GARLAND, Texas — On North Texas Giving Day, a Garland mom hopes you will consider helping the estimated 20,000 Texas families like hers relying on proven support to break the cycles of poverty, abuse, and neglect.
I met Megan Farrar for a socially distanced interview in the backyard of her Garland home. Her yard was filled with the toys of a little girl, her 4-year-old named Daphne.
"I am enamored with life with my daughter," Farrar said.
But she fears it could have been much different.
"I had a very exploratory raging 20s," she admitted. "And was in a period of recovery when I found out I was pregnant."
She was 30, unmarried, and says she came from a family that hadn't taught her what to expect. Megan's own mom was just 20 years old when Megan was born, the third of three children.
"My mom was a victim of early childhood trauma," she said. "I really didn't know what the future of being a mom held for me. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to know how to take care of my daughter."
Sophie Phillips and the organization Tex Protects offered a solution.
"75 to 80% of child abuse is really neglect," said Phillips, the CEO of Tex Protects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children.
The nonprofit, through a variety of different partnerships and programs, helps more than 20,000 Texas families break those cycles of abuse and neglect. In Megan's case, they connected her with the Nurse Family Partnership.
"The great thing about Megan's story is that through the Nurse Family Partnership program she was able to be mentored when she had a very young baby. And break that inter-generational cycle of abuse and neglect," Phillips said.
Through the program, a visiting nurse helps prepare a young mom and then continues to make regular visits after the child is born for up to two years.
"Nurse Family Partnership gave me the confidence to be a mom," Farrar said. "Parenthood in itself is like walking into a dark room. And the nurse being there was like a flashlight shining the path for me to go."
"We have to make the case this legislative session that protecting our investments is absolutely critical," said Phillips. "We could potentially realize increases in child abuse and neglect and potential increases in foster care if we don't mitigate those increased risks that we know COVID-19 has contributed to these dynamics and households."
By the way, you'll notice someone is missing from this story.
Daphne, a 4-year-old reading above her grade level and involved in remote learning for her pre-K class, told her mom she didn't want to be on TV. She had studying and work to do.
"So I will support her decision," her proud mom said, with a laugh.
And now, as a parent ambassador for the Nurse Family Partnership, Megan Farrar will support the decision to fight for programs that Tex Protects supports: for the next mom and the next daughter like her own.
"I didn't expect two people to be born that day, my daughter and myself born anew....for sure."