NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
Family Compass saved 676 children in North Texas from abuse or neglect in one year, meaning those children won’t end up in Child Protective Services. Parents who get through the program learn proper parenting skills that are passed on to their children who will in turn pass them to their children.
“We know why it happens and we stop it from happening,” said Family Compass CEO Ona Foster. “We’re the only agency in North Texas that is solely focused on preventing abuse and neglect. For us, it’s all about prevention. We keep kids out of the CPS system.”
Ona said raising children is hard enough with a steady job and stable home.
“When you start stripping away those things and those risk factors add up, those are the families who are on the edge of ending up in the system,” Ona said. “We teach them how to do it differently than what they learned or experienced. Then, they do it differently with that child and that child learns it differently and that child continues to shift that paradigm and changes the whole trajectory of that family.”
The CoServ Charitable Foundation contributed $10,000 to Family Compass this month that will help fund the Growing as Parents program, which focuses on helping teenage parents.
With the Growing as a Parent program, case workers spend time with the teenager in the home when they’re pregnant and for up to five years after the child is born. The goal is to teach them how to be a parent and allow them to stay in school.
“Not only do they stay in school, they graduate from school,” Ona said. “We see them go to college. We see them get jobs.”
Family Compass targets families that are at an elevated risk of child abuse and reside in the poorest communities in Dallas and Collin County.
The organization serves about 2,000 children and parents annually, making it the largest nonprofit helping prevent child abuse in North Texas.
Their priorities are: Protecting the innocence of children, preventing abuse and neglect and preserving our future by building strong families.
Family Compass provides parents with one-on-one education, encouragement, support and tools to aid them in becoming stronger, healthier families.
The money awarded from CoServ’s general fund will go a long way toward helping teenage parents.
The cost to investigate and prosecute child abuse and put children in foster care can cost the government as much as $830,000 per child. Considering the amount of positive cases Family Compass has documented that prevented child abuse, they’ve saved the government about $560 million.
The CoServ Charitable Foundation (CCF) focuses on meeting basic human needs, promoting community vitality and supporting education. Since CCF was established in 2004, more than $12 million has been distributed to worthy causes across North Texas. Funding for most of the grants comes from CoServ customers through Operation Roundup® – a program where customers “round up” their monthly utility bill to the nearest dollar. For more information about CCF, please visit CoServ.com/CCF.