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mediapronow, Author at Methodist Childrens Home Society,
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Resources To Help You Provide A Safe Environment For Your Infant

Resources To Help You Provide A Safe Environment For Your Infant

Posted On : 9/24/2020

Resources To Help You Provide A Safe Environment For Your Infant

September is National Baby Safety Month. At MCHS, we provide services and resources to ensure families have a safer and brighter future. Infancy is a very crucial developmental stage in a child’s life. As a foster parent, accepting an infant placement can be wonderful, yet overwhelming. MCHS is here to assist with resources to help provide a safe, healthy and happy environment for your baby. 

MCHS Detroit Resource Center

In April 2019, we opened the doors to our satellite office in the Durfee Innovation Society. Our Detroit office focuses on providing prevention and community programs. Additionally, our Detroit Resource Center is open and provides families with essential infant supplies at no cost. Families are encouraged to call ahead to speak with our prevention specialist to discuss needs and availability. With minimal paperwork and no limit to how many times a family can access our center, we are happy to assist families with access to vital infant resources. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about our Detroit Resource Center. 

Donors 

Becoming a licensed foster family through MCHS gives you access to our thousands of generous donors who are eager to help our foster children and families. Our donors continue to step up when asked to assist a family in big ways! Foster families who need assistance are encouraged to share with their caseworkers work internally to connect with donors. Our amazing community of donors have provided financial support, medication expenses, in-kind items both large and small (even mattresses!) to ensure foster families have the support they need to build stronger families. 

Early On & Infant Mental Health (IMH)

MCHS ensures all of our foster families with foster children from infancy to six years of age receive a referral to Early On/IMH to determine if they qualify for any additional services and support. The Early On/IMH programs are designed to help families find the social, health and educational services that will promote the development of the young child(ren) they care for. 

Nutrition Resources

Infant formula and food can be expensive! The average family will spend nearly $1,800 each year providing formula for one baby. There are resources available to help you supplement your income to provide nutritious options for your child(ren). 

  • WIC
    WIC is a federally funded program through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) providing supplemental nutrition services to low-income pregnant women and children under five years of age. WIC is a great resource for families who need financial assistance and want to learn how to provide safe and healthy meals to foster a healthy baby. 
     
  • Produce Boxes 
    Becoming a licensed foster home at MCHS grants you access to resources secured through our community partnerships. We are proud to partner with The Eastern Market Partnership to provide our foster families with produce boxes filled with nutritious fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan. Each box differs from the last and gives families the produce they need to complete tasty and healthy meals. *This is a seasonal offering and will only continue while supplies last.

Clothing Resources 

As cute as baby clothing can be, it can also add up as infants experience rapid growth compared to adults!. There are resources available to foster families with infants looking for help with procuring infant clothing. 

  • Clothing Closets 
    Foster Care Closets provide clothing, shoes, bed linens, safe infant equipment and more to children in foster care at no cost. Our Foster Care team can provide a full list of local organizations that offer this assistance. 
     
  • Clothing Allowances
    For licensed foster families who take a child placement with little or no clothing, the State of Michigan will provide an initial clothing allowance to help foster parents purchase clothing. In addition, foster families receive a semi-annual clothing allowance in the spring and fall. At MCHS, our foster families can connect with their case worker at any time to request more assistance from MCHS and our amazing community of donors. 

To learn more about the resources we can provide, CLICK HERE or contact Juliana Rodriguez at jrodriguez@mchsmi.org.

Creating An Academic Environment At Home

Creating An Academic Environment At Home

Posted On : 9/14/2020

Creating an Academic Environment at Home

The school year is underway as students, parents and teachers adjust to the temporary normal of virtual learning. At Fostering Leadership Academy (FLA), families are given flexible learning options to cater to their needs. Whether students attend school in person or participate virtually, FLA provides individualized learning plans to meet the unique needs of each student. In honor of National Online Learning Day (September 15), read our blog for tips on how to create an environment at home that supports virtual learning. Remember – this is a “new normal” for all of us! 

