This is Sunday February 23 and you're listening to inside -- today my guests include Julie -- from Child Protective Services as well as Molly -- them from Costa of Travis County. And -- purged from Austin children's shelter. We'll talk about their upcoming light of hope event. And how these organizations are doing everything they can to prevent and stop child abuse because every child has the right to grow up safe. I'm also speaking with children so volatile for the Austin chamber of commerce about their financial aid Saturday's program. We'll talk about important resources available to you and your high school age son or daughter. -- can help you navigate the maze of applying for financial aid and affording college that's coming up next. On inside often. No one day in -- chemistry to kids I'm going to be an architect and measuring distribution yeah. The US department of education's office of Federal Student Aid that we provide more than 150 billion dollars a year in grants loans and work study finds. Making higher education possible for you want. At any stage of life. I can go back to college. They can change careers I can make a difference. -- an eight -- sponsored the American -- learn more about money for college student aid dot gov. -- too many parents of baby's first steps aren't just a milestone. And miracle. Made possible by volunteers like you who walked in March for babies and money you raise funds precincts and local programs that help people overcome challenges a preacher and Christopher. Sign up today at march for babies top court to take the steps that helped -- milestones. And even miracles. For thousands of feet. Can do to. It's their time of year where -- seen a spike and child abuse in particular are at their. Well a few times a year in takes order you know when we become aware of family or children. You have issues it's usually. At the beginning of school horror right after the holidays and the kids go back to school a lot of times. That's when we see -- an uptick. -- summer is usually pretty slowed. In the sense we don't get as many -- as we do during the school year. And that's just because you know kids that are in school. So they're not around a cause parents angst or adults -- Note there's other sets of eyes on the children. Oh -- natural about it yes -- -- most of those. Calls come in from schools actually I -- school personnel. In fiscal -- 2013. Is number Qiyue medical professionals are number one. But it is clear 2012 it was school professionals and then. So it's sort of they're there at the top yeah. So what are the parameters -- for medical professionals and for teachers if someone suspects. That there in the presence of child that's being abused. There's a legal obligation there if my Child Protective Services right yes there's a mandatory reporting law so any medical professional. Any teacher. Anyone who is a quote unquote professional who comes in contact with the child and they suspect abuse or neglect. They must call the abuse hotline. And what is the process there so if if you like I'm picturing a doctor's office. Does that doctor -- at the child out of his sight or he's really hit and have a choice at that point if he's just making a report. Well I think it's more of suspect teen abuse I mean if if the child is and imminent danger and comes to the emergency might say. The the protocol would be to keep the child at a hospital were as long as possible and then also call Child Protective Services. But a Doctor Who -- child like in. Just you know a well checked child check out. And they're going -- he notices some unexplained Bruce seen. And explained he'll lean. They could call in child protective services and and then we would go out and investigate. So there's kind of -- you know I always say if if you as anyone in the public whether your professional or not. And you see a child in imminent danger. Call 911. Do not call the abuse or neglect hotline because. We usually respond with you know depending on the situation -- in 24 hours -- 48 hours. If -- childish in not hospital in the emergency room. A Child Protective Services investigator will be there -- and a couple of hours but we're not 911. So it child is in need in danger at the moment called 911. And get the police involved and then the police will then get GPS and but. You know it just depends on the situation. How many how many investigations. Roughly. To Child Protective Services in falls went last year well we completed 7283. In Travis County wow. So -- years child abuse allegation. Happen you know I don't know I can't do the math off the top of my head that. A lot. If you're just now joining us on inside us and I'm speaking with -- movie she's here from Child Protective Services. And I'm also here with Julie purged from the Austin children's shelter and -- lay them from a cost -- Travis Cali. Now let's talk about how Costa and Austin children's shelter worked together with Child Protective Services. Is it is it is very symbiotic relationship is is this something to -- that a Child Protective Services once you're notified of the situation. You can then find the right organization to to -- child out too well exactly. Which would cost. -- court appointed special advocate so they help support children who have been removed and there in the court system. So for their role is specific statute children who have been removed. And need an extra advocated in court. Whereas the Austin children's shelter they serve and many different aspects of Child Protective Services but first and foremost there an emergency shelters so if the child is removed. From their home due to abuse or neglect. The Austin children's shelter may be the first place that child goes before. We can find family before they enter into what would be considered -- traditional Foster house okay so Foster placements sort of well -- -- the -- between. Foster placement end the abuse of palm could be Austin children's shelters right exactly. We've been providing emergency shelter services for very long time and the children who come to us there anywhere from birth to between when your -- as. -- in addition to emergency shelter for providing. A home. For kids who were into Foster care. Who were in our transitional living program and they're learning these skills they need to transition out of Boston here and live independently. And then we also have our -- care program it's mostly teen mothers who were in Foster care the vast majority of them. And they have children and for a damn it we are teaching them how to be. Good parents in in teaching -- positive parenting skills and hoping to break that cycle that keeps because it's Cary Grant in. Abusive families