Providing Hope & Healing – Christine Snow

Tucked away in a quiet Denton neighborhood just south of the University of North Texas is Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home, a campus-like facility that since 1904 has been helping children in foster care.
It features a number of critical programs primarily for youth ages 11-17 who live in Denton, Dallas, and Tarrant counties. All have been overseen for the past three years by Lantana resident and chief programs officer Christine Snow. They include emergency services such as short-term shelter, longer-term foster care, plus a new initiative called Student Independent Living that provides housing options for young adults aging out of the typical care. CPCH also assists single-parent families with living facilities allowing parents to be more self-sufficient.
“Cumberland has a great reputation in the community,” Snow said. “It’s been in the community for a long time. It’s really exciting because I think we can grow and serve more people in the community.”
As a licensed clinical social worker and childcare/child-placing administrator, Snow has spent more than two decades focused on the welfare of teens and other children. She started in child protective services in her native Colorado before moving to Texas in 2002 when she joined CASA Family Services. She later worked for Catholic Charities in Fort Worth, CPCH, the Denton Independent School District, plus ACH Child and Family Services in Fort Worth before rejoining CPCH in 2019, the same time she and her family moved to Lantana from south Denton.
“For some reason, I’ve ended up working with teens,” she said. “It’s one of those groups where you either really like them or you don’t. I really like teens.”
“A lot of foster homes want to work with the littler kids. It’s a little bit harder when you work with kids who aren’t so cute and small anymore. You want to help them and guide them to help them overcome some of the challenges they face – abuse or neglect that they’ve experienced. They’ve been alone in the world and here at Cumberland we give them a place where they feel they belong and have support and help them be successful as adults.”
CPCH finds out about needy youth through Texas Department of Family Protective Services referrals. In some cases, parental rights have been terminated and stay at CPCH until they are adopted or in foster care. Other times parents still have rights and are trying to do what they can with the courts to get their kids back.
“We do offer family counseling to help the kids get home,” Snow said.
Some kids stay temporarily while others are more long-term. The campus can house 22 kids in their emergency treatment shelter and related services. Another 14 can be accommodated in the Student Independent Living program – SIL for short – which is for those who decide to stay in foster care up until age 22. They live independently but have the support of case managers, counselors and others.
“The statistics for kids who leave foster care at 18 are not very good,” said Snow, who supervises a clinical director, director of programs, and director of single-parent family programs. “They end up homeless or in jail or unemployed. Most kids aren’t completely ready to be on their own at 18. We just hope to be that bridge for them to get into adulthood.”
“To be in extended foster care they have to be working or in school. We’re able to continue providing them housing. And we’re in a great location being so close to both UNT and TWU. And we have a great partnership with NCTC.”
Snow and her bosses hope to expand community counseling and eventually license foster homes in the community. To better reflect what they actually do, CPCH is changing its name to Cumberland Youth and Family Services.
“It kind of goes along with our current strategic plan with how we’re growing,” Snow said. “Our current name makes us sound like we work with little kids first and we’re really working with teens. And we’re expanding to not just residential things for kids.”

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