Executive Director Chrystal Smith co-founded Foster Village in 2016 as a way to bridge the gap in support for foster families. She said she was inspired and informed by her own family’s personal experience of navigating the foster care system and adopting her daughter.
“We saw a lot of gaps in terms of support on the front lines,” she said. “[Families] felt isolated and had a sense of a lack of support, and [there is] a high burnout rate.”
Smith said she spoke with other foster families about their needs when fostering children. She said one of the organization’s slogans is "Community Beyond the System."
“We believe that the community holds the responsibility for our kids and families in crisis,” she said. “We have opportunities to fill the gaps and take responsibility for their well-being.”
Foster Village has a resources center in Dripping Springs and a satellite location at a church in Round Rock.
The new North Austin resource center will open near the intersection of MoPac and Parmer Lane and will be open by appointment only.
“It’s been our goal to really have a physical resource center on the south side of town and [the] north side of town,” she said. “The majority of our caregivers are in the suburban and rural parts.”
Smith said having another center will also allow foster families to get supplies and necessities, such as car seats and mattresses, for an emergency placement of children.
“Usually, when families get the call for emergency placement—they usually have two hours [to prepare],” Smith said.
The space will also have space for biological parents to have supervised visits with their children, she said.
Smith said the nonprofit is always in need of donations of new beds, mattresses and car seats, as well as new clothing. The nonprofit has a list of donation needs on its website at www.fostervillageaustin.org/takeaction.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to play a part [in] caring for our kids and families who are walking through separation and abuse and neglect,” she said.
For more information, call 512-599-4144 or visit www.fostervillageaustin.org.