to children. Don't want to teach there and took in the sink and they aren't because that's what they've learned that the modeling at how -- how to be apparent. Yes because we're not taught how to be parents. It's so we learn from our own parents and were never taught at their skills and we just repeat the cycle we repeat the same we. -- took in the same way we were parent and so what we're doing. At Austin children's shelter and -- -- care program is were helping these teen parents. Learn. What their child should be doing it different developmental stages. So they're not expecting to match their child. And we. Teach some positive parenting skills and we also teach him how to set routines because children need routines. And it helps those. Young moms be able to manage this situation with your kids and so thinks of it out of hand and the parent -- Overstressed. And lash out here. As well it's tough as a parent. I see I see many healthy parents. Do good parents -- get overwhelmed and overstressed. So it's really that it's difficult to be a good parent when you have all those support networks in place. And passionate and very difficult to. Break that cycle that teaching process you're talking -- actually. -- it -- critical in terms of really helping people to develop a brand new model that. Rewiring the brain if you will in terms of how they're gonna do things differently. Absolutely it is very difficult and it's challenging because these teens sometimes they don't want to be told and in no parent wants to be told that they're doing things wrong. So we're trying to help them look at the positive side and look what happens when you do this this is how you child responds and showed them. Kind of caused -- reaction. So that they can see for themselves when day. I -- approach -- children in more positive way to get more positive reaction so it helps in what you're talking about comes does that come under the heading of care academy. It will so -- academy it's our brand new and mean open this month. Child development and resource center and so what we James were offering child. Child care fits on a sliding scale so we've it's open to the public -- where they -- to help. In recent all of economic positions. It's so families that are. Are in need of child care. It may be in the -- system were able to help in this well and though this spring we're going to begin our child parenting classes. And coaching. So that we can help parents that because once -- parents get overstressed. And that's win the peace begins to happen or it can't happen. An apparent might be abusing a child not really realizing right they're just trying to make it work absolutely. Because see they're so used to what is normal to them. It it doesn't seem like it's too much. And so it's very difficult isn't it. To see and so what are the things that we've seen with a strong start program weeks it's a child to be spiritual program emerged with Austin children's shelter this past summer. Is. We working with children in this they're cute. -- her classes. And teaching them how to identify. Their own feelings and how to respond appropriately because children -- exposed to. It's it's severe stress in the home. React with very negative behaviors if they don't had to deal with that and so once we can help that child and they learn quickly. There we can show the parent okay this is what's working for their top and so we're helping parent and go into the home and helping them. Established the same kind of technique that is being used to cost. How many children which you say to read. Austin children's shelters season here or -- -- from here that's going to be a hard question let me answer right now because some neighbor. Programs -- news. Act to shelter. We're serving under 300 year. -- more children are being placed into Foster homes are -- -- we care has been going into shelters and that sort of nationwide talk. So we step that program is still very much needed. To -- priority is to keep families together. Or to get them into -- are so wherever you can. And with an abuse child you'd like to place them with someone. Safe and responsible within the family structure. I think. In the case of that and like most definitely got its first and foremost -- I would say I can't speak for every judge have here at Travis County -- in the state of Texas but. You do needed judge in the state to remove a child from from their home. And so I am first and foremost TPS will always try to find appropriate family. Or appropriate friends of family to care for the children while CPS continues an investigation. We go before a judge. Wind there is no appropriate family reference to care of these children. So so the first -- were were investigating and we see that there is risk involved in this family we do you ask. For the parents to come up with appropriate family members of fronts first Mali. Help us understand how costs Travis County gets involved in the situation I know -- -- stance for court appointed special advocates. How they help us. When we're playing by giants would be. Are able to you kind of hope individualized speck case we believe that any child who has an excuse in class today deserves. And adults here is committed to do is consistent. And who is able advocating their -- interest and then the court system because the system is -- -- -- and it is easy for children to fall through the cracks. And so what we try to do is kind of be that safety Matt and I know we try and help. Time. That child received that type of advocacy packages are not only in the court system that costs. In schools. We're actually and Travis attorney costs as considered educational advocates for the children. So that means that we can help advocates for her children with special needs to receive. I -- RNC. We can make sure that the children receiving the types of services that they need was in the schools. We also advocates for them and in their community. I -- part as maintaining family time is is awesome helping their children retain their cultural ties because there is a very diverse. And set -- children -- child welfare system and something that. All of the different parties working with that children as a member are concerned when is hoping that child maintain. Bonds with their cultural ties. So that means. If you have a Hispanic child would you would you like to match them up with the cost for volunteers also Hispanic and kind of understand where they're coming from culturally. That is is one thing that we can certainly do but another thing has also just making sure because. We don't necessarily have those resources at this point. I'm -- anything is just making sure that all of our