Love Heals Youth

Love Heals Youth

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HAVE MERCY. HAVE GRACE.

Love Heals Youth is a nonprofit organization offering mental health services to foster youth that reside in group homes.

All of my counselors work with individuals that suffer horrific trauma. The stories that our clients share would seem unsurvivable, yet they are sitting right next to us and sharing their story.

Typically, our clients come to us because trouble seems to be lurking in most facets of their lives. Our foster youth are not “acting out” or making “bad choices” because they are bad kids. They are hurting. They have never learned how to share their feelings…most of the time, no one has even asked with intention.

The healing powers that come as you listen without judgement are far more impactful than any medication. The paradigm shift in a child’s life that occurs when they are finally able to feel loved and accepted is what feeds the soul of a therapist.

My challenge to each person that reads this is:

Don’t be fooled by the Facebook façade of the good life and ask a teenager or loved one what is troubling them. Press on if the response is “I’m fine.”

1. Listen with intention, not judgement

2. Imagine the profound hurt, isolation, loneliness, and worthlessness they must be experiencing. Then be mindful of the devastation your heart feels as you immerse yourself in their story.

3. Have mercy. Have grace. We are all children of God and his love is unwavering. God wants us to harbor love for others and forgive them for their sins.

Therapists enter the profession because they are profoundly empathetic and born to serve others. Over the years, I have seen how compassion and empathy can move mountains. When I hear an adult survivor of foster care utter “my therapist was the only one that ever believed in me.” My heart breaks because my brother or sister had a childhood filled with emptiness…my soul is fed because I’m reinforced to continue my journey, but my heart is broken.

Please share your stories, share Love Heals Youth, and help us raise awareness so we can give every child a village.

The nightly prayer of gratitude said in my home: “Dear God, Thank you for my family, thank you for my friends, thank you for my neighbors, bless everyone in the world. Amen”

We pray for all of you every single day. Please pray for our foster youth, your loved ones, and those that hurt in silence.
GUIDANCE NEEDED FOR FOSTER YOUTH SO THEY KNOW HOW YO ACCESS RESOURCES…then help with sustainability as the barriers are overwhelming when it comes to transportation, housing, finances etc.

TX: Texas Foster Youth Get Free College Tuition, but Nearly Half of the State's Eligible Students Don't Use It
Imprint - February 28, 2022
Findings produced by university researchers in Chicago who have long tracked foster youths' young-adult trajectory show that in the Midwest fewer than 3% graduate from a four-year university by age 26. Yet of all states, Texas has long been among the most willing to invest in foster youth interested in going to college, waiving tuition and requiring only minimal conditions of students who enroll with the subsidies. It's a surprising benefit in a state that has labored for more than a decade under pressure by the courts to improve its beleaguered foster care system. The tuition waiver program in Texas also has produced results for thousands of budding scholars: Recipients are 3.5 times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their foster care peers who attend college with no such support, according to a 2020 study. Why then, aren't more young people like Contreras taking advantage? Recent research findings reveal that even in a state with relatively generous tuition benefits available, the help too often doesn't reach those who could use it. According to researchers at Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, 60% of eligible foster youth enrolled in college utilize the tuition waivers.

Also: Report: Texas Foster Youth & Post-Secondary Education: https://bit.ly/3MasIul

Also: Report: Tuition Waiver Programs for Students with Experience in Foster Care: Policy and Practice
CHANGES IN LEGISLATION FOR CPS:

Judge Monique Diaz of the 150th District Court hears family and CPS cases. She is taking the time to educate the community about the changes in legislation and how these changes impact our children and families.

As a mental health professional that has worked with CPS cases for approximately 15 years, I’ve seen many cases that were frivolous and wasting tax dollars and time. I’ve seen cases that were in dire need of services and time, but were forsaken by the system. I’ve seen many children saved by the system and services. In a perfect world CPS would not exist, but that world doesn’t exist.

Texas has been in the media with harsh reports highlighting our failures. It’s time to take action and see the 11 year federal lawsuit end as we create a village to save our children. LOVE HEALS YOUTH is an organization that will help our Child Welfare exceed the minimum levels of care.

