preventing future tragedies. In 2014 seventy-three children drowned in Texas. The deadliest period for drowning (Memorial Day through Labor Day) is about to begin and seven children have drowned in Texas so far in 2015. The best water safety assurance comes from adopting and consistently practicing as many water safety measures as possible. Develop your own safety plan around pools, ponds, lakes, the ocean, and other bodies of water, and review it with your family. Everyone should know your safety plan and practice it regularly.
Be a “lifeguard” and help protect children from drowning indoors and outdoors. Drowning can happen in almost any amount of water, and it only takes a few minutes for a child to drown. Children under a year old most often drown inside the house (bathtubs, buckets, or toilets). Children from one to four-years old most often drown outdoors, especially in backyard swimming pools.
Keep these things in mind while you and your family are cooling off in the water this year. We want everyone to have a safe and happy summer!
This post adapted from a notice by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.