Develop a Consistent Routine and Schedule 

It can be difficult for children to subscribe to a school routine at home. Developing a virtual learning schedule that works for your family can help facilitate an academic environment at home. When developing your schedule, make sure to factor in everyone at home who may be helping with virtual learning. Schedules should include time for recess, lunch and wellness breaks to allow your child to rest and exercise throughout the day and will help keep them focused. At FLA, recess and meditation are built into the schedule to encourage rest and relaxation. 

Have a Dedicated Work Space 

Take time to dedicate an area of your home to class time. Your child’s space should:

  • Be well lit. Lighting is important and helps kids stay alert and focused.
  • Have upright seating. It’s easy for children to want to relax at home. Seating them at a table with a chair will help them stay engaged in their virtual lessons. 
  • Be free of distractions. Find a space in your home that is free from televisions, video games and high-traffic areas of your home. 
  • Be engaging. Incorporate visual learning aids around your child’s workspace. Visit your local teacher store, office supply store or dollar store to find engaging aids to add.

Stock up on Supplies

Pens, pencils and folders — oh my! Having all of the necessary supplies at home will ensure your child is prepared for virtual learning. Your child’s teacher can provide a list of supplies appropriate for their grade level and needs throughout the school year. Students at FLA, whether attending virtually or in-person, are given a free backpack full of the supplies they need to have a successful year.

Consistent Communication

It’s important to develop great communication with your child(ren)’s teachers. Consistently check in with your child and communicate any needs or concerns with their teacher. If your child is struggling, your teacher will be able to provide additional support and resources to ensure that your child does not fall behind. 

Virtual learning is new to most families. If a personal situation arises or a major shift in the household occurs, be encouraged to disclose that information with your child’s instructor so they can understand changes in your child’s behavior or progress. Families and teachers should be transparent and in close contact with each other to develop trust and healthy relationships to have a successful school year. FLA staff lead with empathy and understand that shifts are a part of life. Speak with your child’s instructors about your child’s needs and any concerns you have. 

Keep Track of Online Resources & Login Information

In the age of virtual learning, students and parents are required to engage with their teachers online, which requires a great understanding of technology. To help tackle the technology side of virtual education: 

  • Bookmark frequently-visited websites. Make sure to bookmark the websites that your child will be required to visit often. This will make it easier for you to quickly find the websites you need.
  • Keep track of login information. Many of the online resources and education platforms will require a username and password to gain access. It can become overwhelming to remember the login information for you and your child(ren). Create a document or download an app that stores all of the login information for easy access.
  • Take time to watch tutorials. Each online platform is different and has its own set of challenges. Take some time to sit down with your family and review the “how-to” tutorials that walk through troubleshooting and fixing issues that may arise. If the website does not have this information you likely can find a video on YouTube that can help you with any technical issues. 

Virtual learning is a great option for families who require flexibility and prefer to remain socially-distanced in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or a peer is interested in a school that offers both virtual and in-classroom options, CLICK HERE to learn more about Fostering Leadership Academy. We hope to hear from you!

Online Resources To Help Facilitate Virtual Learning At Home

Online Resources To Help Facilitate Virtual Learning At Home

Posted On : 9/24/2020

Online Resources To Help Facilitate Virtual Learning At Home

In this temporary new normal, families are finding themselves facilitating learning at home. Virtual learning can be overwhelming and many parents have to balance work in addition to their child’s schooling. Read our blog for online resources to help ease the challenges of virtual learning. 

At FLA, we offer families the option to attend school virtually or in-person. For students who attend school virtually, teachers actively engage and provide a tailored learning experience to meet the individual needs of each student. FLA staff understand the importance of consistent communication with families and building a strong relationship to foster growth and development.

Here are other great resources that can supplement at-home learning!

