Keeping siblings together takes commitment
Everyone agrees, it is important to keep brothers and sisters together when they are unable to live with one or both parents. However, it can be a challenge to find a family, even a foster family, that is prepared to care for three, four or five additional children. Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) is not only able but, with open arms, welcomes sibling groups.
“Our main facilities are like neighborhoods,” says Keith Henry. “Our family-style homes line the streets, and children play in the yards and ride bikes. Our highly-trained cottage parents provide care for as many as ten children in each home. The setting and the staff are prepared for sibling groups.”
Henry is BCH’s chief operating officer and leads in implementing a “child first” intake policy.
Today, 26 sibling groups live on BCH’s three main campuses – Mills Home in Thomasville, Kennedy Home in Kinston, and Broyhill Home in Clyde.
Henry says that BCH is committed to putting the child first. “If a child needs us and we can serve those needs, we take them into care, no matter if it is one child or a sibling group of five.”
This approach is at the center of BCH’s working with private referrals and the various partnerships with Departments of Social Services (DSS) throughout North Carolina.
“We can get a call from a DSS worker at one in the morning with a child or a sibling group and we will admit them – right then,” says Henry. “We take the child; our paperwork can follow.”