Case management helps families flourish

MCH Family Outreach applies century-plus experience to reach solutions

Staff members at the new MCH Family Outreach office in Odessa are, from left, Case Manager Celeste Reyes, Director Stephanie Janes and Ronnie Reynosa. The Waco-based agency dates to the 1890s. (Courtesy Photo)

Solving family problems on the behalf of children is a very big job and the statewide Methodist Children’s Home Family Outreach has joined the Permian Basin’s other agencies that deal with it to help them all be more effective.

After operating in space generously provided by Frost Bank last year, the office opened at 706 Adams Ave., MCH is bolstered here by the children’s residential campus at the home base in Waco and offices like Odessa’s in Abilene, Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Killeen, Lubbock, San Antonio, Waco, Tyler and Albuquerque and Las Cruces, N.M.

“We are a new non-profit out here and we have free classes on parenting and family solutions that typically run six to eight weeks and case management for four to six months for parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who are raising kids,” said Director Stephanie Janes. “We can help connect them to community resources like the food bank and we help them register their kids for school.”

Janes said MCH is faith-based and that she and Case Manager Celeste Reyes pray for and with families “if they are open to it and willing.

“We serve families through the power and love of Jesus,” she said. “We have been running parenting classes since the first of last year and we are now working with two families. We have had two families graduate from our family solutions program and we are working with two more.

“We’re still trying to get our feet on the ground and we are really excited to be here because we feel like the Permian Basin is in need of help for these families.”

The Odessa center’s other employee is Administrative Secretary Veronica “Ronnie” Reynosa.

Dating to the 1890s, MCH began as an orphanage in Waco and in 1942 it transitioned to a child care agency offering multiple services, and changed its name to the Methodist Home. The board changed the name to Methodist Children’s Home in 1996.

A lot of grandparents find themselves raising their grandchildren and Janes says it is an all-new situation that many need help with.

“So much has changed and we try to give them the support they need,” she said. “They have already raised their own kids and they also need emotional support.

“Maybe they don’t know how to register kids in school nowadays.”

While MCH brings a great deal of expertise to the scenarios, Janes said, the programs “are all led by the clients because we want to give them empowerment so they feel like they can do this with the resources that are provided to them.”

Above every other consideration, she said, “We don’t want the kids to be removed from the home.

“We try to address the problems and help the families so that they are not removed and placed elsewhere.”

One of the agencies that MCH Family Outreach is working with is the Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, where Executive Director Carrie Bronaugh was looking forward to an MCH training session on TBRI or trust-based relational intervention.

“When you’re dealing with child neglect or abuse whether it’s physical or sexual, the trauma is often generational within the family or family dynamics,” Bronaugh said. “All the Basin’s agencies cooperate with one another so that we are not duplicating services.”