Hope Hill to Focus on Community Based Services
MOUNT STERLING, Ky. – Hope Hill announced that it will transition away from residential treatment to focus on its other programs that provide care and support for at-risk children.
The residential facility will close at the end of June.
“We will have a greater impact on a larger number of children by making this transition,” said Board Chair Dr. James Rollins. “Dedicating more resources to our foster care, independent living program, and in-home therapy will allow us to expand our reach significantly. We’ve already increased the number of children we serve in foster care and independent living from 25 at this time last year to close to 200 this year. Imagine how many more loving homes we can find with this renewed focus.”
The 10 children currently living at Hope Hill will be transferred to other facilities in the state. Every effort will be made to place them with a foster family when possible.
Hope Hill also is taking several steps to help the displaced staff members find new employment. Of the 20 staff working in the residential facility, several will be transferred to other positions within the organization. The remaining employees will be laid off. Hope Hill is taking several steps to help them, including providing incentive bonuses to those who stay through the end of June, connecting them with Kentucky Career Center resources and creating a board subcommittee to help them find jobs. Hope Hill still will be a significant employer in the community with 50 employees.
The decision comes after four years of assessing the situation, praying for guidance and working with local and state partners. Chris Peck, president/CEO of Hope Hill, said this change is being made for three reasons:
o Hope Hill has lost $1.5 million on the residential program in the last four years. As good stewards, the organization simply cannot continue to allow this one program to disproportionally use so many resources. It would jeopardize the important work Hope Hill is achieving with almost 200 other children and families through its foster care, independent living program, and in-home therapy.
o State reforms passed in 2015 have the goal of keeping most young people from being institutionalized, which means only those with the most serious behavior problems are now being placed in residential care. This has resulted in residents who are physically and emotionally abusive to staff, and Hope Hill simply cannot find enough people willing to work in that environment.
o Best practices are focused on placing children in homes rather than institutions. The need has never been greater as the state of Kentucky currently has close to 7,000 children in the foster care system, which is a 35 percent increase in the last five years.
Peck added that Hope Hill’s mission of taking care of Kentucky’s most abused and neglected children is unwavering and needed now more than ever with two-thirds of children who age out of foster care are either in jail, homeless or dead within two years.
“We can change that by providing them with loving homes and a transition to independent living,” Peck said. “Refocusing our efforts will allow us to help more children and better utilize our campus to its fullest potential. Hope Hill has a strong history of adapting to respond to the changing needs of families and children. This is another new chapter in our service. We look forward to sharing our new direction as we work in the coming months to create a plan to expand our foster care and independent living programs as well as better utilize our beautiful campus.”