Pat and Syvilla Stacy, Wichita Falls foster parents with Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) since 2007, recently won a major award from the Wichita County Child Welfare Board. The Stacys, who have provided love and support to nearly 60 children in their home over the years (41 children through PCHAS; 19 through Child Protective Services), won the 2016 Patsy Baggett Award from the Wichita County Child Welfare Board.
Prior award recipients include judges, senators, Child Protective Services (CPS) staff, district attorneys and other foster parents. The Stacys were feted with a luncheon provided by the Child Welfare Board and were honored by PCHAS at a PCHAS Board of Trustees meeting. The board gave the Stacys a standing ovation.
Pat and Syvilla will never forget their first placement. It was 2:00 a.m. and the Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker was in the car next to theirs, filling out the paperwork as they picked up the two children, eight months old and two years old, both in dirty t-shirts and diapers. This night-time exchange of paperwork and children who need care has happened many times since then.
An Exemplary Foster Family
Being foster parents is challenging to be sure, but Pat and Syvilla see it as their calling. They have two biological sons, one son whom they adopted through foster care, and they are in the process of adopting a second child who is currently in their care. Pat and Syvilla consider themselves to be a “foster family” rather than “foster parents,” because they involve their own children in the fostering experience.
The Stacys are an exemplary foster family. They take sibling groups that often suffer in foster care when foster families are unable to care for multiple children. The Stacys, however, consistently accept sibling groups. When this is not possible, they make sure that the children have regular contact with their siblings each week. This is not always easy to do, as families may live far apart from each other, but the Stacys find a way to make it work.
Syvilla stays at home with the children and Pat works at the Petrolia Independent School District, where he is available to address any issues the children might have at school immediately. As a volunteer, Pat is the Foster Child Liaison for Petrolia ISD. In this role, he helps smooth the way for other foster parents whose foster children are having trouble at school.
Training Other Foster Parents
Pat also spends countless hours training other foster parents. He teaches several courses to PCHAS foster families, other foster care-related agencies and CPS. While Pat teaches, Syvilla looks after foster families’ infants so that foster parents can attend.
In addition to the “official” trainings Pat offers, Pat and Syvilla are always more than willing to take phone calls from other foster families and answer any questions they might have.
Helping With PCHAS Super Saturdays
In addition to training foster parents, Pat coordinates four PCHAS “Super Saturday” training days each year. Super Saturdays provide eight hours of training for foster families in the area. He works with PCHAS volunteer groups to ensure child care is provided so foster families can attend this training.
As the president of the PCHAS Foster Parent Association and the Foster Child Liaison for Petrolia ISD, Pat leads outreach initiatives featuring children who are waiting for adoption. And if that weren’t enough, Pat and Syvilla coordinate a celebration every year in May for all foster families. Pat and Syvilla are the first to volunteer and often agree to do the planning and their older sons assist with most of the activities. Their sons also help with child care during the trainings as well.
Pat and Syvilla are truly exceptional advocates for children in the foster care system. They prove time and time again that consistency and love truly transform the lives of children. Pat and Syvilla touch the lives of anyone involved in the foster care system and willingly sacrifice any personal time to ensure children have the best care while away from their families. The proclamation related to the Patsy Baggett Children’s Service Award states, “Pat and Syvilla are an inspiration to all who know them.”
(PCHAS is always looking for volunteers to help with child care at Super Saturdays in Wichita Falls and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. To help, see texas.pchas.org or contact Jennifer Quintero-Pitts, at Jennifer.Quintero-Pitts@pchas.org or 800.888.1904).
By Margaret Barry