These legislative changes are long overdue with modifying the terms and definitions. We need “good enough parenting” so our children are able to stay with their family. The heightened threshold is designed to reduce the frivolous cases of “judicial kidnapping.”

It’s important to know and understand the child welfare data in each community. I encourage everyone to ask questions and check the facts that are stated in response to your questions.

KSAT reporter Courtney Friedman interviewed Judge Diaz and covered the legislative changes:

Several laws passed in September 2021 have an impact on the way CPS and child abuse cases are interpreted.

“The trend is with these legislative changes are heightened thresholds, heightened requirements of proof for judges, like me, to consider removal orders or protection orders,” said Judge Monique Diaz of the 150th District Court.

RESOURCES—

House Bill 567:
https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB567/2021

House Bill 3379:
https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB3379/2021

1 min 36 sec VIDEO:
It was such an honor to join you and I’m so grateful for the spotlight to raise awareness for our foster youth. It truly takes a village and all of our kids deserve the best!
MENTAL HEALTH IN FOSTER YOUTH DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCY

“The challenges facing children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral health are so dire that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health last fall. We thank and appreciate the Surgeon General for raising the youth mental health crisis as a priority public health challenge. As his advisory notes, this is not a problem we will fix overnight, but starting now, we can make a difference working together. We hope the advisory will encourage further, bold action by the administration such as a federal emergency declaration in children’s mental health.”
A huge THANK YOU to Republican Women of Greater Fish Creek for the incredible Valentine’s Day cards for our foster youth.

This act of kindness is simple yet HUGE!

Bringing little Valentine’s cards and gifts to school for friends is something many foster youth don’t get to do. This year, thanks to RWGFC, our kids will not be left out!! 💜💜💜

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for loving us!
FOSTER CARE IS 24/7/365

My job does not begin at 8am, nor does it end at 5pm. My job is not contained within the 5 day work week of Monday through Friday. When you’re a parent, your job is 24/7/365…and folks, WE are the parents of these foster children.

The state is the guardian. The elected officials make the rules, oversee the cases in the courts and hold the state accountable to ensure the children are actually being protected. The courts order services and expedite hearings and trials so the families can heal with the 1st goal and prayer is to return the children to their families.

…but is this actually happening?

Unlike the government officials that go to work and then go home, the foster children don’t just live in foster care 30 to 40 hours per week. When the the work day ends, they are still at risk and miserable.

When a court stops a hearing because the clock strikes 5pm, the children are still living in their worst nightmare as the professionals are able to return home and hug their family members.

There should be a sense of urgency to fix the broken child welfare system. Going on for 11 years in a federal lawsuit is disturbing.

When will the folks “in charge” be held accountable? When will immunity for entities reporting OR exacerbating frivolous lawsuits be overturned (our tax dollars are being wasted on unnecessary lawsuits AND lawsuits that have to restart due to deadlines being missed)? When will tax dollars, time and effort be properly designated to serve our children and families in foster care so they can access resources to help them get healthy? When will the government and all of the court rooms start caring about these kids as though they are their own?

A newly released report found a 4% decrease in child abuse-related deaths, but the overall data showed a 17% spike in the number of cases involving Black children. The report also indicated an 11% increase among babies born with prenatal substance exposure. Our children and families need our help.

Foster youth and CPS caseworkers are overwhelmed and need more support. The folks in the field, providing care are at the mercy of the officials and feel the trauma of the broken system along with the foster youth. Turnover is at an all time high, as is abuse of children. Who is going to stand up and help? This “problem” is massive and will take a long time to fix, but the starting point can be anywhere…the next step after we get started is simply putting 1 foot in front of the other so we can keep moving forward.

I understand the fact that we cannot save everyone, but “YOU BEGIN SAVING THE WORLD WHEN 1 PERSON IS SAVED!”

Through LOVE, we HEAL! Our counseling program will help foster care youth rewrite and repurpose their trials and tribulations so they can find acceptance for the present and find freedom from the past.

In time, LOVE will HEAL all wounds.

Operating as usual

03/10/2022

HAVE MERCY. HAVE GRACE.

Love Heals Youth is a nonprofit organization offering mental health services to foster youth that reside in group homes.

