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Published on August 23, 2019 by HCPS Content Manager in Featured News, In the News, Word from the ED

On August 16, 2019 Joel Levine, HCPS Executive Director, delivered a Keynote address to staff at the bi-annual Employee Appreciation Ceremony.  Within his remarks, Mr. Levine addressed agency accomplishments, challenges and his vision for the future.

August 16, 2019
Joel Levine

There were two young service man that enlisted in the Australian Navy. After many months at sea, they finally received a pass to spend the night in town when they docked at port. Naturally, the young men had too much to drink and were stumbling around trying to find their way back to the ship, when they bumped into a man in a decorated uniform, obviously a very ...

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HCPS offers new parenting class 
Published on October 19, 2017 by in Newsletter
Free one-day parenting classes are now available through the HCPS JP Court Liaisons program.   The second round of “Teen Awareness” classes begins this fall, in addition to parenting classes offered through the TRIAD Prevention Program. The classes are open to the general public, as well as those required by court.   “We wanted to offer an additional service for those individuals who are due back to court, and there are no PLL (Parenting with Love and Limits) and PTS (Parent/Teen Survival) classes available or scheduled,” said Shenetha Toliver, JP Court program specialist.   Teenagers and their parents will attend two separate group sessions during the class. Parents will discuss tips regarding their child’s grades and attendance and building relationships with school officials. Students will learn about goal setting and decision-making, proper ways to show respect, social media etiquette and the dangers of running away and human trafficking.   The Teen Awareness class was piloted last school year with three one-day classes. More than 150 parents and teenagers attended the classes.   “The class is one day, but the skills our participants learn are far more long-lasting,” said ...
HCPS works through Harvey to serve clients, community 
Published on August 31, 2017 by in Newsletter
Evelyn Emdin, HCPS Kinder Emergency Shelter program manager, and the 14 youth under her watch worked together to devise a plan for additional food items on Sunday. They had been sheltered-in-place throughout Hurricane Harvey and remained optimistic. “It was so exciting and amazing to know the strength of these children,” Emdin said Tuesday. Emdin was one of several HCPS staff members who remained at the Youth Services Center throughout the record-breaking Houston disaster, and many more staff who remained committed to the community and their clients from the first day. “Judge Ed Emmett has encouraged staff to volunteer this week, while our buildings are closed. But what’s amazing about our HCPS staff is they didn’t need that encouragement,” said Joel Levine, HCPS executive director. “They were already in the community, helping the public and each other.” Community Youth Services (CYS) staff have volunteered at major shelters, such as those at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium, as well as those in their own communities. Kristen Ballard, a CYS program manager, said one of her staff members arranged the setup for a shelter. CYS ...
HCPS Clinic prescribes back-to-school fun & health 
Published on August 1, 2017 by in Newsletter
John C., 14, gleefully raised his hand when his raffle number was called Saturday at the first-ever HCPS Integrated Healthcare Clinic Family Fun Day & Health Fair. He won a donated $25 gift card for ALDI. “What I’m going to do is get some stuff I really need,” John said. “What I really need are snacks! Because when I go to school, I’m going to need it.” John was one of more than 120 children who attended the fair, an effort for the HCPS Integrated Healthcare Clinic to help children and the community prepare for the coming school year. The fair included free vaccinations, school supplies, bike helmets, food, games and giveaways, many from sponsors. ALDI donated $1,000 in gift cards, the AT&T Pioneers donated school supplies, Cigna donated backpacks and Texas Children’s Hospital donated bike helmets and bike lights. Wesley Windom, of Respectful Zone Emergency Shelter, said he brought John and 15 other youth to the fair as a regular weekend outing. “This was a lot of fun for them,” Windom said. “A great way to spend a Saturday morning.” More than ...
HCPS executive director highlights values in keynote speech 
Published on July 13, 2017 by 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 ...
Conference celebrates 'Superhero' support staff 
Published on June 13, 2017 by 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 ...
HCPS Clinic becomes first Center of Excellence in Harris County 
Published on May 16, 2017 by 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 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 ...
HAY Center Prom Event outfits foster youth 
Published on March 30, 2017 by 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 ...
HCPS retirees honored for combined 125 years of dedication 
Published on November 21, 2016 by in Newsletter
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New HCPS board members: Sheila Aron & Darryl King 
Published on November 21, 2016 by in Newsletter
An author and a Houston-based entrepreneur joined the HCPS board this quarter, nearly filling the seats on the 15-member board. Sheila Aron is a parenting book author who has a passion for child abuse prevention. In October, Aron donated 100 copies of her book, “I’m Glad I’m Me: Weaving the Thread of Love From Generation to Generation” to foster parents. Darryl King is co-founder and CEO of management consulting firm Principle Partnering Group, LLC. King serves on several local and statewide boards for organizations dedicated to outreach, business and youth. Commissioner Steve Radack, Precinct 3, appointed Aron. Commissioner Jack Cagle, Precinct 4, appointed King. 
Youth On B.O.A.R.D. vice president active in community, career 
Published on November 21, 2016 by in Newsletter
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HCPS sponsors brunch recognizing foster parents 
Published on November 16, 2016 by in Newsletter
HCPS sponsored an October brunch for nearly 40 foster parents in Harris County.  Through a close partnership, the event was hosted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and sponsored by HCPS. Paul Shanklin, of Precinct 4, served as master of ceremony, enriching the programming with a song and encouragement that all should enjoy the morning. The usual December event was held in October this year to relieve some of the holiday pressure and encourage family time.  HCPS also arranged for an ice cream social where 26 foster youth could mingle while their guardians enjoyed brunch.