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Presbyterian agency works to boost child well-being in three states


Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services helps families with adoptions, foster care

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services news release

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services helped the Hammond family adopt a child in April 2018. Courtesy of PCHAS

ST. LOUIS – A national report ranks Louisiana 49th in children’s well-being, but Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services is working to change that. It is also healing children and preserving families in Texas, which ranks 47th in children’s well-being, and Missouri, ranking 26th.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation publishes Kids Count, which measures 16 indicators in four domains: education, economic well-being, health, and family and community factors. Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) has been working on these aspects of well-being for more than 100 years.

Vice president Robert Giegling says PCHAS offers “a full continuum of services” across 28 locations in Texas, Missouri and Louisiana. PCHAS began as an orphanage and evolved as society shifted more toward treatment and placing children with foster parents.

The need for foster and adoptive homes is greater than ever, according to the Casey Foundation: 19,191 Texas kids entered or re-entered state custody in 2015. The following year, 12,000 Missouri kids entered or re-entered state custody.

“Our services include foster care, adoption services and residential treatment for teenagers recovering from trauma,” Giegling says. Answering the biblical call “to care for widows and orphans in their distress” (James 1:27), PCHAS focuses on the strengths of its clients and empowers them to meet their own goals.

“We also have family preservation programs, such as counseling and therapeutic mentoring,” Giegling explains. “Our staff are professionals who use evidence-based research to keep families intact and prevent kids from ever entering the state system. We have a strong track record of keeping families together.”

Kids Count reports that Louisiana is 50th in children’s economic well-being: 35 percent of children in the state have parents who lack secure employment and 45 percent of children in live in single-parent homes. In New Orleans and Baton Rouge, PCHAS responds to these statistics with an in-home family preservation program that stabilizes families during a crisis such as poverty, abuse or neglect.

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