Posts By: Sondra Lehmann

What Does the Families First Prevention Services Act Mean for Youth and Providers?

By Katherine Barillas, PhD, TNOYS’ Director of Child Welfare Policy The challenges of Texas’ child welfare system have received a lot of attention and many leaders and service providers have been hard at work to find solutions to address them.  At the federal level, a new wave of reform presented itself with the Families First Prevention… Read more »

Updates from Members, State Agencies and TNOYS Staff Shared at Winter Member Meeting

TNOYS always welcomes opportunities to bring our members together to learn, network, and have fun. Yesterday’s Winter Member Meeting was a great chance to do that, as we hosted nearly 50 members from across the state who heard from state executives, TNOYS staff and each other about new developments in youth and family services. Click here… Read more »

Member Spotlight: Promise House

  Promise House has been serving homeless youth in North Texas for over thirty years, providing life-saving emergency shelter, transitional housing, pregnant and parenting teen support, counseling, education and outreach services. This past year has been one of significant growth for the organization. While developing their strategic plan almost three years ago, Promise House identified… Read more »

Meet Dr. Katherine Barillas, TNOYS’ New Director of Child Welfare Policy

Policy advocacy is an incredibly important piece of TNOYS’ three-pronged approach to strengthen, support, and protect critical services for Texas youth and their families. In fact, we were so busy working to advance our legislative agenda during the 85th Texas Legislative Session last year, it became clear that we needed more hands to help achieve… Read more »

How SAFE CARES is Saving Lives

By Guest Blogger Antwon Martin, Communications Coordinator at Austin-based TNOYS member organization SAFE SAFE CARES had only been around for a few months when Mariann arrived at our drop-in center for survivors of sex trafficking. At the time, she was reeling from a recent sexual assault and was still being trafficked. Mariann is one of… Read more »

Seclusion & Restraint Reduction Leadership Group Celebrates Culmination of Environmental Scan

Reducing seclusion and restraint practices in youth services is a priority for TNOYS because it is so important to preventing re-traumatization of youth who have experienced abuse or neglect. Since 2014, TNOYS has been coordinating the statewide Seclusion & Restraint Reduction Leadership Group, initially established by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, which brings together stakeholders across… Read more »

Member Spotlight: Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives

Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives (RMYA) has been operating in the San Antonio area for over 40 years, with the aim of helping youth recover from the trauma of abuse and integrate back into the community so they can lead healthy and productive lives. The organization has grown with the San Antonio community and its needs… Read more »

New Youth Homelessness Report Receives Widespread Attention

Last week, TNOYS and Texas Appleseed released the most comprehensive study to date on the issue of youth homelessness in Texas. “Young, Alone and Homeless in the Lone Star State” sheds light on the situation of youth experiencing homelessness in our state, and also provides recommendations on policies that can help them. The report has… Read more »


The Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) has requested that TNOYS collect information on the current needs of foster youth, provider organizations, foster families, and other related entities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding. If you have been impacted, please send your name, contact information, and a list of current needs —… Read more »