National Geographic Kids

National Geographic has been providing great educational content for children for decades! Their website has great tools and resources for your child(ren) to engage and have fun! CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Scholastic Learn at Home

For years, Scholastic has provided literary resources for families. Over the years they have adapted their offerings to meet the needs of children, parents and teachers. Scholastic continues to be a great resource for children’s literature. Now, Scholastic offers a Learn At Home monthly subscription service for families who need instant access to resources and experiences tailored by age. For $5.99 per month, families can access the resources they need to help guide their children’s academic progress at home. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

BrainPop

BrainPop provides great online tools and resources to help keep your children engaged and excited about learning. Their wide range of educational videos and games makes it fun to learn! The website provides content for each subject and includes resources to help English Language Learners. Parents can also access BrainPop Jr. for information for students in grades kindergarten through third grade. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Khan Academy

Khan Academy Kids is a free, fun and educational program designed to inspire young children to become learners for life. The robust Khan Academy Kids curriculum and original content make learning engaging and fun for children ages two to seven. While most early learning apps focus on a narrow skill, this free program contains a breadth of learning materials across math, language arts, and social-emotional learning, aligned to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and Common Core. CLICK HERE to learn more. 

To learn more about Fostering Leadership Academy, CLICK HERE.

MCHS, Fostering Leadership Academy & The Journey To Being Truly “Trauma-Informed”

MCHS, Fostering Leadership Academy & The Journey To Being Truly “Trauma-Informed”

Posted On : 8/24/2020

MCHS, Fostering Leadership Academy & The Journey To Being Truly “Trauma-Informed,”

At MCHS, we’re committed to creating a truly trauma-informed community. But what does that mean? It’s no secret that the children and families we serve have survived significant trauma in ways that most of us couldn’t fathom. As an organization dedicated to serving their needs and creating brighter futures for each and every family we come across, this means that every interaction must be trauma-informed. From our youth specialists, clinical therapists, social workers all the way to our development and finance staff, MCHS is committed to teaching our entire community how to best serve our youth and stop the ongoing trauma that vulnerable communities face generation to generation. 

Trauma does not have one look, shape or form. It resurfaces at unexpected times and lingers the span of a lifetime, sometimes quietly and sometimes painfully loud. We know that children who’ve survived trauma develop mental, emotional and cognitive setbacks as a result of self-protection and defense. We know that trauma can hinder a child’s ability to form deep, loving connections — for their only experience with the love of a parent comes with the burn of abuse or neglect. We know that trauma significantly impacts a child’s ability to learn in a traditional school setting. And we know that trauma continues to transform and surprise even the experts. This is why we call it a journey, not a destination. 

That’s also why we’re breaking ground on Michigan’s first true trauma-informed K-8 charter school, Fostering Leadership Academy. We kick off our inaugural academic year on September 8 for grades 6-8 at our Kresge building. Accredited by and partnered with Grand Valley State University, we know that the need for trauma-informed education is so great in our area that this model is just the beginning. Principal Abby Stewart leads the staff at FLA with trauma-informed curriculum, small class sizes and individual learning plans. Each student’s education path must be as different as his or her thumbprint because we know that education is not one-size-fits-all, especially in a pandemic. The staff is trained in restorative practices, positive behavior interventions and empathy rather than control. FLA goes below the surface to understand why behaviors are happening rather than punishing behavior for happening. In short, at FLA, the staff listens. Every child, regardless of their past, deserves the opportunity to an education that works for them. 

To learn more about our journey to becoming truly trauma-informed and how you can support, contact info@mchsmi.org. 

Educators Need Tools To Help Children Deal With Trauma

Educators Need Tools To Help Children Deal With Trauma

Posted On : 12/20/2019

Educators Need Tools To Help Children Deal With Trauma

On days like today, the sadness haunts me. A new boy was arriving to our residential program with a trash bag stuffed with all his earthly possessions, including his favorite sweatshirts and a thick case file filled with trauma. Beaten, neglected and adrift, this 10-year-old had been taken from opioid-addicted parents and sent to our tree-lined campus in Redford. We can’t fathom what he has witnessed and experienced in his short life. But we know that his reading level is grades behind his peers, and he has a long track record of behavioral problems.

Already facing stiff odds due to the trauma he’s survived, as well as being in the foster care system, this boy faces an education system that doesn’t understand what he’s gone through.

At Methodist Children’s Home Society, we see this too often. Which is why we are calling for schools that better serve children that have been impacted by trauma.

The Michigan education system is failing kids like ours and thousands of others across the state. As Rochelle Riley wrote in her seminal series for the Detroit Free Press, “It is past time for officials in Lansing and in every school district to stop putting Band-Aids on cancer. We need to stop reacting and start acting.”

