About the Texas Family Support Network

The Texas Family Support Network or the TFSN is one of 41 state members in the National Family Support Network working to promote quality in the family strengthening and support work being done in the US. Their primary focus and the focus of the TFSN is the elusive Family Resource Center (FRC).

What is an FRC?

Everyone, especially families, benefit from community support. The thing behind a strong family, consistently helping to keep it ticking, is a community that helps provide a way for them to meet their needs. Affordable food, local schools, medical care, family and lots of other supports are the fabric of a strong community. When a family faces issues such as incarceration, conflict, or poverty, strong help them when they need it most.

Here’s where FRCs come in. An FRC is a community- or school-based welcoming hub of support services, and opportunities designed to strengthen families. Their purpose is specifically to serve families, to promote child well-being, and to reduce risk factors for child maltreatment.

Founded in 2018 by the Prevention and Early Intervention Division of Texas DFPS, the TFSN began as an effort of Texas to pursue the FRC format of family strengthening with a standardized model. For the NFSN and the TFSN, that model is known as the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support (briefly, the Standards).

Partnering closely with Texas DFPS PEI Division, the Center works with the Texas FRCs to support their training and growth as they help keep Texas families together each day.

“The first thing we want to do is establish ourselves as a family strengthening and support hub in Texas. But we want to do that through the lens of the Standards,” said Chelsy Alexander.

Chelsy Alexander, TACFS Family Support Network Coordinator and Tameka Caldwell, TACFS Family Support Project Coordinator (and the National Training Chair) are the ladies working the levers behind the massive work of Texas family support. They have each traveled to FRCs from coast to coast both taking notes and leaving some things behind.

When it came to supporting PEI-funded providers, Chelsy and Tameka answered the call for the Center.


Chelsy spent the bulk of her career in foster care and adoption recruiting. Through the capacity-building work, she saw firsthand disproportionality in Austin and worked specifically to recruit families of color. After moving into a role at a more grassroots program, Chelsy noticed that the families of color she worked with were often relative caregivers (kinship). Many needed supports, and she found that there was a stunning lack of organizations available to provide it.

“I kept running into that challenge and I didn’t know where to send them.”

In addition to that work experience Chelsy also understands unique family challenges. As an adoptive parent (Chelsy’s family adopted two children out of the system), she wonders about the supports that could have prevented the trauma of abuse, neglect, and family separation that creates so many foster and adoption situations each year.

“I saw the shift I needed to take.”


For 17 years, Tameka worked along the foster care continuum from investigations to transition.

“I started seeing children that I removed in the early 2000s aging out of foster care and began to question why? Why are they still in care? What could have been done differently.”

The statistics on outcomes for aging out youth startled her but seeing it in real time moved her to make a career pivot. In 2015, Tameka took a role overseeing a home visiting program that provided families with voluntary in-home parent education and support.

“I began to see the reward in supporting families on the front end. From that point, I vowed that I only wanted to work on that side of the work moving forward!”

There she grew her passion for upstream prevention and family support work.

Why the Standards of Quality Work

“Everyone talks about supporting families, lived experience, family preservation but then there’s no solid blueprint for how to do that. We believe the Standards of Quality is the best framework for being family centered,” Chelsy said.

How does one know a family and youth success operation is using the Standards? Well, the answer is complicated, they say. But the short of it is that the Standards of Quality offer not just a means for self-assessment (Do our programs work? Are our staff effective? Is the community getting what it needs?), it also paves the way for other organizations to follow this repeatable format.

“The Standards give us a way to back that up and show us how to do it. It holds us accountable,” Chelsy said.

“Right. It also gives us a common language among different family support programs. While everyone is doing unique work in their own communities, it’s important that we have a common language,” Tameka said.

What’s Next for the TFSN

Tameka and Chelsy always shoot each other a look and laugh when they are asked how many FRCs there are in Texas. They know the asker would like a solid figure but the answer is, “who knows?”

One of the things they’re mindful of is that there are FRCs (and other providers) out there doing lots of quality work. Their hope for the network is to bring the collective impact the network across Texas to positively affect the outcomes of children and families.

Alongside the NFSN and the PEI division of Texas DFPS, the Center hosted annual FRC Summit in March. Texas FRC staff (including parent liaisons) in two days of shared learning on an array of topics along with many education sessions. Check out more photos.