Second-year student Courtney Heptig is working as a Permanency Specialist with Our Community Our Kids (OCOK), a division of ACH Child and Family Services located in Fort Worth, Texas.
OCOK oversees foster care services for seven counties in North Texas. The organization is currently responsible for implementing a new pilot method of providing foster care services in Texas through Community-Based Care, a performance-based method seeking to improve the system by providing regions with more flexibility and authority over the services they provide.
OCOK’s goals include maintaining the safety of children that are in the organization’s care, placing children in homes that are no farther than 50 miles from their original communities, reducing the number of moves children make between foster homes, and concentrating on keeping sibling groups together whenever possible.
Heptig is responsible for the case management of children removed by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the Johnson County region. She monitors all aspects of care for children and youth placed in kinship or foster homes. Additionally, she is responsible for the planning and coordination of required services for the families of children in her caseload.
Heptig is also working with OCOK on her final Capstone project, which involves creating a comprehensive resource list of free service providers in the counties served by ACH.
Last summer, Heptig completed her International Public Service Project with Heifer International and Cargill’s Hatching Hope Global Initiative, which empowers poultry farmers to sustain their livelihoods and nourish their communities. She coordinated with communications teams in India, Kenya, and Mexico to create a project dashboard and knowledge repository for the Hatching Hope project.
During the 2019-20 academic year, Heptig and a team of first-year students partnered with Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas to identify current trends, existing support services, and gaps in services while recommending best practices to develop a response plan for child sex trafficking in Arkansas.
Heptig is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in international studies. Before enrolling at the Clinton School, she worked as a Volunteer Recruitment Specialist with the American Red Cross and an Education Specialist with the Recovery Resource Council. As a Peace Corps member, she traveled to Ecuador as a Youth and Family Development volunteer.
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