Currently, our schools lack the training and understanding to help these children learn and grow because we’ve failed to understand what trauma does to a child and failed to combat the issue with sensible, caring policies. What southeast Michigan requires are schools equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to serve children who are wounded by the trauma that permeates many aspects of their lives.

Take for a minute a child whose parent turns the rage of their lives into clenched fists, battering the child, leaving with them bruises, black eyes and broken bones. Imagine the child whose trust is betrayed by a friend’s parent, assaulting them in ways they cannot understand. And then think of the child whose memories loop a torrent of hateful words from someone who’s supposed to love them.

Every year, there are more than 200,000 child maltreatment cases in our state in addition to the many other traumatic circumstances a child might be exposed to. It’s a problem that’s getting far worse rather than better. Trauma manifests itself in both physical and mental forms and is likely to persist so fervently that it affects the ability to learn and focus. It materializes when a child falls behind in school, when a child misbehaves at school, and when a child misses school.

In her series, Riley wrote about a third-grade boy named Michael who explained his absence to a teacher by saying he had died over the weekend. The flummoxed teacher discovered later that the boy’s brother had tried to kill himself — again. “And Michael witnesses it,” Riley wrote. “Again.” 

How can we expect Michael to concentrate on books, when he’s fighting for survival?

At MCHS, we’re constantly ask, “What happened to you?” versus “What’s wrong with you?” Imagine if our schools did the same. Children of trauma need smaller classes with teachers trained to deal with tragedy. They need teams of social workers in every school. Their schools need to be transformed into communities of caring, where every child has an adult at school trained to help them cope. 

On days like today, when the sadness haunts me, I find strength in the resilience of the children we served at Methodist Children’s Home Society. We will channel that power and inspiration into a campaign to create a better school system to serve and educate traumatized children. We must turn tragedy and hopelessness to bright futures. Because the boys and girls keep coming with their trash bags and tragic baggage — and they deserve better from our community. 

CLICK HERE to read on the Detroit Free Press. 

Finding A New Normal

Finding A New Normal

Posted On : 6/2/2020

Finding A New Normal

More than a hundred years ago, when MCHS was founded in the response to a global pandemic, our founding mothers advocated for social justice and issues of race and gender equality. We mourn that more progress has not been made. We stand united and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in calling for system reform and justice for all Americans.

The vicious death of George Floyd was beyond tragic, but not uncommon. And while we mourn Mr. Floyd’s passing, along with Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and Sah’Tea Grady El, they join in a long line of those who have died due to the color of their skin. 

The protests we see around the country aren’t just about policy brutality, but a criminal injustice system built on systematically oppressing and preventing Black Americans from experiencing the American dream. Because when we generally think of the American dream, we think of it in shades of white. And so through systematic and deliberate actions that looked at police profilingsentencing disparitiesthe selective enforcement of drug lawsjury selection, and the death penalty to just name a few, our country has suppressed Americans due to the color of their skin. This even shows up in middle schools where the Brown Center on Education Policy found that the suspension rates of black students were fives time more likely than white students. 

And these protests are about COVID-19 and how the richest country in the world continues to have the highest number of deaths which has disproportionately devastated black communities — something that nearly all media groups have acknowledged and is based on facts — https://covidtracking.com/race — not ideology. COVID-19 was just the latest example of health disparities and outcomes, defined by racism, that are deeply entrenched in our institutions and structures. 

My friend, Sherriff Chris Swanson of Genesee County, gave a powerful speech to a group of protestors, showing empathy and love, as opposed to batons and tear gas. It was a positive moment in a weekend that saw violence and bloodshed. Nearly all who protested did it peacefully. And beyond those headlines was generations upon generations of pain and trauma speaking out against systematic and unchecked oppression and violence. And so, for a moment, Swanson’s actions provided a glimpse into how we could begin to address this pain: with empathy over armory; with understanding and support; with honesty and love. 

But we know this will require more than just dialogue and cultural competency training, but an acknowledgment from white allies that these systems are grossly tilted in favor of the majority and that the road to reconciliation is paved with reform: reform that is coded into law and addresses the insidious racism that this country was built upon. 

