HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO)— According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the DFPS abuse hotline has received an average of over 31,000 phone calls since September; putting a strain on resources for charities designed to help children in need.
“It’s just… we’ve been overwhelmed with how many children are needing placement at this time,” said Barbara Tucker, a coordinator for the Care Cottage at Wesley United Methodist Church.
The Wesley United Methodist Church Care Cottage provides a safe place for children to stay while workers from child protective services enter them into the foster care system.
“Our only job in this role, is to be there for the kids. We have quite a few now. We’ve had a full house for the past three months,” said Tucker.
The cottage, now in its third year, is unique to the Rio Grande Valley.
“We are the only facility like this in south Texas,” said Tucker.
The care cottage is asking the community to donate gift cards to grocery and retail stores so they can provide items for the children that they may have not brought with them.
“They often come in with just the clothes on their backs,” said Tucker. “We use the gift cards to buy shoes or diapers or clothing for these kids that come in.”
She said the aim of the cottage is to simply provide a child with a comfortable place to stay, even for a little bit. And for children to stay as long as they need to.
“It varies from hours to days to weeks, depending on the circumstances,” said Tucker.
The number of children in need of care may be daunting, but Wesley United Methodist Church is undeterred, and Tucker says they will continue to take the children in need.
“As many as there’s room for. We’ve had eight to ten at a time, we don’t want to turn away anyone.” said Tucker.