Watch this video about the Faith Leader Summit and share it with your friends and congregation.

The 2016 Texas Faith Leader Summit was held on Wednesday, November 2, at the State Capitol Building in Austin, Texas. More than 250 faith and lay leaders explored ways that communities can work alongside of the State of Texas and Child Protective Services to assist foster youth and families.

Special Guest Speakers

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
State of Texas

First Lady Cecilia Abbott

The first Hispanic First Lady in Texas history has devoted her life to serving others - in education, health care, the arts, and more. She has been married to Governor Greg Abbott for 35 years. [learn more]

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
State of Texas

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Elected in 2014, Dan Patrick is calling for a faith-based collaboration to help children who are involved, or at risk of becoming involved, with the foster care system. [learn more]

Texas Senator Charles Schwertner
Texas Senate

Senator Charles Schwertner

Elected to the Senate in 2012, this sixth-generation Texan serves District 5 including Georgetown, Bryan/College Station, and Huntsville. He is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. [learn more]

Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman
Texas Supreme Court

Justice Eva Guzman

Now in her 15th year on the bench, Justice Guzman was the first Hispanic woman elected to state-wide office in Texas when she ran in 2010. She is Chair of the Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. [learn more]

HHSC Executive Commissioner Charles Smith
Health and Human Services Commission

Executive Commissioner Charles Smith

Gov. Abbott selected Charles Smith to lead HHSC in 2016. He previously served as deputy for child support at the Office of the Attorney General. [learn more]

DFPS Commissioner H.L. "Hank" Whitman, Jr.
Department of Family & Protective Services

Commissioner H.L. "Hank" Whitman, Jr.

A former Chief of the Texas Rangers, Hank Whitman was named DFPS Commissioner in 2016 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. [learn more]

Bishop Aaron Blake, Sr.
Harvest Family Life Ministry

Bishop Aaron Blake, Sr.

Bishop Blake, who leads the Greater Faith Community Church in Brownwood, and his wife, Mary, launched the Harvest Family Life Ministry in 2003. [learn more]

About the Summit

Now more than ever, faith communities are involved in the care and well-being of children and families involved in the child welfare system. Congregations provide lasting support through outreach, prevention services and recruitment of foster and adoptive parents. They also can help children safely reunify with their parents. The faith communities' ongoing partnership with the State is crucial to the health and safety of Texas' children.

With the 2016 Texas Faith Leader Summit ( we explored ways to join together to help Texas children and families.


  • Opportunities for Congregations to Engage with Families
  • Collaborating with Local Community Partners
  • Preventing Families From Entering the Foster Care System


Registration is closed.

When & Where

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Texas State Capitol Building
1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
map / parking