This will also require challenging ourselves constantly to explore our own biases and prejudices and being honest and intentional about checking those biases. It’s having the courage to confront ourselves and taking action to be intentional allies to communities of color. We need to stop denying the experiences of people of color, and while many Americans cannot understand a life filled with risk and marginalization, why not listen, show empathy, and show love? 

I understand the protests. We need more protests that continue to push conversation, challenge the status quo, and maintain this rage. I’m not condoning the violent acts of a few but encouraging the peaceful outcry of many. Because what is going on isn’t acceptable. We have become desensitized to Black people dying at the hands of racist police officers (as not all police officers are not racist) in the same way we’ve become desensitized to mass shootings or presidential tweets. It’s become the norm. 

The pain and hurt many of us are feeling is real. The fear and anxiety our Black brothers and sisters are feeling is real. This has been their norm for their entire lives. None of this should be normal, and yet it is. 

Like so many of you, I mourn deeply for what’s occurring. I am devastated and filled with both rage and grief. And while I’ve devoted so much of my life to social justice, it’s become even more consequential and important these last several years. At MCHS, we want to be part of the solutions moving forward. We’re committed because our children and families and our staff need this. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re ready to engage and do our part.

COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to rethink everything. It created a wrinkle in time, as we are living history in a way that hasn’t been experienced in the last 100 years. As a result, we’ve been granted an extraordinary opportunity to re-evaluate our norms, not just related to social distancing or the workplace, but on making our criminal injustice system a system that upholds the fundamental belief that all men and women are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. 

Let’s make this the new normal. We’re ready to do our part.

Why Black Lives Matter

Why Black Lives Matter

Posted On : 6/19/20

Why Black Lives Matter

Why are we so threatened with Black Lives Matter? Why do we instantly rush to say that All Lives Matter? It is as if the moment someone speaks those three words, one’s perceived self-worth becomes threatened. And as a result, it becomes an “us versus them” summation, as if to remind the person who utters those words that no life is valued over another.

And yet, to say All Lives Matter is to ignore our history and our present. And to say All Lives Matters is to assume everyone is equal, complete with the same advantages and opportunities as the next person.

Why do Black Lives Matter? Because for 400 years, from when the first slaves were brought to America’s shores, Black lives did not matter. Because Black people have been slaves for longer on this land than they have not been. Because 12.5 million people were kidnapped from Africa and sent to the Americas as slaves. Because we have people walking amongst us now who are just a couple generations removed from being born into slavery or being slave owners. And the last person who came by way of a slave ship to our country, Matilda Maccrear, was alive at the same time my parents were. We’re not talking ancient history.

Because for a good part of our country’s existence, the value of a Black people was set at just three fifths of a free person, just a margin more valuable than a half person. And that attitude lived right past the Civil War into the Jim Crow era where separate but equal reverberated through all our country’s institutions to ensure the disenfranchisement of African Americans. It’s not ancient history when one-third of our country was alive at a time when racial segregation was legal.

Why do Black Lives Matter? Because when our country won its freedom, Black people did not. And they are constantly reminded of the bloodiest war our country ever fought was a battle of values and whose life mattered. How does our country still have 775 monuments and another 1,100 confederate symbols in our country? How did it take NASCAR nearly 160 years to finally understand what the Confederate flag represented? How can you consider yourself to be nonracist, but honor the losing side of the Civil War, which fought for slavery? How does our U.S. Capitol have 12 statues of confederate soldiers but only four of African Americans? Black Americans are reminded every day that many Americans still honor and justify the Confederacy’s fight against their freedom. Is this the past we want to guide our future?

To say All Lives Matter is to ignore reality. It’s to deny the deep and pervasive experience that so many Americans continue to face based on the color of their skin. Whether it’s buying a new shirt, being pulled over by the police, being denied a loan, or receiving substandard education due to their skin color, it’s easier to find fault in the individual than find fault in the system.