volunteers are trained and knowledgeable about the importance of maintaining a cultural finds. I'm making sure that our volunteers are culturally can't attend that's actually part of the training. That we deal with -- hostile offer ongoing training throughout the year and -- to help just maintained that cultural competency. So it's not necessarily that a child custody. I'm -- -- was a mere image of themselves but more so that they are just carry episode online you. Is compassionate to who they are and is willing to help them Foster a healthy self identity. I seem OK so when a child. Comes into. Our guests from Costa has made aware of the child that always happens in the court system. Yes OK -- And then -- will match up a child with someone who has been trained as a casa volunteer. How long is that training because it seems like this is really when you for coming cost of volunteer that's a lot of responsibility. Absolutely and we don't really require any seeing -- people who wanna become a cost except that there -- at least 21 years old. And we put -- through background checks and then we do ask for them to complete. 39 hour training it's very flexible let's put that in a three hour classes and it also includes. I am a three hour courtroom conservation and and this is really just a taste test and -- way this system has to offer because. It can be a very confusing system and all of the different legality is all of the red tape and so I'm. After they actually go through that training they will be paired up officer was professional supervisors someone who's a little bit more chains I'm. And someone who is actually inflate the cost and so and that person will help actually carry them through the case as they. Though that connection with the children and the feelings -- what are some of the specific tasks that costs volunteers asked. And went in we just -- Q is him be president -- court. Reports the -- all of the different information that they have gathered. That's a really big part of the job is just gathering information and so not only talking with a child -- getting to know the family is getting to know the parents. Hopefully. If the case goes well than that to the children will be going back to us we wanna make sure that -- parents. How the proper support. We also speak with their their case again we -- within the school system and so we speak with their teachers make sure that you're getting the services that they needs. If a child for some reason -- you remain within the Foster care system than we. And try to shake that family tree we try to find other family members are really the costs advocate. Is just trying to pull all of the different pieces together trying to you and just get as much info regarding that child as possible in order to -- the best recommendation that they can for the giants. And I guess he used. -- serves a lot of different children in any given year last year we served 16100 children. 700 children still needed it costs a volunteer. I am we have seen it the numbers kind as obsolete he know of any -- I'm this year -- as we've seen as very dramatic rise in the amount of kids that have come in -- at the beginning. And this year I believe and one B we had over thirty children ever appointed to Cossack. And so it is it's a staggering amount especially when you think about all of -- can -- just need. That adult that will be consistent and their life that well know their case. But the back of their hand will be able to individualize that experience because it's no doubt that the case brokers work so hard that. Lawyers worked so hard that they have many cases that they have to look over. And so the cost is able to individualize that and able CO. Make those connections. A little bit easier. And we do work really closely with CPS with the different service providers with lawyers because we understand like without and we -- -- it. A lot of the information and read a cat. Well I think it takes a village to raise a child affiliate wink and a circumstance where you're dealing with abuse it would take at least acknowledge it takes more than enough. Yeah a bit just in mr. Malone you know it's hundreds of people really sometimes with just one case. When you consider their instant. Attorneys say it costs. And parenting classes and the parents who have therapist -- -- went on I mean it it really does. If you're just now joining us on inside -- we are talking about child abuse prevention and child abuse awareness to -- is here from Child Protective Services. And Molly too late and -- here from cost -- Travis County Somali if somebody is listening and I think hop. I'm maybe could make a difference in the cost of volunteer. What should they now and how can they get in touch which organizations. To get involved. That's I think that anyone can he pick custom volunteer can some rain gauge for the work. That leads you in as if anyone is interested in applying with prosperity can go to web site. The BWW dot -- Travis -- or. And we actually will have our application online as well as additional information if they have any questions regarding the training. Are the requirements. The best thing to do if your interest in becoming a process taking that chance taking that step toward. Because you know it. Child abuse happens in Iraq costs and no community cannot stand in his. Is immune to child abuse entitlement class -- And and so hopefully what we wanted to using -- all of the different communities -- -- Austin Travis. In Austin and Travis County to take part in the healing have that child another. Are are there numbers or are there programs in place where you can re educate apparent that is being an abusive parent as opposed to. Certainly have their we -- -- of terrible child abuse cases where obviously the perpetrators BP is just gonna spent time in prison. Are there enough. Structures in place where you've got a situation where there's ongoing abuse and you can retrain. That parent or parents. And keep that family together he'll -- family or is it really about you know what. It's it's too -- we're too far gone and that's where. I think it really depends from the family dynamics. -- always going to be cases. Where the parents can be retrained. And taught skills that helped them become better parents and be able to. Managed the behaviors with their children that's causing them additional stress. But there's always the parents that are never going to change. If they don't want to. Or it's so ingrained that you're not eating fish and then in a lot of cases there's substance abuse involved. And when that's involved depending on how. -- that situation is unless the parent gets help there. Then things are going to