All of my counselors work with individuals that suffer horrific trauma. The stories that our clients share would seem unsurvivable, yet they are sitting right next to us and sharing their story.

Typically, our clients come to us because trouble seems to be lurking in most facets of their lives. Our foster youth are not “acting out” or making “bad choices” because they are bad kids. They are hurting. They have never learned how to share their feelings…most of the time, no one has even asked with intention.

The healing powers that come as you listen without judgement are far more impactful than any medication. The paradigm shift in a child’s life that occurs when they are finally able to feel loved and accepted is what feeds the soul of a therapist.

My challenge to each person that reads this is:

Don’t be fooled by the Facebook façade of the good life and ask a teenager or loved one what is troubling them. Press on if the response is “I’m fine.”

1. Listen with intention, not judgement

2. Imagine the profound hurt, isolation, loneliness, and worthlessness they must be experiencing. Then be mindful of the devastation your heart feels as you immerse yourself in their story.

3. Have mercy. Have grace. We are all children of God and his love is unwavering. God wants us to harbor love for others and forgive them for their sins.

Therapists enter the profession because they are profoundly empathetic and born to serve others. Over the years, I have seen how compassion and empathy can move mountains. When I hear an adult survivor of foster care utter “my therapist was the only one that ever believed in me.” My heart breaks because my brother or sister had a childhood filled with emptiness…my soul is fed because I’m reinforced to continue my journey, but my heart is broken.

Please share your stories, share Love Heals Youth, and help us raise awareness so we can give every child a village.

The nightly prayer of gratitude said in my home: “Dear God, Thank you for my family, thank you for my friends, thank you for my neighbors, bless everyone in the world. Amen”

We pray for all of you every single day. Please pray for our foster youth, your loved ones, and those that hurt in silence.

Texas Tuition Waiver Program is Generous, but Underused - The Imprint 03/09/2022

Texas Tuition Waiver Program is Generous, but Underused - The Imprint

GUIDANCE NEEDED FOR FOSTER YOUTH SO THEY KNOW HOW YO ACCESS RESOURCES…then help with sustainability as the barriers are overwhelming when it comes to transportation, housing, finances etc.

TX: Texas Foster Youth Get Free College Tuition, but Nearly Half of the State's Eligible Students Don't Use It
Imprint - February 28, 2022
Findings produced by university researchers in Chicago who have long tracked foster youths' young-adult trajectory show that in the Midwest fewer than 3% graduate from a four-year university by age 26. Yet of all states, Texas has long been among the most willing to invest in foster youth interested in going to college, waiving tuition and requiring only minimal conditions of students who enroll with the subsidies. It's a surprising benefit in a state that has labored for more than a decade under pressure by the courts to improve its beleaguered foster care system. The tuition waiver program in Texas also has produced results for thousands of budding scholars: Recipients are 3.5 times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their foster care peers who attend college with no such support, according to a 2020 study. Why then, aren't more young people like Contreras taking advantage? Recent research findings reveal that even in a state with relatively generous tuition benefits available, the help too often doesn't reach those who could use it. According to researchers at Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, 60% of eligible foster youth enrolled in college utilize the tuition waivers.

Also: Report: Texas Foster Youth & Post-Secondary Education: https://bit.ly/3MasIul

Also: Report: Tuition Waiver Programs for Students with Experience in Foster Care: Policy and Practice

Texas Tuition Waiver Program is Generous, but Underused - The Imprint Many Texans who were in foster care qualify for a college tuition waiver, but nearly half of the eligible students don't use it.

New child abuse laws change the way judges rule in court 02/24/2022

New child abuse laws change the way judges rule in court

CHANGES IN LEGISLATION FOR CPS:

Judge Monique Diaz of the 150th District Court hears family and CPS cases. She is taking the time to educate the community about the changes in legislation and how these changes impact our children and families.

As a mental health professional that has worked with CPS cases for approximately 15 years, I’ve seen many cases that were frivolous and wasting tax dollars and time. I’ve seen cases that were in dire need of services and time, but were forsaken by the system. I’ve seen many children saved by the system and services. In a perfect world CPS would not exist, but that world doesn’t exist.