It’s easier to hide behind language such as “I’m colorblind” than to actually do anything about it. It’s easier to shout “All Lives Matter” because then nothing is required of you. It’s easier to claim “I wasn’t a slave owner” so you’re freed from feeling the pain and burden of the past. It’s easier to raise arguments such as blaming Black on Black crime as if police brutality wouldn’t occur if Black people didn’t commit crimes (as well as implying white people somehow do not). And it’s easier to say “All we need is love” as opposed to feeling empathy or taking the time to listen to the experiences of others.

Or maybe to say those three words would be to accept that there are Americans who have different benefits and opportunities and are forced to play by different set of rules than the majority of Americans. To say Black Lives Matters means to accept our white privilege. To have white privilege means that many of us have never had to think about where our hands are when pulled over by the police for a common traffic violation. Or automatically presumed guilty because of our race. Or having our skin color used against us all the time. Or not being given the benefit of the doubt. Or having to talk to your children about why society won’t trust you. Or having someone like a Candace Owen amplified by white people to justify how Black people brought racism on to themselves.

Or being fearful any police officer might kneel on your son’s or brother’s neck for nearly nine minutes until every.last.breath.was.squeezed.out.

To say Black Lives Matters means to acknowledge there is still work to be done. That George Floyd’s life mattered. As did Rayshard Brooks. And Ahmaud Arbery. And Breonna Taylor. And Freddie Gray. And so too did the lives of Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Laquan McDonald, Michael Brown, John Crawford III, Rekia Boyd, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Jonathan Ferrell, Michael Stewart, Greg Gunn, and Clifford Glover matter. And Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Eric Gardner. And Cornelius Frederick. And too many others to fill pages upon pages. All within the last several years. It is nauseating.

At MCHS, we will be part of the solutions moving forward. We’re committed because all of us need this. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re ready to engage and do our part, finding other allies in moving forward with action and purpose.

From his Birmingham jail cell in 1963 in which he was arrested for peacefully protesting, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “When you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your Black brothers and sisters with impunity. . .then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

Five years later in 1968, under the direction of President Johnson, the Kerner Commission found it wasn’t Black anger that caused the civil unrest, but White racism. Their final conclusion was, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Until Black Lives Matters, we’ll continue waiting for a just and equal society. That’s why it matters so much.

We listened to what our children needed. Restraints was never on that list

We listened to what our children needed. Restraints was never on that list

Posted On : 6/26/20

We listened to what our children needed. Restraints was never on that list. 6/26/20

Read Kevin Roach’s op-ed in the Detroit Free Press.

Several weeks ago, a child in a Kalamazoo residential facility died from a restraint. Clearly, the restraints was unnecessary and preventable as it was alleged a staff member laid on top of the child for nearly 10 minutes despite the child’s pleas that he could not breathe.

In announcing the termination of the contract with Lakeside/Sequel, DHHS also announced they wouldn’t be doing business with providers that performed restraints. We supported the State’s position, which we made public in this op-ed and called for facilities to stop this harmful and traumatic practice.

Restraints occur in most residential facilities across our country – facilities intending to heal the traumas of child abuse and neglect. They are taught and conducted in the name of keeping children and staff members safe from physical harm. Many children come to residential facilities exhibiting aggressive behaviors and extensive mental health issues, which stems from a lifetime’s worth of trauma and pain. And this practice persisted for decades right through today, even despite the overwhelming evidence that emerged about how restraints did more harm than good. The research is clear that agencies cannot truly be trauma-informed while still performing physical restraints.

And while it is easy to point to the harmful practices at Lakeside, it serves as an important and even painful reminder of how necessary the direction MCHS has been going in the last couple of years is. We’re committed to becoming restraint free as outlined in our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. And while we’re not perfect and are still learning, the adjustments we’ve made, no matter how difficult they’ve been, prove critical now more than ever.

I’m deeply ashamed of all the restraints I did in my previous work, fooling myself into thinking they were needed and how the child was better off. The last one I did was eight years ago and I still remember that child. It was not needed, yet it continues to be taught as a necessary tool in calming children.

I am also convinced that becoming restraint-free is one of the major actions the residential field can take to truly be anti-racist and against systematic oppression. As an industry, we engage in this violent and often chaotic act to control and constrain the child in the name of “law and order.” Yet in restraining children who are acting on years of neglect, abuse and trauma, what are we teaching them?