change. So. That the key thing is it. It families need support systems we need services in this community that can help them and all the various ways. And that's one of the things we're trying to do with the programs we have been -- children's shelter but we need more and we need people to advocate for that. Mean they need to reach out to the legislators and say this is important. We really need to exports mainly because these children. Are our future. If we don't help them. Then and we've got a lot of kids do you have an awful lot to deal with and they're not going to be good employees who knocked -- two -- school. They're going to continue to raise their children the same way they were raised in the cycle continues and there's no path to self sufficiency. You know and our event on April 10 at the carver library. Is sort of a one stop shop. If you are listening and you are concerned about child abuse in our community. You may be apparent at risk of possibly even. You know just being so stressed out you're not exactly sure how to react and act with your children. Light of hope is C a great opportunity for you to come out. There's free food there's lots of giveaways family activities and at the same time you can also get information. From both the Austin children's shelter costs of Travis county and a whole host of other community groups who help Child Protective Services. And -- -- hope is coming up on Thursday April 10 from five to seven at the car for library in east Austin. And it's really just a wonderful way to get a lot of information about child abuse and prevention. And it you know -- geared towards families. And parents. That is great to leave the light of hope event at the -- library that's at 1611 Angelina street and that's coming up Thursday April 10. So important to shine a light on child abuse awareness because -- we were talking about earlier. It's every parent is overstressed. And every parent is this struggles with balancing. Bringing home money and managing household and raising. Emotionally and physically healthy children and so when you don't have a good example had a -- that. And you may not -- that you don't have a good example but certainly making sure that children who are in the situation get out and get into a safe place because. As you were saying earlier generally it does perpetuate such a strong cycle and I imagine -- in children -- -- always in need. Of volunteers and probably also Foster family for -- Absolutely because we also have our enough Foster Austin program so we are recruiting and training. -- its share a lot of the same values that we have is that we doing extensive training with them. We or in need of families now so that we can place children and that's how does someone so why I I think I can. The B Foster family what does the next step. I -- orientation and so our next swing is in March and it's on our website in -- and you can go to Austin children's shelter dot org. Or go to Foster an Austin got or -- information about the next orientation is seeking come. It just see if it's something that you really believe he can do you can learn what all is involved in the coming -- Foster parent. But beyond becoming a Foster parent people who don't wanna make quite that commitment that going to help engage in case. We are looking for volunteers in our care academy. And as strong start and we also use volunteers at the shelter in the cottages and they all have to go to. Fairly extensive training quite what casa volunteers student. That they have to be well trained and pass criminal background check and FBI check in its short. So you mentioned the cottages. Can you tell us more about that with a cottages are it's our shelter campus so we have. Five homes and our emergency shelter program there the team -- program in the -- -- -- -- so almost any time. A child isn't an emergency situation and needs to be removed from a place that's unsafe. Austin children's shelters one of the organizations that get involved on the front end yes and so most occurred. Children and -- and we may have mostly. Teenagers that are coming to us now they're coming through Child Protective Services. And so we have a very close relationship with CBS and -- Cops must be tough. However this -- I'm glad to supplement for teenagers in my mind I was thinking that they were under twelve. And I I just can't imagine how. Typical of any age but especially in -- adolescent years. Taken -- your environment and hear it -- -- completely differently now idea and you're struggling yourself to kind of figure out -- you are. -- -- we'll think about teenagers in a healthy home environment. They're going through hormonal changes they're going to be a bit of life changes are trying to figure who they are individually. They're kind of pushing back. And everything gets forced on them anyway and then you get. Kids you may have lived in an abusive or neglect for -- their whole life. And now they're in a shelter in part and it and it's very very difficult for them. But I have talked to a lot of kids are young adults who had been at the shelter and talk about it was the best thing that ever happened to them. And they talk about the shelter with a great deal of fondness I often hear about the cost of volunteers how important they are to them. And the staff who are at the shelter who were trained to listen to them trying to help them. Overcome the obstacles that they face and then it can be. And very daunting and scary thing for a child or young adult to come. To the shelter -- that we do everything in our power to make it feel comfortable and to provide -- with all of the services they need to heal. So you know that you're making a difference absolutely and -- -- DC that in your work. Perhaps -- absolutely. Not just the difference for the kids it's it's interesting to see how the volunteers themselves and transformed over. The course of the year how they start off the case then how they and the case. So confidant. And their work awesome just so moved by the system wanting to do more are whining CU. Work with -- kids a lot of our volunteers to sites you take on another case. After their -- and -- tears are career volunteers. Huge passport cases at a time it's it's just amazing to see the work that the community is willing to do. For these children and it really is an inspiring seeing and age is CA and and the children that don't come back and desist -- CN NA cases where the parents are successful. I believe last year 60% of the children in care were actually reunited with the parent and around 20% of the children where. Reunited with a family member or some type so to know that 80% of our children are ending up back with