The Children’s Home Society mission is to build strong permanent families and lifelong relationships for Virginia's at risk children. Our vision is that every child be part of a thriving family.
Top Accomplishments in FY 2015:
Top 5 Most Pressing Needs:
Children's Home Society of Virginia (CHS) began serving children who needed homes when the Virginia General Assembly chartered the organization in 1900.
The founders were distressed over the fact that children were being abandoned and were appalled at the conditions and care offered in orphanages. From the alleys of Richmond to country roads in Suffolk and trails in Appalachia, they discovered thousands of children in need of clothing, food, safe shelter, and certainly more secure futures. Mr. Williams J. Maybee, the first Executive Director of CHS , believed that “civilization would quite correctly be measured by their treatment of childhood."
During the course of the next 116 years, CHS services have evolved to meet the changing needs of our constituents while always remaining true to our commitment to every child having a safe, loving, permanent family. The agency has enjoyed many successes, including national recognition from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Whether placing an infant who has been born with a significant disability or an older child who has been languishing in the public foster care system for several years, CHS recognizes how all children deserve the benefits that a permanent family provides.
During our more than 116 years of serving Virginia’s children in need of a permanent home, CHS has placed more than 13,000 children. CHS is known for being able to find loving adoptive families for children who are considered “difficult to place” because of their experiences and/or medical backgrounds. We never give up on a child.
Our services are distinctive because of the agency’s proven ability to find the right family for every child. CHS has been a statewide leader in finding permanent, adoptive homes for children out of the public foster care system.
CHS has extensive experience in the work of family recruitment and matching. Whether it’s an infant who is born addicted to drugs or a pre-teen who has been languishing for years in the public foster care system, our agency’s number one priority has remained finding the right permanent family for each and every child.
Our guiding principles reflect our belief in the importance of permanency, because we know that having the lifelong support of an adult empowers children and youth to thrive. We believe that children and youth are entitled to be in lifelong safe, stable and genuine relationships.
We work to ensure that the outcomes of our programs are optimized by using evidenced-based, culturally sensitive, empowering and collaborative approaches through all of our services.
We also work to ensure that our organization is filling gaps in community services for former foster children that are critical to ensuring these youth have the relational supports needed in order to thrive. Therefore, we recently launched The Possibilities Project (TPP), an innovative program that equips former foster children with the tools they need to become productive citizens, break the cycles of poverty and ultimately thrive. TPP is a collaborative endeavor between CHS and the Better Housing Coalition (BHC) that provides youth the stable housing and the social supports they need to succeed as adults. This includes helping them access housing, education, vocational training, job placement, counseling, life skills, positive lifelong adult connections and community service activities. TPP uses best practice methods proven to transform the lives of at-risk youth. Our goal is to produce a model for serving "aging out" youth that will be replicated throughout the Commonwealth and move us from last place in the nation.
CHS staff is committed to providing compassionate and professional service for every program. We provide families critical services, as well as our work to implement the agency’s plan for strategic transformation, will ensure that CHS will continue to meet the evolving needs of our community.
It is my honor to serve as the Children’s Home Society (CHS) Chair of the Board of Directors. CHS was founded in 1900 to find permanent families for homeless orphans, and today, 116 years later we are still working with a new generation of children with no place to call home. Many of the children are medically fragile, have been exposed to poor care or drugs and alcohol in utero, or were languishing in foster care after having been abused or neglected by their biological families. CHS is committed to create families for all children, irrespective of their difficult starts. As the face of adoption and family dynamics have changed, so too have the governing needs of CHS.
Children’s Home Society believes in Permanence, which is when a child is unconditionally anchored and supported by a lifelong, safe, stable, and genuine relationship honoring the child’s traditions, heritage, and connections. CHS believes that all children and youth are entitled to lifelong relationships, and permanency needs to be approached with a sense of urgency at first contact. Children and youth are resilient and it is important to prioritize their strengths, and that outcomes are optimized when services are evidence based, culturally sensitive, empowering, and collaborative.
We do this through our strategic initiative, which is designed to remain responsive to community need and supportive of our agency’s mission, and is structured to support four high level goals. 1) Customer focused and results-driven; 2) Fiscally sound and financially well managed; 3) Effectively led, managed, staffed and supported; and 4) Viewed as experts in our field.
The CHS Board is passionately committed to promoting our mission of service to some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children and youth. We are united in our belief that when children and youth have safe, supportive permanent relationships in their lives that they are empowered to thrive. We know that statistically speaking, children who grow up in unstable circumstances – including foster care- they are more likely to become homeless, end up in jail, fail to graduate from school, and a myriad of other negative outcomes. But the success stories of the children and youth served by CHS make us all want to continue to spread the word that children and youth are entitled to healthy lifelong relationships. Therefore, our team of committed board members and dedicated professional staff work diligently every day to ensure that at-risk children and youth are connected to strong permanent families and healthy lifelong relationships. It is a privilege to be part of such a noble mission!
Kathryn S. Wall
2016-17 Board of Directors Chair
The CHS board is comprised of a cross-section of community professionals and leaders from across the region. They each share the agency's commitment to children and youth in crisis. Each board member is expected to contribute from his or her time expertise and financial resources to further the agency’s mission. Board members help develop policies and procedures, assist with fundraising efforts and support the staff’s efforts to find permanent homes for all children and offer related counseling to birth and adoptive families.
In the coming years, the goal of CHS is to maintain an effective and diverse board of directors that is committed to providing leadership, direction and support to the organization and has the skill base, interest, financial commitment and time to continue our strategic momentum.