We are proud that this year, we will have seen a 70% decrease in restraints from the year before. This comes on the heels of reducing restraints by nearly 60% in the last two years. And in the coming months, we will be the first facility in Michigan to ban this harmful practice.

This didn’t occur overnight. There were a lot of hard conversations, intensive trainings, and multiple initiatives that were implemented. And because of the commitment of our incredible staff and the support of our community, we became trailblazers in this work, going beyond just our focus on being restraint-free, but redefining what residential care looks like. This went into reinventing recreational programs, implementing aftercare, enhancing family engagement, and expanding clinical treatment. We focused on nutrition, engaged volunteers, and focused on permanency. We listened to what our children needed. And restraints was never on that list.

And due to the generosity of so many, we had mentors and tutors, multiple clubs such as gardening and chess, and numerous community outings to give our children the experiences they had been deprived of. Our children could run and play, learn and grow. And in doing so, truly heal.

Because of all of these efforts and so many more, we were able to reduce our restraints significantly. And we were able to reduce the time children lived at MCHS as we all know the love of a family and permanency of a safe home cannot be replaced.

This is how we best support, teach, and keep our children safe and healthy. Not by putting our hands on them, but by wrapping them up with an endless supply of opportunities, education, and care along with unconditional love. And pizza!

Thank you for all your support in making MCHS a leader!

Crain’s Detroit Business: Best-Managed Nonprofit

Crain’s Detroit Business: Best-Managed Nonprofit

Posted On : 11/30/20

Crain’s Detroit Business: Best-Managed Nonprofit, 11/30/20

Click HERE to read the full story on Crain’s Detroit Business

Methodist Children’s Home Society Named Crain’s
2020 Best-Managed Nonprofit

In a relentless year of uncertainty and surprise, Methodist Children’s Home Society proudly accepts the honor of being named Crain’s
2020 Best-Managed Nonprofit.

Typically the most recognizable award annually bestowed upon a nonprofit in Michigan, it’s also the most competitive. As shared by Crain’s Detroit Business, the program “honors the best in leadership and financial stewardship in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community. This was not your average year by any stretch. But judges said were awed at how the nonprofits under consideration rose to the occasion and then some, pivoting, collaborating, being creative and innovative and through it all, being good stewards of the people they serve.”

Yet, as emphasized by Kevin Roach, “This recognition was about all the employees, the entire team, each of whom did their part in ensuring the very best care and services to children and families in Michigan. That regardless of how challenging and uncertain 2020 was, our staff came together in the most remarkable ways, with a determination and commitment to ensure we emerged stronger. I couldn’t be more proud to be a small part of this effort and how the team continued to fight through the year, through everything, to make MCHS what we are today and what we will be tomorrow.”

This year, the annual award hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business focused on how nonprofits have adapted their operations to continue fulfilling their missions in the age of COVID-19.

MCHS was recognized for its dedication to not only the children, families and communities we serve, but also to its essential workers – our silent heroes of this pandemic.

In March, when the pandemic reached Michigan, MCHS quickly pivoted to protect its entire community with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We knew this plan had to be as aggressive as the virus itself. This included implementing an internal day care to support staff who found themselves with children at home once schools closed. Also, an employee assistance fund was established, hazard pay for essential staff who remained on campus daily began and remote options for non-essential staff who had the ability to work from home. Direct care and operations staff saw increased salaries to recognize the risk they faced continuing around the clock care for our children through food, health, education, therapy services and general care.

The agency also pivoted its fundraising goals as all planned in-person events for the remainder of the year were cancelled. The focus quickly shifted to creating the MCHS COVID-19 Relief Fund, a majorly successful campaign that supported ongoing essential operations helping the agency continue its mission of uplifting the most vulnerable populations through an incomprehensible time in history. Through this campaign, we found that our partners – both existing and new – felt strongly compelled to do their part in helping others through this pandemic. Our partners heard our calling and stepped up in a huge way!

