Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 17, 2013

A first for the county

HC can now boast of foster care, adoption agency

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — Henderson County has its first licensed foster care and adoption agency.

Lifeline Children and Family Services has opened a location in Gun Barrel City.  Lifeline CFS may be new to Gun Barrel City, but it has been licensed by the State of Texas for 10 years. 

Lifeline already had locations in Corsicana, Arlington, Houston and San Antonio.  Gun Barrel City, its fifth location, will be housed at Christian Life Center. 

Ricky Walter, CEO of Lifeline, said, “There is a real need in Henderson County for foster families.”

Lifeline in Henderson County will also service surrounding counties such as Van Zandt County.

According to Walter, Lifeline is a child-placement agency offering services to the children who are in need of homes. Walter said this normally occurs when the birth parents are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care.

Walter said the mission of Lifeline CFS is to find permanent homes for these children and prepare them to become responsible citizens.

Tanyau Boatright of Gun Barrel City will be the contact for Lifeline CFS. Boatright currently runs Little Beginnings Day Care at the Christian Life Center in Gun Barrel City.

Boatright and her husband, the Rev.  Barry Boatright, know all too well the need for qualified foster care in Henderson County. The Boatrights, with two of their own children, have fostered two kids and adopted two more. 

Boatright said, “You have to have a real love for children, but it is worth it.”

Lifeline CFS is always looking for families to provide foster care, and in some instances adopt children from their local areas. It is possible some children just need a home for a short time.

“We try to get the children back with their families if possible,” said Walter.

He knows it is not always possible to reunited families but says that is their goal.

“We provide all the training to become a licensed foster home,” said Boatright. 

She said, “It takes about three months. You can sign up at any time. The training is ongoing.”

Walter said Lifeline can license a relative as a foster home. If the home is licensed, the foster parents may receive financial reimbursement. Lifeline also provides ongoing training, special events, therapy, counseling and crisis intervention 24 hours a day.

The general requirements to become a foster home are that a person must be responsible, healthy adult, 23 years of age, no criminal record, high school diploma or GED or pass basic skills competency test, driver's license and insurance, reliable transportation and 27 hours of training by Lifeline.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, or if you are interested in adoption, call 866-885-1440, or visit the website at www.lifelinecfs.org.