BCFS awarded contract to expand PAL Education Program for East Texas Youth

SAN ANTONIO - Baptist Child & Family Services' (BCFS) Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program was recently awarded a new 4-year contract through the Department of Family and Protective Services to expand its transitional living training program to include East Texas. The new territory, regions 4 and 5, will serve more than 200 young adults in Tyler, Longview, Marshall, Palestine, Texarkana, Beaumont, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Crocket and Jasper.

"Youths growing up in the foster care program often miss out on learning basic life skills that are important when facing the newfound challenges of adulthood," said BCFS President/CEO Kevin Dinnin.  "The PAL program gives these youth the knowledge needed to become productive, independent adults."

The PAL training program provides education on healthcare, housing, the job market, education and finances to foster youth between the ages of 16 and 21 to better prepare the young adults for life on their own. While most young adults have parents or guardians to teach them the process of buying their first car or renting their first apartment, children in foster care generally do not have that kind of support once they age out of state custody. The PAL program helps fill this void.

BCFS' PAL program was the first rural transition program for youth aging out of the foster care system in the State of Texas. Recognized as a trailblazer in this much needed field, Texas now contracts with BCFS to serve as a consultant to developing rural transition programs.

"Starting off on the right foot is important to any child making the transition into adulthood," said Terri Hipps, Executive Director Teen and Youth Services. "We are very excited to have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of these East Texas youths."