Finding Love for a Child, One Home at a Time 12/05/2014
Nothing brings more joy to the life of a child than the love of a family. Unfortunately, there are children in Philadelphia who are deprived of this love each and every year, instead facing trauma, abuse and neglect. This harmful behavior can affect a child's well-being, lowering self-esteem and impeding development. Thankfully, The Salvation Army Foster Care and Adoption Services are there to support these children, working to find them the loving homes they deserve.
The Salvation Army Foster Care and Adoption Services has delivered caring and compassionate services to foster children who have suffered abuse and neglect for over 100 years, since the program's inception in 1912 as The Salvation Army Ivy House orphanage.
To this day, the program continues to provide temporary foster homes and permanent adoptive homes for children in need of a loving family. Last year the program successfully placed 75 children in foster care and provided adoption services to approximately 50 children. The program includes support for interested families, hosting training sessions on how to support a child with a history of abuse and neglect. With an intimate group of 10 staff members, the program works closely with children and families to meet their needs.
"Our size helps us work on a personal level with the children and accurately pinpoint their needs," said Florence Rhue, director of children's services for The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division. "A lot of our staff have been here for a while, and enjoy helping children and families find each other."
The program also offers innovative initiatives to support children and families. The Foster a Future Project uses funds to send foster care youth to year-round recreational programs that aid in meeting their developmental needs. The Teen Spirit Program serves older youth at risk of aging out of foster care system, matching them with adult mentors to support them through their transition into adulthood. The Visit Coaching Program, a new development, fosters and evaluates visits with each child's biological parents, and addresses the issues that lead to the children's placement in foster care in an effort to reunify the family.
"What really separates us from standard adoption agencies is our innovative programming," said Rhue. "We're hoping to continue to provide creative programs to support children as they go through this process."
The Salvation Army Foster Care and Adoption Services cover seven counties, receiving support from individual county agencies, the statewide adoption agency, as well as fundraising and grant programs. The most notable fundraiser is the annual Rock and Run for Kids at Coca-Cola field in Allentown, Pa. The 5K race draws immense support from individuals and organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley, bringing together more than 500 volunteers, runners, and spectators each year. Still, with so many innovative programs and fundraisers, the program continues to look towards the future.
"We're hoping to expand in the future," said Rhue. "We would love to find more families to get involved in opening their homes to sibling groups and older youth."
If you're interested in getting involved in supporting a child, visit The Salvation Army Foster Care and Adoption Services web page for more information. If you're interested in participating in the Rock and Run for Kids event, visit RockNRun4Kids.com.