Texas has been in the media with harsh reports highlighting our failures. It’s time to take action and see the 11 year federal lawsuit end as we create a village to save our children. LOVE HEALS YOUTH is an organization that will help our Child Welfare exceed the minimum levels of care.

These legislative changes are long overdue with modifying the terms and definitions. We need “good enough parenting” so our children are able to stay with their family. The heightened threshold is designed to reduce the frivolous cases of “judicial kidnapping.”

It’s important to know and understand the child welfare data in each community. I encourage everyone to ask questions and check the facts that are stated in response to your questions.

KSAT reporter Courtney Friedman interviewed Judge Diaz and covered the legislative changes:

Several laws passed in September 2021 have an impact on the way CPS and child abuse cases are interpreted.

“The trend is with these legislative changes are heightened thresholds, heightened requirements of proof for judges, like me, to consider removal orders or protection orders,” said Judge Monique Diaz of the 150th District Court.

RESOURCES—

House Bill 567:
https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB567/2021

House Bill 3379:
https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB3379/2021

1 min 36 sec VIDEO:

New child abuse laws change the way judges rule in court On the heels of two child deaths in San Antonio, allegedly from abuse, KSAT is taking a look at new laws passed last year that affect abuse and Child Protective Services cases.

02/24/2022

It was such an honor to join you and I’m so grateful for the spotlight to raise awareness for our foster youth. It truly takes a village and all of our kids deserve the best!

02/18/2022

www.aacap.org

MENTAL HEALTH IN FOSTER YOUTH DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCY

“The challenges facing children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral health are so dire that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health last fall. We thank and appreciate the Surgeon General for raising the youth mental health crisis as a priority public health challenge. As his advisory notes, this is not a problem we will fix overnight, but starting now, we can make a difference working together. We hope the advisory will encourage further, bold action by the administration such as a federal emergency declaration in children’s mental health.”

www.aacap.org

Photos from Love Heals Youth's post 02/12/2022

A huge THANK YOU to Republican Women of Greater Fish Creek for the incredible Valentine’s Day cards for our foster youth.

This act of kindness is simple yet HUGE!

Bringing little Valentine’s cards and gifts to school for friends is something many foster youth don’t get to do. This year, thanks to RWGFC, our kids will not be left out!! 💜💜💜

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for loving us!

Child Abuse Fatalities Were On The Rise During The Height Of The Pandemic 02/04/2022

Child Abuse Fatalities Were On The Rise During The Height Of The Pandemic

FOSTER CARE IS 24/7/365

My job does not begin at 8am, nor does it end at 5pm. My job is not contained within the 5 day work week of Monday through Friday. When you’re a parent, your job is 24/7/365…and folks, WE are the parents of these foster children.

The state is the guardian. The elected officials make the rules, oversee the cases in the courts and hold the state accountable to ensure the children are actually being protected. The courts order services and expedite hearings and trials so the families can heal with the 1st goal and prayer is to return the children to their families.

…but is this actually happening?

Unlike the government officials that go to work and then go home, the foster children don’t just live in foster care 30 to 40 hours per week. When the the work day ends, they are still at risk and miserable.

When a court stops a hearing because the clock strikes 5pm, the children are still living in their worst nightmare as the professionals are able to return home and hug their family members.

There should be a sense of urgency to fix the broken child welfare system. Going on for 11 years in a federal lawsuit is disturbing.

When will the folks “in charge” be held accountable? When will immunity for entities reporting OR exacerbating frivolous lawsuits be overturned (our tax dollars are being wasted on unnecessary lawsuits AND lawsuits that have to restart due to deadlines being missed)? When will tax dollars, time and effort be properly designated to serve our children and families in foster care so they can access resources to help them get healthy? When will the government and all of the court rooms start caring about these kids as though they are their own?

A newly released report found a 4% decrease in child abuse-related deaths, but the overall data showed a 17% spike in the number of cases involving Black children. The report also indicated an 11% increase among babies born with prenatal substance exposure. Our children and families need our help.