During 2020, the children who live on campus as part of the MCHS residential treatment program taught its staff the greatest lesson of all – the power of dignity and respect. As the world outside battled severe racial injustice at a boiling point with the death of George Floyd, the foster care world was also rocked by the death of 16-year old Cornelius Frederick, a teen at a residential facility in Michigan who died from a physical restraint by staff. With this news, while MCHS continued the external fight against COVID-19 to protect our youth, it also made the organic change within to become the first restraint-free residential treatment program in the state. We knew that safety and protection starts internally. Our children deserve the restored respect and dignity that they had already been stripped of early in life. MCHS, like every other organization in 2020, has gone through a year of massive change and uncertainty. We’ve upended our service lines, delivering them at times through virtual format only. We’ve lost loved ones. We’ve lost routine. We continue to struggle with the collective grief the world is experiencing. But through it all, we will come out stronger. We know that our relationships are what uplift us and allows us to continue our mission through the darkest days. We know that none of this is possible without our amazing staff who continue to show up for our children, day in and day out. We send a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who make MCHS the organization it is today.

Click HERE to read the full story on Crain’s Detroit Business

Q&A With T.I.P.S. Supervisor Andrea Dye-Farginson

Q&A With T.I.P.S. Supervisor Andrea Dye-Farginson

Posted On : 10/6/2020

The Teen Infant Parenting Services (T.I.P.S.) program supports young, displaced mothers in search of support and safety. The program provides young mothers, ages 18-24, with resources to help them gain access to jobs, housing, and bright futures. T.I.P.S. Supervisor Andrea Dye-Farginson has led the program for more than 22 years and shared insight into the program and her favorite moments from her tenure. 

Q: How do mothers become a part of the program?

Andrea: Pregnant or parenting mothers, between the ages of 18-24, who reside in emergency shelters are recommended to our program. We evaluate each case to ensure they will be a good fit and benefit from our residential program. The program is completely voluntary and each mother can choose which resources she would like to receive. Each family is given their own furnished apartment for them to live comfortably and have direct access to the program supervisors and resources. The mothers can voluntarily stay in the program for two years. Our goal is for each mom to leave our program with a consistent stream of income and safe, affordable housing. 

Q: What kind of programming does T.I.P.S. provide? 

Andrea: T.I.P.S. provides women with information and tools they need to lead successful lives. Many young mothers don’t have access to information to help them find jobs and affordable housing. We lead sessions that teach women interpersonal and life skills including financial literacy, home management, parenting skills, financial aid assistance and more!

Q: What inspires you to work with young mothers? 

Andrea: I love helping homeless young women gain access to a safe and clean environment for their families. It’s a place where mothers can be united with their families. Our programs help families stay together by giving them the resources they need to create a safe environment for their children. 

Q: What is the biggest challenge young mothers face? How does T.I.P.S. address that need? 

Andrea: One of the biggest challenges young mothers face is finding and maintaining employment. Many of the ladies did not complete high school and don’t have job training. Because of this, they have a hard time staying employed. Our program works with young mothers to teach them life skills including, but not limited to: resume writing, job-readiness skills and interview preparedness. 

Q: How do you encourage young mothers to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?

Andrea: Many of the women that come into our program have low self-esteem and need affirmation and encouragement to know they can succeed. We assist them through the barriers they face by providing available resources, counseling and positive prompts. 

Q: How has the program adjusted to support the new needs of young mothers through the last twenty years? 

Andrea: In the most recent years, mental health has become an issue impacting more of our program participants. We encourage our mothers to seek professional help and receive the resources and care they need to heal and address their mental health concerns. 

Q: Do you have a favorite success story? 

Andrea: Our program has had many successes but Bianca’s story is unforgettable. She entered our program at the young age of seventeen with her daughter. She was different. Many girls that enter our program struggle with confidence but Bianca was confident and passionate. She was a self-starter and was proactive about creating a plan to obtain her goals. Since leaving our program, she’s obtained a job and a home with her husband and three children. She is an entrepreneur and owns an event planning company and event space. When I met Bianca, I knew she would be successful because of her confidence and her drive.

To learn more about our T.I.P.S. program, CLICK HERE or contact T.I.P.S. Supervisor Andrea Dye-Farginson at adfarginson@mchsmi.org

2019 BOMA Detroit Bike Build

BOMA Metro Detroit members personally deliver bikes to boys at their cottages on May 16 2019.

 
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