New Horizons, New Location - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

New Horizons, New Location

New Horizons- a child placement agency- opened a new facility on Taft Boulevard in Wichita Falls with a ribbon cutting ceremony today. This new space will help the organization deal with the influx of families and children coming into The Falls.

Taking into account both children who stay in homes locally, and those kids who are served in treatment centers in Abilene and Brownwood, New Horizons deals with around 100 children from Wichita Falls each year.

"New Horizons is about trying to heal communities, being a part of those communities, and reengage communities," said Michael Redden, the Executive Director of New Horizons.

Right now, Redden says, communities give up responsibility of foster kids to the state and expect the state to become parents to those kids. If foster care in Texas is going to improve, we need to take a different approach.

"What foster care redesign is all about is re-engaging the community to see those kids as there kids," Redden said. "When we do that, we'll make significant long term changes for those kids."

Redden has noticed big changes with foster care redesign. Two months ago, Providence Service Corporation, the private contractor leading the Texas' foster care redesign push, voluntarily terminated their contract with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

"Providence pulling out was a scary thing for everybody," explained Redden. "I think the assumption on the part of public and private agency staff would be the system would go back to the way that it was, I think I can tell you that just the opposite has happened." 

The partnership between the state and other private agencies has strengthened, and the states ability to step in and transition forward, according to Redden, is a very good sign.

State officials said recently that the number of Texas children in foster care who died from abuse or neglect dropped in the last year. Redden says that this is an example of Family Protective Services focusing on certain areas of foster care that will make significant changes long term. 

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6

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