B&GH highlights programs at FFPSA Connections Day

October 18, 2019

Lake Waccamaw, NC – Representatives of multiple Departments of Social Services and Department of Juvenile Justice recently attended the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Connections Day at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act in February 2018. The legislation focuses on providing prevention services to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system.

“We wanted to have this meeting to talk about the FFPSA and what we at B&GH are doing to get ready for it,” said David Passmore, vice president for residential services. “We are talking with the counties around us and asking what we can do to support your needs for services for children.”

In listening to the input from area agencies, Passmore highlighted three commitments the organization has made.

“The first commitment is to keep the children safe,” Passmore said. “We want to make sure that they are in the right placement and safe. This means responding to social workers for the Department of Social Services as quickly as we can.

“We are committed to ensuring that we are not adding to the multi placement disruption for the child,” he continued. “If children are placed with us for the short term, we will be working with discharge in mind at admission. We are committed to connecting with families as much as we can to be able to provide services to the families as part of our growth as an organization.”

Two of the current B&GH programs with the potential for growth under the FFPSA changes are the transitional living program and Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House Program.

Ian Callahan serves as the director of transitional living at B&GH.

“We serve youth 16 to 21 with the majority being 17 or 18,” Callahan said. “We try to get them employed. We try to get them to complete their education. We want to get them ready for next-level education or work when they leave our program.”

One way they prepare the youth for employment is the World of Work program sponsored by the William L. and Josephine B. Weiss Family Foundation.

“Our youth in the World of Work program work on campus doing jobs from 3 – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in different disciplines like auto shop, farm and the culinary program,” Callahan said. “They work with people who actually do those jobs on campus. We have some very talented staff that not only do jobs on campus, but they also work with these youth not only to make a little bit of money, but to earn some employment skills. For that reason I think a lot of our young people stand a better chance when they go out to look for a job than your average young job seeker.”

The transitional living program also emphasizes community involvement.

“We get them out in the community involved in activities in ways they can give back,” said Callahan. “Our program volunteers with our local food ministry several times a month. We are always looking for something to do to get them out in the community.”

The goals in the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House programs for teen mothers are very similar according to Program Director Doreen Williams.

“We know it is not easy being a mother,” Williams said. “We are not promoting pregnancy. What we are doing is breaking that cycle. We don’t want them to go out of here not prepared for life. We teach the girls parenting skills, develop life skills, help them get a job, driver’s license, open a savings account for themselves and their child, and work with them to established educational and vocational goals.”

The program has served 52 mothers since opening in October of 2012.

“Once they get pregnant and have the baby they think it is over for them,” Williams said. “It’s not so. We’ve got some CNAs. We’ve got girls going to college and we’ve got girls getting their degrees.”

 In addition to the expanding the existing programs, B&GH is exploring other programs that would support the intentions of the FFPSA.

“We are working to stay ahead and not fall behind,” Passmore said. “We are really trying to be proactive on this and grow to meet the needs that exist now.”

For more information about the services offered by Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, visit the website www.boysandgirlshomes.org.

About Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina

Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, Inc., has been helping children since 1954. Since then, more than 7,500 children have benefitted from the services of the not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive array of services for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction. B&GH offers adoption, family and therapeutic foster care, free children’s therapy, as well as residential care on the campus at Lake Waccamaw. The campus features a SACS-accredited school with a middle and high school curriculum, vocational education, recreation facilities, farm, chapel and cottage life. As many as 320 vulnerable children are cared for through the residential, community-based services, and school program provided by B&GH at any given time. B&GH operates its program, services and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws. B&GH is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation.