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HCPS executive director highlights values in keynote speech
Published on July 13, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
HCPS employees embodied the department’s core values during Thursday’s “Employee Appreciation Ceremony and Core Values Inauguration.” As part of the bi-annual all-staff Executive Forum, employees received awards and demonstrated the new HCPS values. More than 300 employees participated in the event at the Power Center, divided between morning and afternoon sessions. Executive Director Joel Levine kicked off each session with the keynote speech, explaining how the most recent HCPS initiative – first-ever core values – affects all other parts of HCPS and its clients. The HCPS values, released earlier this year, are: Help, Excellence, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork (H.E.A.R.T.). “They form the building blocks of our agency and help us to define right and wrong, as well as help us determine the behaviors and perspectives that are valued within our culture,” Levine said.  “Culture is a living, breathing thing.” To showcase how important each HCPS value is to the overall mission, employees from each division then a delivered a brief presentation exhibiting each. The presentations took different forms: two as songs, one as a rally and another as a teambuilding exercise. Following the presentations, employees who have reached milestone years with HCPS received certificates and awards. "The HCPS story begins with you," Levine told employees.
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Editorial: There should be no debate about protecting our senior citizens

Published on November 17, 2016 by Christina M. Wright in In the News

Elder abuse is all too common in Harris County. It's not just instances of severe neglect such as the case in north Houston that made national headlines in 2013 when three malnourished elderly men were found inside a garage. They had been without access to a bathroom for a year. But financial abuse is prevalent, too.

Harris County Commissioners Court has the opportunity to step up its efforts to protect the elderly when it votes today to accept a grant from the federal government to create a senior assessment center.

Read more from The Houston Chronicle.


Recent News

HCPS leader speaks to Hogg Foundation podcast 
Published on July 14, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in In the News
Two years ago, the Hogg Foundation commissioned an evaluation of the Harris County Protective Services (HCPS) Integrated Health Care Program for Foster Children, a pilot program funded in 2012 and launched in 2014. The program led to the creation of the HCPS Integrated Health Care Clinic, which adapts the integrated health care model to foster care settings. Joining host Ike Evans to speak about the program’s successes and limitations is Jacquelyn McMillon, Children’s Services Administrator at the clinic. Kate Murphy, a policy associate at Texans Care for Children, follows up McMillon’s insights with a special report on the 85th legislative session’s impact on child welfare at large. Read more on the Hogg Foundation website.
HCPS executive director highlights values in keynote speech 
Published on July 13, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
HCPS employees embodied the department’s core values during Thursday’s “Employee Appreciation Ceremony and Core Values Inauguration.” As part of the bi-annual all-staff Executive Forum, employees received awards and demonstrated the new HCPS values. More than 300 employees participated in the event at the Power Center, divided between morning and afternoon sessions. Executive Director Joel Levine kicked off each session with the keynote speech, explaining how the most recent HCPS initiative – first-ever core values – affects all other parts of HCPS and its clients. The HCPS values, released earlier this year, are: Help, Excellence, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork (H.E.A.R.T.). “They form the building blocks of our agency and help us to define right and wrong, as well as help us determine the behaviors and perspectives that are valued within our culture,” Levine said.  “Culture is a living, breathing thing.” To showcase how important each HCPS value is to the overall mission, employees from each division then a delivered a brief presentation exhibiting each. The presentations took different forms: two as songs, one as a rally and another as a teambuilding exercise. Following the presentations, employees who have reached milestone years with HCPS received ...
New program launching to help victims of elderly abuse 
Published on June 16, 2017 by Lee Baughman in In the News
In honor of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Harris County Protective Services is launching a new program that is the first of its kind. As the senior population grows, the frequency of abuse to the elderly is expected to grow with it, according to Harris County Protective Services. In order to help senior victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation in Harris County, HCPS is introducing The Senior Justice Assessment Center. Read more from Channel 2 News Houston.
Harris County launches center devoted to stemming abuse of elderly 
Published on June 16, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in In the News
Twenty years ago, when Harris County social services officials first asked Dr. Carmel Dyer to help check on homebound elderly residents, the geriatrics physician figured she'd be sipping tea with grandmas while checking their blood pressure. Instead, she was horrified to find senior citizens living in squalor, neglected by caregivers, or worse, abused and exploited by them. And little was being done to protect them. "We found that people had died because we were not getting services to them quickly enough, we were not recognizing the problems quickly enough, and we were not prosecuting the perpetrators," said Dyer, a professor of geriatric medicine at UTHealth's McGovern School of Medicine. "And so the idea for the Senior Justice Assessment Center was born." After years of planning, that idea became a reality on Thursday as Harris County officials launched a new collaborative office with the goal of better investigating and prosecuting elder abuse.     Read more from The Houston Chronicle.
Foster Care Center of Excellence Awarded to HCPS Clinic 
Published on June 13, 2017 by Lee Baughman in Press Releases
HOUSTON -- In Harris County, there are over 4,000 children in the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.   The Harris County Protective Services (HCPS) Clinic, a unique clinic dedicated to treating the trauma of children in foster care, is now the first Foster Care Center of Excellence in Harris County. Superior Health will announce the Center of Excellence designation Tuesday at a special ceremony celebrating the collaboration between HCPS, UTHealth, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Superior Health. To qualify as a Foster Care Center of Excellence, a clinic must meet 47 criteria and the highest standards of care for foster children and their caretakers.  The HCPS Clinic is now the only clinic in Harris County to receive the designation and the second in Texas. “We are proud to receive this designation,” said Joel Levine, HCPS executive director. “It is a reflection of the hard work our staff has done to ensure foster children with visible and invisible wounds can heal in a safe, inviting atmosphere.” As the oldest and first program of ...
Conference celebrates 'Superhero' support staff 
Published on June 13, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
The superheroes of HCPS and other Harris County offices are the administrative support staff (administrative assistants, cooks, cleaning staff, etc.), according to the speakers and theme of the annual Dianne Bynum Administrative Support Staff Conference. "You take care of us; you take care of the office," said HCPS Executive Director Joel Levine. "You are our first contact (with the public) in many cases. How that client, that stakeholder, that public is treated, that tells a story about our agency -- or your agency." Participants packed the conference rooms of the Harris County Department of Education building on June 2. This year's theme was: "Supporting the Superhero in You." The Training Institute of HCPS has organized the conference for the past nine years to both train and celebrate support staff from organizations throughout the county. The conference was named for Dianne Bynum, a former HCPS board president who championed the conference In a unique arrangement, leadership from participating organizations agree to take care of the office while their support staff members enjoy a full day of training -- the same as any other staff member would. “It shows their commitment and appreciation to us, by doing our work for us,” said Valencia A. Linton, who works at the front ...
Jobs Help Foster Youth Overcome Legal Challenges  
Published on June 9, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Press Releases