The CHS board of directors is a vital part of our agency and helps to ensure we meet and even surpass our goals. Board members have the opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of children and families in need of help. They participate in accomplishments that an individual could not achieve, but as part of this group, can achieve.
Nadine enjoys many strong connections to CHS because she is a CHS adoptive parent, former member of the CHS Board of Directors, and attorney who provided legal counsel to families adopting through the agency. Prior to joining the CHS staff, she served as the Executive Director of Volunteer Families (VF). Before working at VF, she practiced law at Hill, Tucker & Marsh Law Firm. Nadine serves as a Director on the Virginia Premier Health Plan Board and on the Church Hill Activities and Tutoring Board. She was recently appointed by Governor McAuliffe to serve on the Family and Children’s Trust Fund Board of Trustees. In addition, she was appointed as a Hull Fellow in Philanthropy by the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Nadine is a member of the Virginia State Bar and Cedar Street Baptist Church. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including the National Network for Youth Policy Council, the Mid Atlantic Network for Youth (MANY), the Old Dominion Bar Association, and Richmond Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). She has also served on the alumni associations for both the University of Richmond and the T.C. Williams School of Law and on the President’s Council of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Nadine has been a presenter at the National Network for Youth Symposium in Washington D.C., the Business Women’s Network Leadership Summit, the National Host Homes Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
Since 1988 CHS has been helping Virginia’s children in
foster care be placed with safe, loving and permanent adoptive families through
our Foster Care Adoptions Program. Nationally
recognized, this program provides an array of services that get children and
youth out of the public foster care system and into adoptive families who have
been prepared to meet each individual child’s needs. We offer a full spectrum of trauma-informed adoption
services, including family recruitment, home study, supervision, approval, counseling
and post adoption supports.
Foster children available for adoption are identified, their specific needs are assessed so that the best adoptive placement can be made, and they are counseled and prepared to be adopted. Prospective adoptive parents are recruited. Adoptive families are educated about the trauma related needs of children out of foster care and about the impact adoption has on the lives of families and children. Adoptive parents are trained to meet the needs of children with trauma histories. Adoptive parents are home studied and complete the adoption process.
The children served through this program are“difficult to place” because they are older, part of a sibling group, and have special needs. CHS works diligently to find the right adoptive families,because if not adopted, the children's outcomes are dire. Within two years of release from care, one in four is in jail, one in five is homeless and fewer than one in six finish high school.
CHS offers a comprehensive program of adoption services, including
home studies, family training, counseling and post placement supervision. We place healthy infants and babies born
medically fragile or with special needs into adoptive homes. CHS also provides referrals
and support to birth parents facing a crisis parenting. We provide free counseling to help birth
parents weigh all their options regarding parenting and to identify the best
long term plan for their baby. CHS also
offers Temporary Infant Care. Birth parents in crisis who are unable to meet
the immediate caregiving needs for their infants may temporarily place their babies
into CHS custody. Babies are provided
safe, nurturing care by CHS foster parents. CHS’s Post Adoption provides
counseling, information, referrals, advocacy and other supports to families whenever
adoption related challenges arise. We also
help adoptees through counseling and search/reunion endeavors to discover
information about their heritage.
Birth parents acquire the capacity to make healthy long-term decisions for their future and determine the plan that would be in the best interest of their child.
The Possibilities Project (TPP)
TPP is an innovative new program that will equip youth with the tools they need to become productive citizens, break the cycles of poverty and ultimately thrive. This collaborative endeavor provides former foster youth the stable housing and the social supports they need to succeed as adults. This includes helping them access housing, education, vocational training, job placement, counseling, a variety of critical life skills and more than one positive lifelong adult connection. The youth participants also have community service activities and/or public policy advocacy to create systemic improvements for other foster youth. TPP uses best practice methods proven to transform the lives of at-risk youth.
Youth participants achieve independence by acquiring the skills and capacity needed to live on their own and make healthy life choices. This includes the program participants living in safe housing, being employed in positions that allow them to earn a livable wage, demonstrating an ability to save money, acquire their own transportation, and maintaining healthy, supportive adult relationships.
Produce a model for serving aging out youth that will be replicated throughout the Commonwealth and ultimately the nation that moves Virginia from last place in the nation at its response to this vulnerable population. Influencing state policies related to foster youth that improve the outcomes of youth aging out of foster care.
For more than 115 years, our programming has met the needs of families and children throughout Virginia as we strive to find a home for every child in need. As the needs of our clients change, so too will our programming. We strive to continue to develop, fund and maintain expanded agency programming that serves the unmet needs of Virginia’s children for safe, secure and loving permanent families. Programming expansion includes, but is not limited to: The Possibilities Project – an innovative program that, in collaboration with the Better Housing Coalition will provide youth who age out of foster care with housing and a full array of wrap-around support services; and Project REST – a collaborative endeavor in which we offer adoptive families critical day-respite services.
We will also continue to aggressively and successfully recruit adoptive families for youth identified as greatest risk (children of color, boys and all youth ages 13+). And we will increase services that support permanency such as parent training, a variety of support groups and the provision of trauma informed post-adoption counseling.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The number of clients we are able to serve is primarily limited by the funding we have available to underwrite the expenses of our work to ensure at-risk children become part of a strong, permanent family. We therefore work diligently to develop and implement a multi-faceted fund raising strategy that is sustainable and provides adequate funding for ongoing programs and services as well as to prepare for future needs.
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