The board of directors for the Treutlen House has decided to begin the groundwork for opening its doors to children who are not in state custody on a case-by-case basis.
Before last week’s decision, Treutlen House was limited to taking children who were in state custody. However, they saw a need in the community to accept children whose parents have trouble taking care of them.
“If a family comes up here in dire need needing some help, we’re going to look at trying to help on an individual basis,” said board member Mose Mock. “We’re working this out now to set up the guidelines. Our goal is to help Effingham children. This is a way we can kind of encourage some counseling in the family.”
These guidelines would include parent involvement at the Treutlen House and family therapy participation.
Currently, the budget is set up so that state funds cover the cost for the children sent there, around $3,000 per child per month. But this does not include labor and other static costs. By allowing other children to stay at the boys’ home and to utilize their program, they would need to see more donations on a regular basis.
“We already have some people who have sort of budgeted us in their church budgets. Instead of just randomly, we have already established some regular contributors,” said board member Connie Bazemore.
They are hoping that more businesses, churches and other organization will begin to do this as well in order for the Treutlen House to take the community’s need for non-state children to have a place to stay during hard times at home or to work through behavioral issues.
In the coming months the board is planning on having a Treutlen House Sunday at all the local churches to raise some of the funds to shift gears toward this new community service.
“We’re just asking every church in the community to consider either having a special offering or consider putting us in their budget somehow,” Mock said. “Especially now, knowing that we’re going to be taking some children that are not paid for by the state. A lot of people say tax payers will take care of that, but this will be totally by private donations.”
Treutlen House just received its largest donation ever from an anonymous donor who asked to be credited as “given by the grace of God.” The board wants to use this donation to start a scholarship fund for families who need to use the facility but do not have the means.
“It’s just going to be on an ability basis, because we think that’s the right thing to do,” Mock said.
The new program will take after the Bethesda Home for Boys model, which houses state and non-state boys as their facility permits and uses a waiting list. Treutlen House Director Susan Gattman said that by allowing them to take non-state children, they could take the boys who are most likely to benefit from their program.
The Treutlen House also has set up an endowment where donations can be given in honor or in memory of someone and will be set aside for emergencies.
Board members also decided that, while they have not been specifically asked, they would answer the plea for established and licensed places to house children orphaned by the Haitian earthquake.
“My thing is to get the kids out of that situation until they get some infrastructure built back in there,” Gattman said. “We’re just open to whatever we can do to help.”
This help may include housing orphans until their families are found, until orphanages can be rebuilt or until adoption can be completed in the U.S.
“It would be a spot for them to have some stability and to get them through this time and this crisis. They just don’t know what to do with all these people,” Bazemore said.
The Treutlen House is calling on the community to support them in their fundraising as they expand to better fulfill their mission in the community.
“Our number one goal is to be good stewards and to make sure our community understands what we’re doing here is for the community,” Mock said. “We’re here to help.
“That’s what we’re here for: a Christian place, a Christian home for boys, a place that they can go when things aren’t necessarily good at home.”