family and I think that speaks immensely. As a success that we're starting to see as did good work that everyone in the community is doing for these children for these feelings. If you're just not joining us on inside us and we're talking about child abuse prevention and awareness. -- -- and this year she's from -- court appointed special advocates of Travis County. And if you're interested in becoming a casa volunteer check out their website at cost to track this dot board. -- very dependent on the community there at the Molly at tax -- Our financial contributions just as important as being able to volunteer your time absolute. Lee -- -- Simmons finds that there are unable. To volunteered just with. Some other time commitments or maybe they are Foster -- and maybe. They're not able for whatever reason do restrictions to volunteer -- -- they can't of course to donate money on our website we are so will be participating in -- Austin. Coming up an April. And -- are in March sorry -- And that's a time for people to pledge to get money or -- to support -- by letting other people at an Austin community now. -- you know we we need to that financial contribution. Says her as a really great weights you help us out financially. -- Another great way to support -- say is if that person if you know. A business or church or some other -- organization that -- that -- present that to let more people know about the work we do that's another great way to support. To support our volunteer base and and TU outreach of the work week. -- -- delight of hope event coming up in April is that an event that Child Protective Services started to organizer did this come up out of the partnerships that you have. Well it it started as a Child Protective Services. Event. But just like how Child Protective Services work we need. Our community collaborators to also help us in this light of hope event. But it's really simply a family. Gather -- with lots of great activities. Wonderful food and we had so much -- we have -- -- and we had sausage wraps we had cupcakes. I mean we had so much stated we couldn't spent half of -- -- found much there yet it was just wonderful so. And it's from five to seven so working parents can pick up their kids and how many have dinner and then also. Gather information up about child abuse I mean it. It's kind of -- talking about child abuse their sense of having this fun activity or not. Actually celebrating child abuse. We're actually trying to raise awareness to the fact that child abuse happens here in Austin and in Travis County each and every day. And we all need to do something about it. Because children who are abused or neglected. Don't have a voice in the situation. They don't know that what they're living in. Is not safe or normal. And so it's up to the rest of us -- to be their voice. Thinking about the Austin children's shelter and the resources that you of course means they're actually I mean obviously. Volunteers are so important. As well let's Foster families. What else would you like people to know about the office until. And shelter just like -- and many other nonprofits in town. We rely heavily on donor support and -- -- took a shot to we have to raise about 65% of our funding. If the public gets the special offensive through private donations. And corporate support and foundation support. And so for people who want to be involved but maybe they don't. Necessarily want to volunteer don't have the time. Donating is a great way to support what we do and we consider donors are partners because we can't. Duty services without them we provide much more in just a safe place to be providing a lot of services kids need to heal. Plus all of the others up from new programs that we have as well so that is certainly one way and of course volunteering. Becoming an advocate. Spreading awareness you know. And join our collective based pages and share information. -- you're. Community. That is very very help in spreading awareness about child abuse and prevent. You know one thing that's sort of a trend I -- here in Austin and really across the state of Texas and I think Molly mentioned this. Churches have. Gotten together and like. Made it their mission. To help abuse children and so one church made just support one family and fostering -- -- Or a church may decide you know how many families. Want to be respite care givers and so they go through the training and and a whole church may have. You know ten different families who -- just respite care givers in the Foster care system. But churches across. The state. Have have realized that child abuse and child neglect is such a serious issue. Really. Affecting all of us whether we have children in schools because our our children are in school with these children who were being abused and neglected. Our tax dollars are going to help abused children. I mean the list can go on and on but but churches have realized that it if they pick one you know that whether it's it's Austrian whether it's supporting. The church members and becoming costs of volunteers were supporting the children's shelter it it's amazing how many churches have really come forward. And and helped and it it could just be one family from one church but the support is is there. And it really is a success. I -- time and valuable counseling I think. The second that because we have a it Austin children's shelter we have a lot of churches that supports that we have. When Turks to have gathered volunteers to help. Our teens that are transitioning out of -- transitional living program. Begin to move out of their and they take up collections of household items and furniture and they actually moved -- to use. Home and it stay in contact with them afterwards to make sure if they need anything they've got a support system. And we sort of unofficially the shelter are. Continue to be a support system we have a lot of those used to keep coming back I rented to one in our lobby just the other day and he reached out and gave me a -- He comes back just periodically sometimes he needs help sometimes he just he's talked to somebody sometimes just -- to say hi. And it happens a lot but the church's -- are really invaluable. They provide some -- it's a group volunteer activity and provide just a fun activities for the kids. And -- country doing individual. -- worked and providing drones were volunteers. Are. The work that we. And I just sit. -- that really -- the point nine come. Yeah we'd be really do it faith based organizations have been cites an asset to work that we do not only today offered a volunteer. That's cost says there's a volunteer these other organizations that they've also ban. Major contributions