Presbyterian Agencies Form Network to Collectively Serve 6,700 At-Risk Children and Families

Austin, Texas—February 26, 2013—Austin-based nonprofit agency Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) and St. Louis-based Children’s Foundation of Mid-America (CFMA) today announced the formation of a network serving at-risk children and families.

The purpose of the affiliation is to improve services for clients of both agencies by enhancing internal systems, allocating scarce resources more efficiently and providing services to an ever-growing population of at-risk children and families. PCHAS and CFMA, both independent non-profit agencies, began discussing the possibility of forming a network one year ago.

“We want to make the world a better place for as many needy children and families as possible,” said Ed Knight, PCHAS’ President and CEO. “After many discussions, meetings and planning sessions, PCHAS’ and CFMA’s leadership concluded the two agencies would benefit each other by working closely together to serve more children and families. What began as a conversation related to problems brought on by the pressure of a poor economy and made worse by funding limitations of the state –mandated managed care environment in Missouri, for example –became an opportunity for growth and expansion. Together with CFMA, we will serve more than 6,700 children and families in three states.”

The two agencies found they could work smarter if they worked together. The agreement is different from a merger in that each organization will continue to operate as distinctly separate non-profit organizations with their own boards, by-laws and budgets. However, significant cost savings are being realized through economies of scale related to employee benefits and by combining administrative functions.

“We are very excited about affiliating with another well-respected Presbyterian-related organization. Thousands of children and families are in critical need of the services we provide. In the face of high unemployment and financial instability, many families are at risk of breaking apart and need our family preservation services. For many others, circumstances are so dire that our residential care programs are needed to offer a safe and therapeutic respite,” said Knight.

Four representatives of the PCHAS Board of Trustees, including Knight, will join the CFMA Board of Directors and three representatives of CFMA’s Board will join the PCHAS Board of Trustees. Knight will serve as President of the CFMA Board of Directors.

The CFMA Board has elected to do business as Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Missouri, thereby reclaiming its Presbyterian roots. (CFMA was formally known as Presbyterian Children’s Services). The combined network of organizations will be called Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Texas, Missouri and Louisiana.

 “Each year, nearly 500,000 children are temporarily or permanently removed from their parents’ care for reasons such as neglect, abandonment and abuse,” said Robert Giegling, Executive Director of PCHAS of Missouri. “Some of these children require intensive therapeutic treatment. Each child deserves the opportunity to receive the help he or she needs to achieve a better future. Together as part of the PCHAS network, we will be able to provide hope and healing to more children than ever before.”

Since 1903, PCHAS of Texas and Louisiana has been providing Christ-centered services for children and families in need.  Its continuum of care includes foster care, adoption, education, family preservation, group homes for children and support for struggling single parents. PCHAS of Texas and Louisiana’s programs serve more than 4,500 children and families each year.

Like its sister agency to the south, PCHAS of Missouri has provided hope and healing to children and families since 1914.  Since the agency’s beginnings as an orphanage in Farmington, Missouri, it has grown into a state-wide organization offering a continuum of care that includes residential treatment, counseling, therapeutic mentoring, intensive in-home therapy and foster care. Its programs serve more than 2,200 children and families in need each year.

Success of PCHAS of Texas and Louisiana Programs

Statistics related to academic performance paint a picture of success for the children in PCHAS of Texas and Louisiana’s care. In the 2011-2012 school year, for example:

  • 85 percent of all children in our Texas Group Homes passed their high school courses
  • 100 percent of PCHAS seniors received their high school diplomas; of these, 71 percent enrolled in college

Last spring, when they took the Texas Education Agency’s “exit level TAKS test,” the results were impressive. For example,

  • 92 percent of the students in our Texas Group Homes met the 2012 standard on the exit-evel TAKS test, while only 85 percent of all Texas students met the 2012 standard on this test
  • Of the PCHAS students who passed the exit level TAKS test, 58 percent earned “commended” scores (as opposed to “met standard” scores)
  • A full 17 percent of PCHAS students received commended scores on all “exit level” subjects

In addition to providing love and support to children, PCHAS of Texas and Louisiana serves single parents via two successful programs—the agency’s Single Parent Family Programs—in Weatherford, TX and Waxahachie, TX. Each home serves up to four single mothers and their children at a time.  The families stay in the program from six to 18 months. To date, these two homes have served 40 single mothers and their children. The statistics paint a picture of success:

  • 91 percent of the program’s “graduates” moved into their own apartments
  • 82 percent left with a savings account
  • 80 percent left in their own cars
  • 36 percent enrolled in higher education

Success of PCHAS of Missouri Programs

According to The Center for Sex Offender Management, 25 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys in the United States are sexually abused sometime during their childhood years. Sadly, more than 35 percent of PCHAS of Missouri clients were victims of sexual abuse before they came into the agency’s care.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that seven percent of children aged 12 to 17 have either abused drugs or are dependent upon drugs or alcohol. Of the children in PCHAS of Missouri’s care, 30 percent entered the agency’s programs with a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Because they have suffered from physical abuse, neglect, drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse before they came into PCHAS of Missouri’s care, most of the children in the agency’s residential treatment centers are severely emotionally disturbed. For many of these children, PCHAS of Missouri is their only hope, as there are very few residential treatment centers equipped to care for them.  PCHAS of Missouri’s programs give these children the treatment they need to transform their lives. The statistics paint a picture of PCHAS of Missouri’s success. For example, more than 80 percent of clients served in 2012 were:

  • placed with a loving parent, another relative or guardian
  • adopted by a loving family
  • moved to a transitional living program where they will learn to successfully live on their own

PCHAS of Missouri is a founding member of the Missouri Alliance, which is comprised of eight organizations that manage Missouri’s foster care program.  During 2012, PCHAS of Missouri exceeded the state’s goals—the agency found safe, permanent homes for 146 children. Of these children, 58 percent were reunited with family members. Most of these family members underwent training or treatment of their own. The remaining children were either adopted or placed with permanent guardians—often a family member such as an aunt or grandparent.

In 2012, PCHAS of Missouri provided more than 2,000 hours of either individual counseling or group therapy. In addition, PCHAS of Missouri provided more than 40,000 hours of “therapeutic mentoring” to children. The mentors who participate in the agency’s nationally-known therapeutic mentoring program undergo extensive training provided by masters-degree-level social workers. The social workers teach the mentors, who are paid for their services, how to create a therapeutic treatment plan for each child—a plan that helps him or her learn skills that lead to better decision-making and improved relationships at home and school. Thanks to the treatment they receive, the children who participate in the therapeutic mentoring program are less likely to drop out of school.

For more information about Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Texas, Missouri and Louisiana, please contact:

Margaret Barry
Director of Communications
Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Texas, Missouri and Louisiana
512.476.124 or 800.888.1904 (extension 18)