If you ask me about the core reason Buckner exists today I would say: “Buckner builds families.” We build families for children through …
Foster Care. If a child has been removed from their biological family due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect, Buckner works diligently to find a foster family to provide a safe and healthy environment where children can prosper and develop, even if the stay is only temporary. There are about 6,000 children in need of foster care in Texas. In 2017, Buckner provided foster placements for over 1,100 children.
Adoption. If parental rights have been terminated for a child in Texas, Buckner seeks “forever families” for these children because we believe every child has a right to a healthy family. We provide domestic adoption through the Waiting Texas Children program, the foster-to-adopt program, and through birth-mom adoptions, should a young mother feel that adoption is in the child’s best interest. In 2017, we placed about 150 children in “forever families.”
Family Strengthening. We build families that are struggling in two ways. First, we provide a program called Family Pathways. This program provides a safe place for single parents, normally single mothers, to recover from abuse or economic hardship, obtain an education, learn life skills, earn a degree, obtain a sustainable occupation, and break the cycles of pain and poverty.
The second way we strengthen families is through Family Hope Centers. These centers focus on customized solutions to help struggling families get stronger relationally, economically, spiritually, and socially. They learn how to be exceptional parents, how to set goals, how to become competitive in the marketplace, and how to sustain themselves economically. This approach is proactive, in nature, rather than reactive like foster care and adoption.
Houston has 22,500 non-profit organizations so you might be asking why Buckner? Why Houston? Why now? Our research indicates there are 28 non-profit organizations that provide social services to Houston like Buckner. Of those 28 organizations, eight organizations are like Buckner, three seem most similar, yet are different: Boys and Girls Harbor, Memorial Herman Ministries, Star of Hope; and New Hope Housing.
Here is the difference: Buckner Family Hope Centers provide a non-residential approach to family strengthening. In other words, we reach out to families before they reach out to us. We intervene before they fall apart to keep families intact. We use a strength-based focus, family coaching, customized solutions, and economic sustainability, all based on a model of six protective factors every family needs to succeed. We believe Houston needs Buckner to strengthen families. Stronger families make stronger communities; stronger communities, make a stronger and vibrant Houston.
My vision is to establish Buckner as one of the leading social service, faith-based organizations to serve Houston families that struggle the most from day to day.