in the toy drives that we do. Every year during Christmas time in during the holidays they help out with hygiene giants. Four -- special hair care products and things like that for their children that are in Foster care so. We really depends on them for a lot of the -- at a meeting and it's just amazing. It's very clear that without community involvement these programs simply would not access to man if you are feeling inspired and -- listening to inside Austin today. Please -- you feel free to get involved more information at Austin children's shelter dot org and costs a -- dot board but you. We don't have time yourself personally wanna make a financial gift or. You're thinking about -- more deeper commitment where you can really decent good and make the difference in the life of the child. I hope you will consider volunteering your time. And the light of hope event is coming up April 10 at 5 PM that's at the carver branch library on Angelina street. A wonderful event to really raise awareness of child abuse and helps stop child abuse and Austin now because every child has the right to grow up safe. Ladies I can't thank you enough for being here that you least you immunity from child protective services and Chile efforts from Austin children's shelter and -- -- them from Costa of Travis County thank you so much for giving -- time. Thank you hear me. Back in a moment with more insight Austin. And we're all finished and I want your knee replacement went great and it's all because the deal when -- do you were captain in team debt Weiler told us everything medical history allergies you're asked this tons of questions ha. I guess I did -- on the whole operation did not we could have done it without you. Patient safety he takes a -- message from the American academy of orthopedic surgeons with more -- Or at -- info dot org slash patient safety. Do. Looming financial aid Saturday's. -- you know when I was in school like an absolutely used a lot of help on. How wanted to be able to afford to pay my education. What how I'm coming -- to get financial aid what are the resource as and then. Gilbert it's really amazed to try to figure out why it you need to do and when you need to do it. Tell us about. Financial aid Saturday it's. Well the chambers started the financially Saturday's project back in 2005. And working with us tonight it's the and the focus was on helping families. And parents and students file. For college financially so that they could afford to enroll their student in college. Back then we started off with four events within us and I used the and since then we've scaled. To you about thirty events across fifteen school districts mobilize 500 volunteers trained them. Come from local colleges universities financial aid staff business community volunteers college -- college students business professionals. That we train up to assist families at these events and help them file. A -- or at -- apps is a free application for Federal Student Aid -- Tesla is eight Texas application for student financial aid. And so both populations are slightly different in terms of documents that they file. But we provide assistance on both. And largely because families have a hard time navigating the financial -- process answering questions on the form. That are complicated by factors of income assets. And savings and you know just how to navigate the process. This is like a huge. Undertaking. Of the Austin chamber of commerce and one much needed. How did you go about getting all these volunteers and and training eleven in the seems like a lot of pork. It will part of it is the longevity of the program we started back in 2005. And have built on. Layers since then our volunteer retention rate for the program is about 70% and that's because a lot of the folks come from community awards were colleges. And their profession is to assist students on these ones. How do you get the word out that these. These that the learning is available. So we work with the school districts directly we have about fifteen directors of guidance and counseling come to our -- in college readiness and enrollment support task force meetings. And we eat together with them. A marketing partners. And others plan the events. So weak schedule about six training through volunteers. In this January always it's in January that we start. And the advanced and actually begin until February march once people have had a chance to file their taxes. And have the documents ready that they need to file. If you're just not joining us on inside us and I'm speaking with Gilbert as a volley he's the vice president and education and talent development at the Austin chamber of commerce. We're talking about an important event really series of -- called financial aid Saturday's. These are tools and resources to help parents and their children. Apply for financial aid and figure out that maze of how we're going to pay for college. So -- what can someone expect when they go to a financial -- Saturday and that's. Well we recommend that folks first sign up at financially Saturday's dot org although we do you expect -- you know -- took you're gonna walk in. When they sign up they get a list of documents that they need in order to files that wins it improves your odds that their actually gaining complete if apps -- -- So they get that information they show -- at the event they sign in. They go through a brief financial -- orientation so that they can know what the process is like what they're -- expect. Once they do file. And then they get paired with a volunteer that's can facilitate the -- flatly. And appearance -- the ones actually filling out the information the volunteers facilitating their answering questions. As the family proceeds in the form just in case he gets up. Is there an end come cut off to qualify for financial and that's a great question actually there is no income caught off on this faster. Most folks that apply will get some aid in addition. Folks say well you know. Maybe my income missed you I am upper middle income or tying -- and student. You know has a 529 plan and we'd been saving for college what's the benefit of of applying for this we know we're not gonna get anything. Well that's actually a misconception. One there's no income cut off and two colleges and universities especially selective colleges and universities. Use the -- to not only -- need but also award. Merit and need based scholarships. A lot of colleges also require additional documentation filed along with defense at least the -- elected ones requires CSS profile. In addition to the -- But the family always benefits from finally -- that just because if there is in institutional award. That