FALL 2021 GRANT ROUND 1ST RECIPIENT: MIRACLE FOUNDATION

grant announcement

for December 1st, 2021

We are excited to announce our 1st Fall 2021 Grant Round Recipient!

Thanks to our generous donor community, Miracle Foundation is receiving a $25,000 grant to help with the work in supporting efforts of unaccompanied children at the Texas/Mexico border!

Miracle Foundation has the mission to empower orphans and vulnerable children to reach their full potential. In 2019, Miracle began a new initiative to connect the US Foster Care System and began partnership with Texas Alliance for Child & Family Services. In April 2021, we began working closely with TACFS on border work and unaccompanied children (UC). As of 10-18-21, there were 10,894 with 80+% having a parent or relative sponsor (per US Health & Human Service). Of that 5,000-6,000 UC are in Texas The overall goal is prompt and safe reunification of the child with family. Miracle has the position of serving as a solution-oriented organization, identifying and addressing the needs of domestic and unaccompanied foster children and reunifying children with their families.

The Need:There was a critical need for the social workforce to unite and offer support and recommendations to the overburdened system. TACFS was primarily focusing on equipping Texas child welfare providers to house UC. Miracle came forward to provide a .5 FTE staff member to serve as administrative support for TACFS. Miracle supports TACFS with conveying information regarding applications and requirements for providers to get licensed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (Federal agency that oversees UC shelter providers). Unfortunately, much of the work has been halted due to a proclamation by the Texas Governor to revoke licensing for providers serving UC – which puts the providers at risk of not being able to operate. Miracle serves as a clearinghouse for information and has mapped the ecosystem to aid with the many complexities. This includes difficulties such as the fact that the Federal Government issues the directives and the State Government is responsible for executing the laws. As UC are entering the U.S., Miracle is committed to their safety and integration into family care. Serving as a key collaborator with TACFS is an opportunity for Miracle to enhance learnings on; U.S. Foster Care, determine where existing gaps lie, as well as determining the long term role Miracle can provide. Miracle has produced several reports to assist the efforts including ; Unaccompanied Child Journey in Texas and Foster Care Mapping.

The Solution: With the provision of staff support to TACFS, Miracle serves as a key partner to build capacity of those working in the child protection space on the border. Funding from Legacy Collective will allow the provision of a staff ( with time and expertise) to assist with ensuring outcomes including:

  • Agencies in Texas that are caring for UC are more connected.
  • UC partner agencies have access to critical and time sensitive information in a timely manner.
  • Delays in the system have been reduced such as lack of communication and duplication of efforts between different agencies – which will assist with children to get with families sooner.
  • Children have swift access to quality care. Once the UC are in ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) custody, children should be placed in licensed facilities or foster homes versus unlicensed/ emergency shelters such as Fort Bliss in El Paso (repeatedly called the worst emergency facility).
  • If UC are in emergency facilities, youth will be provided the same level of care in licensed facilities.
  • Smaller caseworker to child ratios, access to education, food and health/ mental health services.
  • To help be the bridge between the Federal and State levels.
  • Children can be placed with both sponsor and foster families quicker with a more effective/ efficient process through the system. Specifically in Texas, the impact will resonate with both the domestic foster care system and the UC program. While policies and programming for the two systems are separate, recent challenges have led many to conclude that the domestic system is suffering due to an influx of unaccompanied children. A true impact will be one that reduces the burden on both systems and creates a space where knowledge and best practices can be shared amongst providers. Some providers serve both unaccompanied children and domestic children even though facilities for both populations have to be separate. Providers will be less burdened regarding case loads, lack of communication, and resource shortages. Youth in the system will feel that their voices are heard, they are cared for and safe while awaiting reunification, and that their best interest is prioritized.

At Miracle Foundation we use data to drive our decisions and ensure all children thrive. Miracle’s Child First approach is multi- faceted, collaborative and community based. Miracle utilizes the power of data to create real, sustainable change. Over 80% of children have sponsors in the U.S. Prioritizing these children to be placed with their families/sponsors and using technology assists in ensuring that families have the community resources and support to thrive once their children are with them.

Utilizing Miracle Foundation’s customized FosterShare™ App – we will be able to connect the US Foster Care System. FosterShare ™ helps foster children thrive by delivering streamlined communication and support for all foster families and by engaging the communities who surround them.

Miracle is collaborating with partner agencies, knowledge partners, data scientists, social workers and foster families in a pilot currently in 5 Texas cities with a current net promoter score over 9 (out of 10).

Miracle is a presenting sponsor at the upcoming TACFS conference in November where FosterShare™ will be introduced to over 600 partners in the child protection domain. FosterShare™ will be launched throughout the state of Texas in January 2022.

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