The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Features

July 11, 2014

Children’s Hope coming to county

GREENVILLE — Emma Casselton worked for the state of Texas as a foster adoption specialist for 16 years, facilitating more than 1,000 adoptions of local children. But when she retired, she worried that the work she did in recruiting and training both foster and adoptive homes would wane, resulting in fewer local options for children who needed placement.

Casselton has continued to work in the field of foster training with James 1 Ministries, a ministry of First Baptist Church of Greenville. But the need for a private child-placing agency to step in and recruit and train potential foster/adoptive homes became more and more apparent, as the number of local homes dropped significantly.

That is where Children’s Hope Residential Services plans to step in. After conducting an assessment in the DFW area, the company discovered that Hunt County was historically underserved, according to Texas State Director Angela Nowell.

“There is no child placing agency in Hunt County,” she said. “The only foster homes are ones verified by CPS. Because CPS only offers basic foster care, Hunt County children with behavioral, medical and psychological issues are being sent away from home.”

When children are sent hundreds of miles away from home, it makes it far more difficult for parents to work through the steps to get their children back while maintaining an emotional bond with the children. Children’s Hope is licensed to verify fosters homes for basic foster care and treatment foster care for parents capable of hosting children with a higher level of needs. Nowell also said they are licensed to verify homes to take care of children who have primary medical needs. This will ensure that children with a wide variety of needs can stay in or near Hunt County and maintain a relationship with their parents.

“Attracting this company to the area is phenomenal,” Casselton said. “They are committed to opening here in Hunt County. This means they’ll recruit, supervise and do all of the work right here, not from somewhere like the Metroplex or Tyler or further away. We’ll have local recruitment, local training; people involved in the homes and families who give them support. Then you have longevity.”

Children’s Hope is already leasing office space in Taylor Plaza off of Wesley Street, and Nowell said the company is looking at potentially opening a residential treatment center in the area.

A reception for staff members of Children’s Hope is planned for July 15 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Greenville, located at 2703 Wesley Street. The meet-and-greet will give community members a chance to interact with and learn more about Children’s Hope. People who are interested in potentially becoming a foster or adoptive home are invited to an orientation meeting after the meet-and-greet.

 

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