Patient madeline smith 10 gives her teddy bear a kiss before it is taken in for surgery by child life fellow leah dunn 162316

THERAPY 2000 Executive Director Ira Kirkley and his family were chosen to represent foster families in North Texas at the unveiling of plans to open the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Did you know that in Texas one child is placed in foster care every 30 minutes? Now thanks to a $18.9 million dollar donation from the Rees-Jones Foundation, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas will be home to the first health care program specifically designed for foster children in the State of Texas.

Many kids enter foster care with a variety of physical and emotional needs that must immediately be met. Dr. Anu Partap, Director of the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence and Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at UT Southwestern, shared that children in foster care often have three times as many special needs and mental health issues as children who are not in the foster care system. She says early diagnosis and treatment could save the children from problems in the years ahead.

Ira Kirkley, Executive Director of Strategic Development at THERAPY 2000 and adoptive father of Alex is well aware, thanks to his home and work life, of the importance of early intervention on a foster child’s future. The Kirkleys adopted Alex and her two siblings through the foster care system. Alex was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at one year old. Many foster and adopted children who come from a background of neglect or abuse benefit from therapy. The Company he is a part of, THERAPY 2000 offers in –home pediatric speech, occupational and physical therapy across the state of Texas. Additionally, he and his wife serve on the leadership team of Tapestry Ministries, a leading regional adoptive and foster care ministry.

Many children who are part of the Texas foster care system will benefit from the new Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s. Children’s Medical Center is on track to open two additional foster care facilities in North Texas, and they have plans to open even more at a later date. “We’re putting in place programs and services that will help our kids recover and heal, change how they think about their futures, get them back on track because they have lost their childhoods along the way,” said Dr. Partap.

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