Community Newsletter

December 2023

Featured Story

Fostering Collective and 4Kids4Families expanding Heart Gallery

This month, Texas Center for Child and Family Studies and The University of Texas at Austin Moritz Center for Societal Impact awarded 4Kids4Families with the special opportunity to expand the Heart Gallery program of North East Texas. The Heart Gallery is a community engagement initiative that harnesses the power of artistic media to promote adoption. Photographers create professional portraits of children eligible for adoption that capture their unique personalities and spirits in each shot. The Heart Gallery promotes these portraits among potential adoptive families and local community stakeholders to increase awareness and facilitate successful adoptions. Starting in 2024, 4Kids4Families, in partnership with the Fostering Collective, will oversee the Heart Gallery in Region Four and will expand the program to increase community engagement. The Fostering Collective, a local organization dedicated to raising awareness about foster care and opportunities for community intervention in East Texas, will expand our community outreach through relationships with local agencies, organizations, and churches. Through the Heart Gallery, 4Kids4Families and The Fostering Collective will create innovative ways to reach prospective adoptive families, facilitate conversation, and increase collaboration to encourage positive permanency for children in Region Four.

Community Highlights

Adoption Day

Adoption Day 2023

4Kids4Families partnered with many local organizations and DFPS to celebrate Adoption Day in counties across Region Four. In Anderson County, Adoption Day had a farm animal theme, and four children joined their forever families. When the judge ordered the adoption finalized of a seven-year-old boy, he responded “thank you, I’ve waited my entire life for this!” In Smith County, 4Kids4Families joined the Fostering Collective and DFPS in celebrating a Super Mario-themed Adoption Day where 12 children were adopted.

Be The Light

Recently, 4Kids4Families has partnered with the Fostering Collective to help collect data for their “Be the Light” Campaign that stretches to over 50 churches in Region Four.

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treats

4Kids4Families team members joined families at the Fall Family Fun Festival in Tyler and the Brinson Ford Trunk or Treat in Athens. 4Kids brought games like a bean bag toss and tic-tac-toe for kids and families to enjoy.

Partnering with Fostering Bridges

Fostering Bridges is a community organization that is committed to serving children and families in foster care. They are donating Journey Bags for any child coming into care or being moved to a new placement. The bags are filled with items that a child might want or need, like a blanket or stuffed animal, hygiene items, a Bible, and sensory items. The bags allow children to pack their clothes and belongings in something other than a trash bag.

4Kids4Families News

4Kids4Families Ribbon Cutting

4Kids4Families celebrated the launch of Stage I with a ribbon cutting ceremony at our soon-to-be new office space in Tyler. In Stage I, 4Kids4Families took over the responsibility of finding a home for children in foster care in the Piney Woods region, also known as Region Four. At the ceremony, Jon Mark McMullen, the Senior Vice President of Community-Based Care, cut the ribbon, accompanied by 4Kids4Families and Arrow Child & Family Ministries leadership.

Reportable Incidents Include:

  • Death of a child
  • Child is in a life-threatening situation
  • A significant change in a child’s medical condition
  • Psychiatric hospitalization
  • A child who is missing from care and placed on the Amber Alert system returns to care
  • Natural disasters where children are displaced
  • Suicide attempts
  • Injuries requiring medical treatment including psychiatric hospitalization
  • Runaway incidents
  • A caregiver/staff member or child contracts a communicable disease
  • Commission of a Crime, including those committed by youth or crimes occur at a home or facility in which youth are placed
  • Allegations of abuse, neglect or abusive treatment
  • A child’s abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Allegation and/or confirmed child-on-child physical and/or sexual abuse.