The holiday season is a time to give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives—especially the blessings we may take for granted, such as a warm, comfortable home or the support of a loving family.
Sadly, there are millions of young people across the country in the foster care system who don’t have families or homes of their own. Experiencing a traumatic event in childhood or adolescence is always difficult, but for those who don’t have loving homes to help them cope, the trauma can continue to dominate their lives in adulthood.
For 30 years, the His House Children’s Home has been providing kindness, family, and friendship for foster children in Miami-Dade County. Since its establishment, His House has helped more than 19,000 children foster a sense of hope and cope with the significant abuse, abandonment, or neglect they have experienced.
Every year, over 200 foster children and unaccompanied minors are housed at the unique His House campus, which includes 16 individual homes housing between 10 and 18 children who form their own family, as well as a maternity home where teenage mothers can have their babies in a safe environment. The facility also offers a clinic where residents can receive mental health counseling and therapy, and where children aged 13 and older can participate in an independent living program to prepare them for life after they turn 18.
Adolescence is a pivotal stage of development for all people, but for those in the foster care system, it is especially important. By the time they reach age 13, many children in foster care have been removed from homes up to 10 or 15 times, and each transition brings with it a feeling of rejection and fear. Imagine the psychological and emotional anguish that a child experiences every time this happens.
David Castrillon, Development Director of His House Children’s Home, is quick to point out that one out of every four children in foster care experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and upon leaving the foster system, 60% of teenagers immediately become homeless or commit a crime.
His House programs build a sense of family and community in traumatized children and teenagers, and help them properly prepare to become self-sufficient adults upon leaving the system, and are crucial for reducing the above 60% figure.
The organization’s primary goal for the children and teenagers in its care is to transform their mindset from just surviving to being able to dream. Many His House residents hoard food when they first arrive because they are still in pure survival mode, many have never celebrated birthdays, or gone to the movies, or visited the beach.
With support from our Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, His House has been able to expand its programs for helping children create these happy memories, and begin the process of healing their emotional wounds.
It is extremely gratifying to know that our family can make a big difference in the lives of the most vulnerable at-risk young people in our local community, and with 87 children in Miami-Dade County entering the foster care system every month, the need will only continue to grow. We look forward to working with His House to help more children create fond memories which foster a sense of hope, love, and family in their lives.
To learn more about His House Children’s Home, please visit: https://www.hhch.org/