Coffee Breaks with TXICFW: From Mother to Advocate: The Foster Caregiver’s Perspective

Foster families are an essential component of the child protection system. Irene Clements, Executive Director of the National Foster Parent Association and Public Policy Chair of the Texas Foster Family Association and Tymothy Belseth will discuss what it’s like to be a foster parent and explore issues that families face when raising children who are in foster care.

Join us for a live session on May 30th from 10-10:30 am on our Facebook page!

About Our Guest:

Irene and her husband were foster parents for twenty-seven years and during that time fostered over 125 children with a wide variety of special needs.  During that time they also adopted four children and are now enjoying eighteen incredible grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  Irene currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Foster Parent Association and Public Policy Chair of the Texas Foster Family Association.  Irene is past president of the Texas Foster Family Association. Irene serves on the Advisory Board for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and as the Chair of the EveryChild, Inc. Board of Directors. Irene also serves on the Texas Children’s Justice Act Task Force and on the Collaborative Council to the Texas Supreme Court’s Permanent Commission on Children and Families.  Irene is well known for her unwavering advocacy work within the foster care and disabilities arenas and is often asked to provide testimony to the Texas Legislature on issues related to foster care and adoption and has testified before Congress on foster care issues as well.  Irene is excited to provide foster care consultation services across the country.

Irene’s work experiences range from owning and operating two-day care centers to working for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation for 15 years to provide supports and services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Irene then developed, implemented and managed a treatment foster care program for Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc. (LSS) (now Upbring, Inc.) for 8 years and then served as Vice President of Advocacy for LSS for 7 years.   In each work experience, her leadership and knowledge of systems and of parenting children with special needs has led to program improvement, growth and better outcomes for children and families. Irene holds a Child Development Credential from the Child Development Consortium in Washington, DC.

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