is not need based or that is merit based. And it's tied to the form they will not get it unless they file. So that's. Really huge because you might be thinking well my child is gonna apply for scholarships over here and grants over there so I need to fill out this paperwork because of whatever income level. Or just general assumptions. What you what you might imagine you're gonna get or not can't measure saying so this fast so form. FA FS day is really important one. Exactly yet it it it's tied to the majority of grants scholarships work study. And other forms of financial aid that can help a family afford college. So what are the benefits and attending a financial aid Saturday. With a benefit is that you get walk through the form you have that assurance that a financial aid officer trained volunteers. Who is able to answer your questions. And give you that impression assistance. Walking through the Fleming gets you to file the right way. A lot of times people fill out the for him and they mistake you houses for assets while on the form the house a house -- house it's not an ass. Just as an example. That's a good one -- How long is the form I remember back in the day when I was playing for finance an atlas long. Yes it's it's about that you know a hundred ish questions but the way that it's changed from the old days where yet fill it out on. On paper it is basically that they've added skip logic to the form. And in addition to that before you had to manually enter your your income taxes now if you. Or file electronically. You can. Actually import your taxes that lowers the chance of air that lowers the chance that you're getting get flagged for were federal -- verification or institutionally. Verification where the college asks you to submit additional documentation. Proving your income. Or proving you know whatever it is that that that they feel. Needs to be audited on the form. That makes it sound much simpler actually means if you could just imported electronically. Yeah average filing time has gone. You know from an hour show to thirty minutes. So is it the kind of scenario where if you say your child is applying to more than one school. Do you have to fill out one form for each school or it's one form does at all. Actually when formed as an all you can submitted if you give your kid is applying to ten different colleges. You indicate what those colleges are on the form. And the -- so will be sent directly to those colleges and in the colleges and once they received the what's called the nicer form from the federal government. They will then apportion both federal state and institutional. Let's say a family goes to the financially Saturday. Can they actually get the whole form done and completed like while they're there are so that when they when they leave. This is like a wait list -- off the shoulders that we you've been watching the farm and everything is done or they're usually some. Some questions that you have to get answered later on the sort of. Cross the t.s and dot the -- yet the vast majority of of families that come -- all -- documentation. Filed taxes. We can get them through that for him you know I'd say about 60% of our attendees actually file of that so. OK so where folks get more information about these financially it's Saturday events when they're happening where they are. Get the whole list of events is listed on our website it's www. Financially Saturday's dot org. Or if for Spanish speakers it it's a -- so -- that -- -- -- would ordered. They can also call our partners at the Texas financial -- information center if they want more information about both the -- filing process and events. And they're number is 18883118880. What would she say to those parents -- -- apple this is again program but I really -- I'm I'm going to be able to file on my what would you recommend them. I'd say eight. Reconsider. Your options you know a lot of people can follow up file on the ground and that's great if we recommend you can get through the process you know how to do it may be had other. Students that have gone through the process of you familiar. That's fantastic you know go ahead and and file we do you recommend that people file before march 15 which is the State's institutionally deadline. The earlier you file the better off you are if you have any questions or any doubts about whether the formal benefit you. And you have a graduating senior where you have questions about filing for aid or a year state aid eligible family and you need to file -- Tesla. Then come out to the event. And will help you and will walk you through it. So the state farm is just if you want your child to go to a school inside the city of Texas has cracked. Not quite. Perhaps covers both federal and state aid. The tasks actually covers aid for Texas resident students that are considered Texas residents that are not eligible for federal -- And those are old bit so a lot of times people call him eligible noncitizens. Wow that's -- little complicated and it's just for work so a lot of students for example. In Texas. Will the undocumented. Ranked. Not a huge number about 1% of those who are enrolled in college now -- about our undocumented. And the state of Texas because these students. Actually graduate from high school their college ready get accepted to college. Provides funding and that funding is tied to this form. It's called the -- OK so that is an important form. If you are residents. Texas okay. But for most Texas residents who are permanent. Permanent residence US citizens. The fast say is the form that they will okay and that if you're applying to schools and Texas and throughout America that forms and it covers it nationally okay. So when are these financially it's Saturday is taking place we try to set the -- that. It's before the state institutionally deadline but our events run from beginning of February -- into our third weekend. Have served over 700 families. And will run through at the end of march OK and that's every single Saturday just about every single Saturday with the exception of spring -- And each is each Saturday event in a different location and and you can find that financially it's Saturday style work. Absolutely we have events all over town we go as far south as San Marcus and his partners as Taylor. We were in round rock last night will be at Lehman high school in -- 1098 where -- idiots to any point in round rock this weekend we're going to be at Austin high and -- And have lots of folks cleared to help. -- this program is such an important. And helpful resource for parents come in and around you know the Austin area we -- this idea come from. At the Austin chamber of commerce in nine of the predators been around since 2005 what was it borne out of. Well it's really about improving educational opportunities and economic opportunities for central Texas. Back in 2005. We did an assessment with a consulting firm and found that we weren't on track. Team continue to grow economically if we couldn't supply the talent. That employers need to grow and succeed in business have a lot of companies that relocate here in their first concern is can we find the talent. So this Saturday's initiative is really part of a larger match regulation in this initiative that's focused on getting. 