News Release

Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Date:May 24, 2021
Contact:
Ty Bishop, 512-424-6951

HHSC Provides 200 Tablets to Foster Grandparent Volunteers

Effort Supports Virtual Outreach to Children During Pandemic

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is virtually connecting volunteers in the Foster Grandparent Program with the children they serve with the purchase of 200 new tablets.

“This initiative presents an innovative opportunity to continue our support of seniors and children during the pandemic, reducing social isolation and providing more normalcy for our most vulnerable populations,” said Wayne Salter, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Access and Eligibility Services.

Volunteers with the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) serve as mentors, friends and tutors to children and other youth with exceptional needs. The children do not live with the Foster Grandparent volunteers. Instead, the volunteers visit them at established volunteer stations like schools, child care facilities and other locations.

For the health and safety of participants in the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, HHSC adapted by providing opportunities for virtual check-ins, mentoring, story time, and tutoring. However, since some volunteers did not have the technology to connect virtually with the children, HHSC purchased 200 tablets which will be distributed in June.

“We are excited for the opportunity to get the foster grandparents back involved and active with the children virtually,” said Katrina Solice of Tri-County Community Action, Inc., a partner of the Foster Grandparent Program in East Texas that helps connect volunteers with children in Head Start programs. “The purchase of tablets for the volunteers will help us to expand our reach tremendously and provide additional services.”

HHSC operates the Foster Grandparent Program in Abilene, Austin, Corpus Christi, Denton, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mexia, Rosenberg, and their surrounding counties. Each of those areas will receive 25 tablets to distribute to volunteers in need.

More information about the Foster Grandparent Program, including how to volunteer, is posted on the HHS website.