Houston reVision has been working since 2011 to end the school to prison pipeline in the Houston area through a combination of mentoring, outreach and community activities. While the bulk of their work has been with youth in the juvenile justice system, like many other providers they have increasingly encountered youth that are also simultaneously involved in the child welfare and other state systems. Houston reVision has developed a specialty in working with these dual status youth, and recently joined TNOYS in an effort to better understand the work being done in the child welfare system and connect with other professionals in similar situations.
Houston reVision is not alone in experiencing the need to work with children across a number of systems, from school to child welfare to juvenile justice. Increasingly, service providers are seeing the importance of collaborating across settings to provide vulnerable youth with the comprehensive services they need to successfully reach adulthood.
Houston reVision has a presence at every level of the juvenile justice system, helping youth who are there or have recently been released connect with resources such as education, housing, employment and social and economic support. But Houston reVision also has a strong presence in schools, because they have learned that all of the youth in the juvenile justice system have a similar story – they start getting in trouble in school, usually at the elementary level, are sent to alternative schools, and from there end up in the juvenile justice system. Houston reVision’s approach is to prevent this cycle by keeping students connected to their home school from the beginning.
Now, as they see more and more dual status youth, the organization has also started to work more with the child welfare community by convening stakeholders and receiving referrals directly from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Because dual status youth are those that tend to be at most risk for poor outcomes, they hope to continue doing more of this work.
“We’re really familiar with working with juvenile justice youth, but we have not been as familiar with the child welfare system and all it’s different layers,” said Charles Rotramel, Houston ReVision’s CEO. “Joining TNOYS is our attempt to become more well-informed in best practices for working with youth in the foster care system and the resources we can bring to them.”
Houston reVision has already touched many young lives in the Houston area and created an inspiring model for collaboration – last year alone, they worked with 1,100 youth across all of their programs, utilizing a volunteer force of 400 individuals recruited from across a spectrum of faith-based communities. The organization’s approach is based on the idea that building relationships can truly transform lives and so far, their results have been impressive – in their school-based program, 73 of the 75 students they have worked with have stayed in school and on track to graduate. The group currently works in the Katy, Spring, and Spring Branch ISDs and is excited to be expanding into Houston ISD in the coming school year.
To see Houston reVision’s work in action, view this video about the championship soccer team they formed in the Houston area.
TNOYS is excited to see the incredible work of Houston reVision continue to grow and for our network to help support that growth.