For 40 years, Gateway Children’s Services in Mt. Sterling, KY has provided “A Lifeline for Change” to Kentucky’s children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned. Our Therapeutic Foster Care program was founded on the belief that every child should be in a safe and loving home.
Our Therapeutic Foster Care program serves children:
- Ages 0-21;
- From across all of Kentucky;
- Children who will return to their biological families;
- Children who will be adopted;
Our Forever Homes
About 50% of children in foster care will become eligible for adoption. Since the pandemic began in mid-March, 11 children have been adopted from the Gateway Children’s Services foster care program. Two siblings have been reunited with their biological mother and a newborn baby has been united with his four siblings.
The Current Situation
Since the beginning of COVID-19, Kentucky’s reporting of child abuse and neglect has dropped due to the lack of trusted adults spending time with children during school and extracurricular activities. Gateway Children’s Services CEO, Joe Gomes, speaks to Kentucky’s current foster care situation in rural communities during a time when rural communities are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in substance abuse and overdose deaths, high unemployment and many other stressors for children and families.
“Rural communities have been hit hard. Some families were already experiencing the stressors of unemployment, poverty, addiction, lack of access to services and technology. Isolation from support systems such as schools and lack of internet connectivity for telehealth services during the pandemic have placed vulnerable children and families at greater risk. As the stressors increase, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect in homes already experiencing struggles such as mental health disorders, domestic violence and addiction also increases. When neglected and abused children are removed from unsafe homes, frequently foster care is their only option for safety and love.”
If you suspect a child has been abused, neglected or abandoned, you are required by law to report it. Please call (877) 597-2331 or (877) KYSAFE1. You may be the only person that can save a child’s life.
CURRENT COMMUNITY NEEDS
Children in your community need YOU. When children are removed from family members due to neglect, abuse or abandonment the state social workers try to find foster families in the same county to care for them. This means your home could provide a life changing experience and an opportunity to love a child who needs it the most.
Eighty-Six (86) children in Montgomery County do not live with their biological family and 52 of those children are in a sibling group in care. Only 18 foster homes are available to serve those 52 children, which only meets 69% of the need.
Teenagers, sibling groups, and children with special needs are the most underserved children in our foster care system. We urgently need families to foster teenagers who have experienced multiple traumas in their lives and children with medical diagnoses, developmental delays and intellectual delays. Thousands of teens in foster care are looking for the love, support, and encouragement that families provide forever not just until they’re 18.
Nearly half of the children in foster care have chronic medical problems and unmet health care needs. There is a growing population of children entering foster care after having been exposed to alcohol and other substances during pregnancy. In addition to the withdrawal symptoms immediately after birth, this exposure frequently impacts the brain in a negative way. They often struggle with sensory processing, developmental and intellectual delays.
How Gateway Children’s Services supports children and foster families
In addition to our basic foster care services, Gateway Children’s Services offers medically complex foster care, therapeutic foster care, and adoption services. We partner with foster families to meet the needs of children by offering families:
- Free pre-service and ongoing training opportunities
- In-home services including case management and counseling/therapy
- 24 Hour Support (Emergency support for after hours, weekend and holidays)
- Assistance with school registration and advocacy in school and legal systems
- Daily care reimbursement based on the child’s age and behavioral needs
- Recruitment bonuses for referrals of new foster parents
- Respite care if you need time away and
- Support from the local community that frequently donates child specific items when needed
How you can help
Gateway Children’s Services is preparing for a spike in children entering foster care due to the COVID-19 pandemic and substance abuse crisis. You can help by:
- Call to gain information about becoming a foster parent
- Invite us to speak to your community or church group
- Make a donation to support our services
- Follow us on Social Media and share information
Gateway Children’s Services is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization in Mount Sterling, Kentucky and has been providing services to children and families since 1981. Please call Denise at 859.498.9892, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit gatewaychildrensservices.org/foster-care-services/ or facebook.com/gatewayfostercare to learn more TODAY.