70%. Direct a college enrollment by 2015. And the reason we do that is just as an example this past quarter we had 44000. Unemployed central Texans but 34000. Job openings most of those job openings required. & Associates degree or bachelor's degree or specialized training like in a trade wars certificate for networking for programming. So -- this forum is a conduit for funding. For families to afford the training they need. Not only to better their education but also improve their ability to compete in a rapidly growing global. Economy how soon should they think about attending a financially it's Saturday if you have a freshman in high school is that too soon. Yes absolutely. However you should start planning and budgeting for how your students can pay for college. And I would say between freshman year in your junior year that is planning an exploration phase. Once you hit your senior year that's when you wanna make sure that you're -- file your taxes early so that you can auto import that into the -- that. And finally -- As soon as possible a lot of families -- till after taxes but that is after the State's institutional big deadline. And so a lot of family say well you know I know so and so and they filed and they didn't get anything well that's because they're filing between June and December. About 60%. Of Austin families file a faster between June and December. Only 45%. File in first quarter. So there's a huge need and what happens is people file once they get the tuition bill. We you wanna file wave before that regardless of whether you think you're gonna get any funding because you will for sure not get funding if you don't file on time. Absolutely makes perfect sense. So the thing to do if you're interested in attending a financial aid Saturday program is -- financial -- Saturday's dot org dare you can register for an event. Gilbert what's documents should parents plan to bring with them. So we recommend they bring the students list of colleges that that. You know the scenes intending on and enrolling -- that they were they've applied we'll also recommend that you know. People that another student Social Security number bring the Social Security card bring the parents Social Security card. Bring your 2013 tax return. If you have not done. You're 2013 taxes you can still file based on a 2012 estimate the take relieve your income didn't change. So you can bring your 2012 tax return. And do an estimate on there and I'll let you get through the process. Once you do file which would recommend again to file taxes ASAP as soon as possible before march 15. Or at very least for march 31 so -- keep an auto import that tax information into the -- If you're just enjoying a sunny and -- Austin I'm speaking with Gilbert so volley he's the vice president of education and talented element. The Austin chamber of commerce and we're talking specifically about a program -- chamber of commerce created called financial aid Saturday's. Gilbert way I can tell you how I'm struck at what a wonderful and important resource this is for parents. Is there anything else that you would like folks to know about financially Saturday's dot org and how they can take advantage of this. Well I think a lot of families Maine for example that have all of their documents ready years anything you know. I'm not ready to file to -- yet. We can get -- at least started on the process so if you don't have all of your forms and you have questions about the financial aid process that you have a student. That is intending on enrolling in college whether it's a community college like ACC year four year university. Cannot to the events regardless of whether or not you have only -- documents. Willie answer your questions will get you started on the form and if you need additional help to walk you through the process. We are able to do that at either a future event or right there on the spot. Gilbert for someone who isn't as computer savvy. And maybe doesn't have Internet access is her phone number where they can get all the same stuff done absolutely they can call our partners at the Texas financial -- information senator. And there are hotline number is 18088. 311. 8881. And infect their doing a statewide telephone series of events this week and their -- having extended hours all the waiting 10:30 PM. People can call. If they have questions about applying to college if they have questions about applying for aid they can even call if they need to be walked -- that registration process for financially Saturday's. Which by the way super easy all it is is yet year email pitcher named select your site. And you're registered in all about a minute. So. If folks don't have Internet access at home and they have questions about the financial aid process they can still call that hotline and get. Either walk through the form their questions -- answered. And get the help they need right away in English and Spanish and the number again is 18883118881. That's helpful because sometimes -- just wanna get something done over the phone and talk to a live person and it's harder to come by these days. So that hotline number again in case the Internet is not you -- saying is 88831. Line 8881. Gilbert I thank you so much for being here and making time to share this information. Financial aid Saturday's dot org is the website if you have a child that is a senior. You're getting ready for school and you're looking for some help in navigating the maze that is the financial inform. I hope you'll go to financially Saturday's dot org and take advantage of this wonderful program the Austin chamber of commerce together killer -- -- Thank you. Thanks for listening to inside Austin. For too many parents of baby's first steps aren't just a milestone. In a miracle. Made it possible volunteers like you who walked in March -- The money you greens on three states and local programs that help people overcome the challenges a preacher turned and turned to. Sign up today and march for babies stop going to take the steps of the company milestones. And even miracles. For thousands of feet.