By Kierra Pixler
With November being adoption awareness month, there is a strong need to spread the word about how families can help kids that are in the system, whether it be adopting or fostering. Bright Future is a local foster care service that provides its services to Belton, Killeen, and Temple.
“We recruit, train and develop foster homes and then we contract with the state of Texas and we take kids that are in Child Protective Services and place them into our foster homes. We monitor and support those homes. CPS case loads are huge. They have pretty well backed away from doing foster care themselves and most of the adoptions now are done through agencies and so as a result of that I think that we are able to be a little closer to the families and we are all monitored by the same set of standards and some of our families have actually adopted the children that were in their home,” said Billy Bob Cox, the agency administrator of Bright Future.
The agency was began by Dr. William Hill who was a Methodist minister who was from Belton and played football here. He started a program called South Bay Bright Future in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Dr. Hill then retired and came back to Belton and saw the need here and opened Bright Future in Belton as a branch of South Bay.
“If I ran the world, the only way people would be able to adopt children out of the system would be to start out with them as foster children. But no one would use the A word for the first year that they were there because we have so many kids that go into what we say is a “forever home” and then the adoption fails and the kids come back and a part of that is that people really don’t understand what these children have been through. They don’t understand trauma or how it impacts their brain. They don’t understand the triggers that kids have and even though they try and provide support to adoptive families after the adoption most of the families want to get completely away from the system, so they don’t come back for the support that is available to them a lot of the time until things are already disrupted,” said Cox.
Cox said the need for foster families is tremendous.
“If I had 100 foster families today, I could place 200 kids. I believe that there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 18,000 children in the system right now, that are in foster care. By foster care, they mean any out of home placement. A lot of those kids end up in shelters. Some of them end up in general residential operations, like Texas Baptist children’s home or Methodist home and I believe those are wonderful places. In fact they were operating long before the state of Texas got involved in the foster care system and taking care of kids. We in the community were taking care of kids all along. But to try and be able to keep kids close to home and in a family environment and get them to where they are really ready to move out into the community and start life. The best place for them is a loving nurturing family. So there is a tremendous need and we would love to talk to people about the possibility of fostering,” said Cox.
If you or someone you know is interested in fostering a child please call 254-933-8162 or stop by Bright Future at 703 N Main St in Belton.