What is the Children’s Home?
The Children’s Home is a private non-profit NYS corporation licensed by the NYS Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) to serve at-risk children from Dutchess County and the Hudson River Region.
Why do children come to the Home?
Nearly all have suffered abuse or neglect. Family histories may include domestic violence, abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, unemployment, homelessness, and criminal involvement. Most children have learning problems, and all have emotional problems.
They are referred by the local Departments of Social Services, and their placements and plans are approved by the Family Court.
Are the children orphans?
There are very few orphans anywhere today. We do, however, have children looking for adoptive families. Generally, they are older children, pre-adolescent and adolescent, and have some behavioral and learning problems. They can be very rewarding children for parents who understand and can work with their special needs.
How old are your children?
The Home serves boys and girls from birth to age 21 through seven different programs; Campus Residential, Group Emergency Foster Care, Young Mothers Program, Agency Boarding Homes, Foster and Therapeutic Foster Homes, and Supervised Independent Living. The average age in most programs is 15.
Are there many children who need services?
Our total capacity for all programs is about 95. We generally have 90 children in care on any given day. In fiscal year 2014 we served 300 children.
How long do the children stay at the Home?
The average stay is about 9 months, with children often returning to their own family or a foster family. Children who come to the Home as teenagers tend to remain longer, working toward a goal of independence. The Group Emergency Foster Care Program is a shorter term program of about 30 days.
What are the goals of your program?
Our primary goal is to return children to their own families, or if this isn’t possible, discharge to a relative or adoptive family, or to independent living. An individual plan is developed for each child and family to return them to a stable and productive community life.
What services do you provide to children and families?
We provide traditional mental health and social casework services. Included are individual and group therapy, play therapy, family therapy, parenting skills training, foster family training and adoptive counseling. We provide regular health services to each child, a structured recreation program and supplemental education. We teach independent living skills. We assist families in working with other agencies, such as schools, clinics, and courts. We provide planning, diagnostic and evaluation services for the child and his family. In 2011, the Children’s Home introduced a Facility Service Dog to the therapeutic process and today, Ace, a golden retriever, is part of the Home’s treatment team.
Are you successful in helping children?
Our studies show that within 5-9 months of receiving therapeutic care and services, the number of high risk behaviors exhibited by a youth drops dramatically. We see some youth become successfully established in the community with stable employment, and some who are successfully reunited with their families after months of individual and family therapy. We also place many children annually in foster or adoptive homes.
Do you help children after they leave?
Yes. After children return to their families we initially visit weekly, then bi-weekly, and are available for emergencies and phone contact at any time for a period of six months. Children going to independence may be assisted for extended periods if need exists.
Do families pay anything?
The Children’s Home does not charge families for the care received at the Home.
Where do your funds come from?
The Children’s Home enters into contracts with the County Departments of Social Services to provide child and family care services. The rate for these services is set by OCFS. This rate covers approximately 92% of the costs. The remaining 8% is obtained through private sources and fund raising.
Why do you need to raise funds?
Government funding covers about 92% of the actual cost of care. We need additional funds to ensure children receive the best care possible. These funds provide for enhanced services to children, including additional social workers, childcare staff, and our facility service dog. Funds also support the children’s activities, special services to families, enhanced services to youth transitioning to independence, and facilities maintenance.