STARRY is a 501(c)(3) that provides free professional counseling and family support services in 31 Texas counties for families with children age birth to high school; provides free fatherhood services in in Bell and McLennan counties for fathers with children birth to high school; and provides foster care/adoption services for Central Texas families.
When it was founded, STARRY was an acronym for “Service To At-Risk and Runaway Youth.” However, as its mission changed and services expanded, the acronym was no longer entirely accurate. Today, STARRY is the name of our diverse state-wide agency and represents our core values of Service, Together, Access, Responsibility, Relationships, and You.
For children who need longer-term care, our Foster Care Program offers safe, secure homes where children can be loved, nurtured, and have the opportunity to succeed. Foster parents must be trained and licensed by the state. While caring for children ranging in age from birth to 17, they receive ongoing support from STARRY staff, including continuing education, respite care, and a team approach to services for children. When appropriate, STARRY facilitates adoptions as a state-licensed agency.
Foster care families are resources for children who need to live away from their families until a permanent plan for their placement can be arranged. Our goal is to reunite families when they are better equipped to function with fewer problems. When this is not possible and adoption is the plan, foster parents are given the opportunity to become the child’s permanent family. In some situations, another adoptive family is found for the children.
The Counseling Program is available at no cost to families who have children birth to high school age. Professional Counseling or Family Support is available for both children and parents. Typical challenges addressed in counseling may include family conflict, communications issues, truancy, lack of motivation, poor self-esteem, bullying, divorce, ADHD, anxiety, depression, or grief. Families can be self-referred to STARRY or referred by school counselors, juvenile services, pastors, or parents. STARRY counselors visit with the youth and his or her parent or guardian regarding the program and goals the child and the family hope to accomplish through the program. An individualized action plan is established to resolve issues, increase strengths, and help families reach their goals for their family.
In addition to programs that actively prevent child abuse, STARRY Counseling is a lead agency in Williamson County for the state’s Universal Child Abuse Prevention (UCAP) program. STARRY provides a wide range of child abuse awareness presentations and materials to churches, schools, and other groups.
STARRY Counseling is focused on short-term, solution-based services. Follow-up inquiries by staff to families served and unsolicited phone calls and letters from these families indicate a high success rate in helping resolve conflict and helping children cope with issues causing destructive behaviors. The best indicator of success is the dramatic transformation that occurs in young lives. Time and time again, we see fragile children transformed into healthy, happy children and families learn to deal with dysfunction and communication issues.