- By Nancy Bowman Contributing Writer
Isaiah’s Place, a nonprofit therapeutic foster care program, will be reaching out to the community to expand its services and offer enhanced training for foster parents.
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The Troy-based program that started in 2003 serves 14 counties, has around a dozen employees and is housed in space at the Stouder Center in Troy. A satellite office opened last fall in Hillsboro.
The program was working with 60 families and serving 100 foster children in 14 counties as of the end of January. The children range from infant to 18 and come to the agency through referrals from counties across the state.
During the past year, the agency has undergone a change of administration and has an entirely new board following the fall 2016 execution of a search warrant and an investigation that continues into alleged conversion of agency funds for personal use. No charges have been filed.
Joining the organization as executive director in January 2017 was local businessman Bob Lybarger and later in the year, Shelly Calvert as director of business development. Many of the nonprofit’s employees remained during the transition as have all of the foster families, Lybarger said.
“The staff, in my opinion, weathered this storm. We are grateful for that. I give credit to the team here,” Lybarger said. “We had to cast a new strategy and a new vision.”
The agency became actively involved in state and local organization such as Ohio Family Care Association and Family Focused Treatment Association and is reaching out more to the foster families and the community.
The efforts involve working with and providing added training both for those in traditional foster care as well as therapeutic foster care for children facing “more severe issues” such as neglect, trauma and, increasingly, the effects of the opioid epidemic, Lybarger said.
A key to that training is a new Together Facing the Challenge, a program through Duke University, that is being implemented locally.
“Our goal is to equip our families for situations. It helps equip them, helps provide the tools,” Lybarger said of the program.
Calvert said the program includes a tool kit of resources to families.
A community information meeting to provide information on training, licensing and foster parenting is planned Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Troy Rec in downtown Troy.
Lybarger said community support for Isaiah’s Place has helped with the new direction. “The community of Miami County has embraced this. We have truly felt that, that warmth,” he said.
Among other steps forward for the organization was its accreditation recently by the Better Business Bureau, he said.
For more information on Isaiah’s Place, go online to www.isaiahsplace.com or call Calvert at 937-335-3701.