Every year approximately 200 foster youth in Harris County age out or emancipate from the foster care system. Children who age out of care are more susceptible to negative outcomes due to a lack of traditional family support and opportunities. The challenges they face such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty and even incarceration can hinder a successful transition to adulthood.  The HAY Center, a program of Harris County Protective Services, is pleased to announce that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation in support of Overcoming Legal Challenges Faced by Current and Former Foster Care Youth to Gain Stability and Self-Sufficiency.  The support from the Texas Bar Foundation will allow the HAY Center to offer foster youth involved with the courts and judicial system with paid internship opportunities to earn money to pay court related costs, fees, and fines; thus avoiding additional complications.  This also allows youth to gain valuable workforce experience, and help build skills needed for employment. Mary Green, Director of the HAY Center states:  “We are so grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for their support of the HAY Center and our mission.   Giving youth the opportunity to pay off their court ...
HCPS Clinic becomes first Center of Excellence in Harris County 
Published on May 16, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
The Harris County Protective Services (HCPS) Integrated Healthcare Clinic, a unique clinic dedicated to treating the trauma of children in foster care, is now the first Foster Care Center of Excellence in Harris County.   “You really are willing to go the extra mile to provide quality services to children who are in foster care,” said Robert Wells, Superior Health Services Transformation projects manager.   Wells presented the Center of Excellence designation Tuesday at a special ceremony celebrating the collaboration between HCPS, UTHealth, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Superior Health.   “We are proud to receive this designation,” said Joel Levine, HCPS executive director. “It is a reflection of the hard work our staff has done to ensure children with visible and invisible wounds can heal in a safe, inviting atmosphere.”   Superior Health gives the Center of Excellence title to clinics that meet a higher standard of care for children in DFPS custody covered through the Superior Health Medicaid plan. The HCPS Clinic is now the only clinic to receive the designation in Harris County and the second in Texas.   “We’ve developed the clinic into a true comprehensive medical home for children with CPS involvement by providing competent and compassionate ...
JP Court Liaisons advise parents to Make It Right 
Published on May 11, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
JP Court Liaisons distributed information about HCPS and its youth programs at the "Make It Right!" event meant to aid Harris County parents in resolving outstanding low-level warrants. "Parents shouldn’t have to worry about being pulled over on the way to drop their children off to school or being concerned when they take their teenager to get their driver’s license," said JP Court Program Specialist Shenetha Toliver. "Those should be memory-building events, free of stress," added Dina Johnson, also a JP Court Program Specialist. Make It Right invited Harris County residents with warrants resulting from nonviolent misdemeanor offenses that were filed in Precincts 1 and 6 to attend the event and clear those pending cases. JP Court Liaisons work with teenagers who have Class C misdemeanors, and their families. They encourage parents to take part in any Make It Right event in order to be more effective parents. Eligible charges for Make It Right include, but are not limited to, failure to appear, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and theft of less than $100. Traffic offenses and felonies are not eligible. "This ...
Youth organizing toiletry drive 
Published on April 24, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in General
HCPS clients often find themselves in need of basic supplies, leading the HCPS Youth On B.O.A.R.D. to step in with the “Everything But Food” toiletry drive. The youth, partnering with Hearts & Hands, are asking the community to donate basic necessities – such as soap and first aid supplies – by the May 1 deadline. Hearts & Hands partners with Houston Food Bank and local grocery stores to secure food items for families, “but they have a hard time securing the non-food items that can help alleviate the financial strain on families that fall below the poverty line,” said Craig Cormier, vice president of Youth On B.O.A.R.D. “I’m hoping that everyone will see this as a worthy cause and will help support families – particular the children in these families – to do things we take for granted, like having toothpaste to begin their day and sponges to wash their dishes,” Cormier said. Donations to the “Everything But Food” toiletry drive can be dropped off at the Youth Services Center at 6300 Chimney Rock Rd. and 2525 Murworth Dr. Checks, made out to Hearts & Hands, are also accepted. The Youth On B.O.A.R.D. is an HCPS ...
Word from the Executive Director: HCPS Core Values 
Published on March 31, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Word from the ED
I am delighted to introduce the new HCPS core values – principles that reflect what is truly important to us, how we go about doing our work and practices we will use in everything we do. As Executive Director, I placed development of these core values as one of my top priorities. It is part of a larger initiative to strategically begin crafting the HCPS culture to better reflect the agency we have become. We were born as a child welfare board with one purpose and have expanded over the past 50 years into an entire county department with  more than a dozen programs serving vulnerable adults, children at-risk and abused and neglected children. We need values that bring our staff together to fulfill our vision to better the lives of children and adults in Harris County. We wanted as many blocs of HCPS to help develop these core values, as they are the ones who know most about our needs and our clients’ needs. The HCPS Quality Improvement Team gathered online survey information from staff and the HCPS Board of ...
HAY Center Prom Event outfits foster youth 
Published on March 30, 2017 by Christina M. Wright in Newsletter
Five years ago, Phyllis Ocean fitted a vision-impaired teenager in a maroon dress. She and another volunteer at The HAY Center Prom Readiness Event had helped the foster youth pick out the dress, silver shoes and accessories. “She just lit up; she looked radiant,” Ocean recalled recently. “All teenagers deserve to have that special moment” of finding the perfect prom outfit. Ocean, a member of the Houston Bar Association, was one of more than 90 volunteers who helped nearly 80 foster youth prepare their night-to-remember garb on March 27. Volunteer groups also included the Houston Young Lawyers Association, Benefit Bettie and Bellaire United Methodist Church. “We extend the most heart-felt thank you to every volunteer, staff member and donor who has contributed to this event for the past six years,” said Mary Green, director of The HAY Center. “Without their generosity, this event could never happen.” The HAY Center converted its entire West Clay Street building into a mini store, complete with racks of donated dresses and suits, ties, shoes, undergarments and jewelry. Each foster youth was treated to a personal shopper to help ...