Call it the next step on the path to recovery. While the first goal of each residential program at Bashor Children's Home is restoring the family unit and the parent-child relationship, experience has unfortunately demonstrated it is not always a realistic outcome. There are times when a boy or girl simply cannot go home again. As a result, Bashor has recently added foster care to its list of services.
"Our goal is simple. We take kids who are on our campus here, find foster homes for them and support those foster homes," President/CEO Don Phillips says of the year-old program. "We provide whatever help is needed. They're going have the backup, support and assistance of our entire organization."
Program Director Jessica Lala explains, "When kids are finished with their treatment, many times their parents' rights have been terminated. There are other times when we need to do family counseling and we need time to bring kids and their parents back together."
Under the Bashor plan, foster parents are recruited and trained to be program specific. Young men and women who emerge from the Substance Abuse Program will be matched with foster parents who have extensive training in substance abuse issues. Boys from the HOPE program will be placed in homes where the foster parents have been educated in their specific issues. The same template will be used for each residential treatment program.
Strong recruiting is key the program's success. While the need for foster care has grown considerably during the past few years, the number of people interested in accepting the challenge has declined.
"We really count on the faith community to step up and answer the call," says Vince Turner, vice president of development and public relations. "I visit churches on a regular basis and people are always asking, 'What can I do? I can't make large donations but I want to be a part if things. How can I make a difference?' This is certainly something people should consider."
Phillips adds, "People will say, 'I'm a single parent. 'People will say, 'We're not the perfect family.' People will say, 'We're not wealthy. We don't have a fancy home.' All of those reasons don't matter to a child."
Lala says, "We're all like the parable in the Bible with a mustard seed. You plant that little mustard seed in a child's life and it can grow. I really encourage people to just be that mustard seed in any of these young lives because you never know how much it's going to grow."
For more information on the foster care program, log on to the Bashor Web site at www.bashor.org or call Jessica Lala at 574-875-5117 and ask for an informational DVD on foster care.