How to help Texas’ child welfare and youth service programs impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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This post is being updated continuously as we receive new information. For TNOYS’ initial response to Hurricane Harvey with information on how to access our network for support, please see our Executive Director’s Aug. 28 email here.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated many areas of Texas with both the initial storm and subsequent flooding. Many youth service organizations in TNOYS’ membership have been right in the path of the disaster, and they are working with Child Protective Services and other governmental entities to evacuate the children and youth in their care to safe locations. Texans are fortunate to have a strong network of supportive organizations across the state that have been stepping up in this time of need.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has asked TNOYS to help gather information about foster care youth, caregivers, and organizations that have outstanding needs related to the storm. Please contact us if you have relevant information — see more here on how to reach out.

In case you are able to provide other support to organizations impacted by Hurricane Harvey during this difficult time, or if you are just looking for updates, we have compiled the following information:

Organizations in Houston and the Gulf area:

  • Covenant House Texas, which operates an emergency shelter in Houston, has not turned anyone away who needs shelter and their staff are working around the clock to keep the 70 youth under their roof safe. They have provided on their Facebook page a list of supplies they need and information on how to volunteer to help out. Financial support is also appreciated during this time — you can donate here.
  • The Salvation Army of Houston has posted a link for people to submit requests to volunteer with their Houston-area response efforts. They are also requesting monetary donations to support their response to Hurricane Harvey. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on their response efforts.
  • Star of Hope Mission, an emergency shelter and transitional living center located in Houston, reported that it has continued to care for over 1,000 homeless men, women and children in the Houston area throughout the devastation caused by the hurricane. Its downtown Men’s Development Center is still hosting a number of evacuees from the street and under bridges, in addition to regular clients seeking shelter and recovery programs. Click here to donate to Star of Hope Mission to help in its efforts to house people in need during this disaster, or order items from an Amazon wish list it set up for critically needed supplies.
  • Connections Individual and Family Services, which provides counseling and residential youth services to Texans in 18 rural counties, has been housing youth from its shelter on the coast at its New Braunfels location for the past several days. They have reported that the evacuees from the coast will be returning home soon. You can support Connections by mailing a check to P.O. Box 311268, New Braunfels, TX  78131.
  • Montgomery County Youth Services, located in Conroe, reported that its youth shelter residents and staff are safe and dry, and are grateful for the kind messages and support they have received. You can support MCYS here.
  • Hope’s Path, a residential internship program for foster youth in Spring, safely evacuated their facility, which suffered extensive flooding. Updates available here. Support Hope’s Path here.
  • Parks Youth Ranch, a shelter for young people in foster care in the Fort Bend area, reported that they did not have to evacuate and are safe and dry. Support Parks Youth Ranch here.
  • Gulf Bend Center, which provides free counseling services for youth and families and is located in Victoria, shared that offices would be closed Monday, Aug. 28, and Tuesday, Aug. 29, due to conditions arising from Hurricane Harvey. Please keep an eye on their Facebook page — they will attempt to post updates there as possible and as they are able to assess conditions.
  • Harris County Protective Services reports that staff has remained committed to clients from the first day of Hurricane Harvey, including personal deliveries to Guardianship wards, staying overnight in our shelter and even setting up a shelter in the community. Click here to learn more.
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston reopened its offices on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 10:00 a.m. for flood-related client services, and they are in need of volunteers. Click here to learn more. They are also accepting donations for short-term and long-term recovery services to help those impacted by the storm.
  • Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health reported that they successfully evacuated clients from their League City and Victoria locations, and that they have been relocated to the Latham Springs Camp and Retreat Center, near Waco. Keep an eye on Devereux’s Facebook page for further updates.
  • Buckner International, which serves vulnerable children, families and senior adults and operates locations in Houston and Beaumont, reported that most of the ministry’s operational sites sustained “light damage” from rain, but many clients and staff were still dealing with flooded homes. Buckner has initiated relief efforts to help storm victims both in Southeast Texas and those who have evacuated to North Texas — click here to see how you can help.
  • Orphan Care Solutions of Texas, which is located in Spring, has added to its website a place to register your home to provide shelter for displaced foster families, or offer to lend skills that can be of help. 
  • The Montrose Center, which offers offering resources, counseling, and more to the LGBTQ community in Houston, has set a goal of raising $250,000 for its LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund, to provide support in the following ways: housing and transportation assistance, crisis intervention, basic needs such as food, hygiene and other products, as well as any other case management. Click here to donate.

Organizations outside of flood areas that are working to provide relief:

  • The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has shared on its website information on how to help foster youth, foster families, and elderly and disabled individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey.
  • ACH Child and Family Services, located in Fort Worth, has opened its doors to evacuated young people from the Houston area. ACH has identified monetary donations as the best way to address the immediate needs of all of their incoming children. The fastest way to make a gift is online at http://achservices.org/give-now/donate-now/. You can also donate gift cards, preferably from Walmart and Target in the amounts of $50 and $100. Click here to learn more.
  • Upbring, located in Austin, has issued an urgent appeal for financial donations as it works to help hundreds foster families that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Upbring is collaborating with a network of partners to help families with short-term assistance such as food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the long-term assistance needed to rebuild in the months ahead. Learn more here.
  • Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, in the San Antonio area, has stated that they are preparing for the possibility of taking in foster children displaced by Hurricane Harvey, should the Department of Family and Protective Services need emergency placement.

TNOYS will attempt to update this list as we hear more from our member and stakeholder organizations across the state. If you are an organization that would like us to share a request for help, please contact Valerie Zanders on our team directly at vzanders@tnoys.org.

For more information on the response of Texas’ child welfare and juvenile justice systems to Hurricane Harvey, see this article from TNOYS’ partner, the Chronicle for Social Change. (TNOYS members receive a discount subscription.) 

For guidance on disaster planning and recovery for youth programs, see this toolkit from the Family & Youth Services Bureau.

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