Foster youth and CPS caseworkers are overwhelmed and need more support. The folks in the field, providing care are at the mercy of the officials and feel the trauma of the broken system along with the foster youth. Turnover is at an all time high, as is abuse of children. Who is going to stand up and help? This “problem” is massive and will take a long time to fix, but the starting point can be anywhere…the next step after we get started is simply putting 1 foot in front of the other so we can keep moving forward.

I understand the fact that we cannot save everyone, but “YOU BEGIN SAVING THE WORLD WHEN 1 PERSON IS SAVED!”

Child Abuse Fatalities Were On The Rise During The Height Of The Pandemic Child abuse cases were on the rise during the first several months of the pandemic, a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows.

As Brazos County notices demand for child sex trafficking, task force is created 01/28/2022

As Brazos County notices demand for child sex trafficking, task force is created

FOSTER CARE & HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING

The DA’s office and other entities in Bryan/College Station had growing concerns about sex trafficking in their area. If they have concerns, OUR CONCERNS SHOULD BE EVEN GREATER! One of the major issues that contributes to the “market” of this horrific crime is “Brazos Valley's proximity to Houston, a major trafficking hub,..”

Unlike Bryan/College Station, Montgomery County is a contiguous county to Harris, A MAJOR TRAFFICKING HUB!

This means your children, my children, and especially, our FOSTER CHILDREN are in grave danger!

TX: As Brazos County notices demand for child sex trafficking, task force is created (Includes video)

KRHD - January 26, 2022

Within Brazos County, the youngest sex trafficking victim recently served by advocacy nonprofit Unbound, was just 12 years old. Unbound of Bryan-College Station has assisted a total of 54 people identified as victims of human trafficking in Aggieland. Unfortunately, where there is a demand for human trafficking, there will be some supply. And based on research by the Brazos County district attorney, the market is here. The protocols have been written up and finalized.

Strategic Plan: Charting an End to Human Trafficking in Texas: https://bit.ly/34gMAKZ

As Brazos County notices demand for child sex trafficking, task force is created Within Brazos County, the youngest sex trafficking victim recently served by advocacy nonprofit Unbound, was just 12 years old.

01/22/2022

What a great talk with my friend Marlise Stripling as we explored options for Love Heals Youth to support another group home with our free counseling services 💜

01/19/2022

THE TURNOVER CRISIS

I’m sure you’ve heard “kids are resilient.” It’s true, but only because they have no other option but to live in whatever situation they are forced into by whichever adults are serving as their caregivers. As the adults, it’s our job to ensure they are safe and well cared for…to love on them and treat them like the blessing that they are.

Children are a gift from God; they are a real blessing. Psalm 127:3

We know that children need stability to truly thrive. Unfortunately, when children are removed from the abuse and instability, they find themselves in more abuse and instability.

People who rely on government for vital services can easily suffer when the person they were dealing with on Monday has changed by Friday. Consider turnover among child welfare case workers who are helping to establish secure family situations for children who have been temporarily removed from their homes. When case workers leave their jobs, there can be a devastating impact on children and families who need help.

Turnover has been a serious problem in the child welfare field for many years. On average, turnover rates are between 20% and 40%. However, there’s been an outcry from agencies everywhere and calls for help because as bad as it was before, it’s worse now.

Our children in the foster care are at the mercy of the system. We need a huge overhaul in the process from family planning to referrals for resources to the leadership from our courts. Our foster youth need help! LOVE HEALS YOUTH cannot resolve all of the issues that exist in our broken system, but we can certainly be there for our children to ensure they have psychological and emotional support. When no one else is going to visit our children, LOVE HEALS YOUTH is still there! We want to serve every group home across our great state…but we need help finding more centers because the database maintained by the state is also broken and can’t locate the placements.

Please help us raise awareness by following our page, liking our posts, and inviting others to join this mission.

You are a child of God. You are wonderfully made, dearly loved and precious in His sight. Psalm 139

#pray #prayer #DearGod
#RecoveryIsPossible #NoOneFightsAlone #FosterKids #FosterYouth #ItTakesAVillage #WeAllNeedFamily #YouBelong #Love #LoveHealsYou #LoveHealsYouth
#CCMC #Therapy #WeCare

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212 Conroe Drive
Conroe, TX
77301

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 4pm
Wednesday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 2pm

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