In 2019, Child Protective Services placed 17,039 children in foster care in North Carolina. This number has been increasing every year for the last decade. During my 10+ years working with Crossnore, I have witnessed that, no matter how much you care and how high quality your services may be, foster care placement is still traumatic for children. Being a part of these stories, and seeing the desire of all children to have family connection, brought about an intense passion for my current and newest assignment at Crossnore: Prevention.
Focusing on prevention
Prevention services target efforts to reduce residential foster care placement. These services strengthen natural family systems and reduce risk of child abuse and neglect. Let’s face it, parenting is hard work; all the more during the last year. Family distress and conflict is inevitable, but when these problems escalate, more resources and supports can help.
In Crossnore’s efforts to develop the best family preservation, we set out on a mission to find the best evidenced-based programs to meet the needs of these children and their families. Crossnore formed a prevention workgroup – made up of a fantastic group of therapists, directors, foster care workers, and other passionate staff members to – explore and identify the best place for Crossnore to begin. We will first focus on those highest risk of family separation, as well as our children in residential foster care programs who plan to be reunited with their families.
Homebuilders is a short term, 4 to 6 week service that provides intensive, focused support and interventions for families at imminent risk of separation. It also serves families being reunified with their children who have been in foster care placement. Homebuilders Practitioners work with children and families in their home approximately 10 hours per week, during the most high-needs periods of their day and with 24/7 crisis support.
In a variety of research studies over the last few decades, children who benefited from Homebuilders services were able to stay with their families between 74 and 94% of the time. Families sustained changes in the home and avoided foster care placement at both 6 and 12 month follow-ups. It is best for children to be raised by their own families whenever possible. And all families have the ability to grow and change. Homebuilders will help with these goals.
Motivating families and instilling hope
Homebuilders Practitioners are there to motivate families and instill hope. Practitioners partner with families to structure environments in the home and learn effective problem-solving strategies. They improve communication, and teach new skills to help the family stay safe and together. After all, that is what children long for.
Crossnore is excited to be offering Homebuilders services within our Triad community (Forsyth County and surrounding areas) beginning June 2021. And we have plans to offer additional prevention services in the near future. Crossnore is proud to continue expanding its wide continuum of services to meet the needs of all children. This includes those who are able to stay with their families and those who need an alternative safe place to call home. With a new focus on prevention efforts, we are hopeful that more children are able to stay with their families. Ane we hope that foster care placement in North Carolina can be reduced for the first time in a decade.
Crossnore is so thankful for a donation of $1.3M gift from longtime Winston-Salem resident, Elizabeth M. Strickland, that will fund our Homebuilders program for its first year. For more information on this new prevention services program, contact Angela Squire at firstname.lastname@example.org.