Connections operates two emergency shelters for youth ages 5-17 who are in the midst of a crisis and need a safe place to stay.
The program accepts youth ages 10 to 17 referred due to runaway behaviors, family conflict, abuse and neglect, or homelessness; this includes youth who are part of the state’s foster care system (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services). The program also accepts youth ages 5-9 who are in the state’s foster care system or are experiencing a family crisis that requires a brief placement.
Youth or parents can ask for help through our shelters or may be referred to our agency through their church, youth-serving organization, school, or other social service agency. Local law enforcement can also assist youth with entering our shelters. The state’s foster care system, operated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, may place youth who have recently been removed from home due to abuse or neglect, or who have been in the state’s foster care system and experienced a placement breakdown or are returning to care from runaway status.
The agency’s two shelters are located at:
- 1414 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels, Texas 78130- this shelter serves up to 16 youth
- 209 Lang. Rd in Portland, Texas 78374- this shelter serves up to 13 youth
The shelters provide a safe place to stay for youth in crisis. In addition to meals and short-term housing, the shelters offer:
- Individual, group, and family counseling
- Recreational activities
- Linkages to educational and medical services
To be accepted, youth:
- Must be willing to enter, participate and remain in the program during their stay
- Must not have exhibited behavior that is a danger to self or others in the past 30 days unless a psychiatrist attests that youth is currently not a danger to self or others
- Must have an IQ above 70
- Must not have a history of sex offender incidents
- Must not have a history or be a danger for fire-setting behaviors
Assessment Services – Assessment Center Services are available to youth in Child Protective Services conservatorship upon request. These services include all necessary examinations for the completion of the Common Application for the State of Texas.
The Approach – Connections has a unique program that is designed to bolster resiliency and increase self-esteem. The counseling approach taken with youth and families is solution-focused. Due to the short-term nature of emergency residential care, the program staff work quickly with the youth and families to develop an Action Plan that identifies the needs and responsibilities of all parties to resolve the crisis. This plan acts as a recipe for success and it focuses on youth and family strengths. Additionally, the program provides youth and families with the opportunity to develop the necessary coping skills to face new obstacles in the future.