Children’s Home offers family unification service
BRIDGETON – The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) announced a new ministry during its board meeting Oct. 9, one that helps re-unite children with their families.
“We recognized that sometimes a child is ready to go back home, but the home isn’t always ready for that child,” said Bob Kenison, president of the MBCH. “We offer resources to help prepare them.”
So far in 2007, the MBCH has had five requests for family unification through contracts with the state. In each of these cases, the state has removed the child from the home for behavior issues, truancy, abuse or any number of issues.
“Generally speaking, the family needs some strengthening before they can take that child back into their home,” said Russell Martin, vice president and treasurer of the MBCH. “It may be developing better parenting skills, learning to properly discipline a child, how to manage their behavior positively, how to manage anger or even how to prepare a budget. That is where we come in, to provide those supportive services to a family.”
A case worker spends a set number of hours in the home developing resources for the family so that they have something to fall back on even after the case is officially closed.
“Of course in our estimation, the best resource is the church,” he said. “If they’re already involved in a church, we do our best to help the church understand what they can do.”
Martin told the board of one instance this summer where a family welcoming back their son was not a part of a local church.
“That (case) worker recognized that this family needed a church home and she enrolled the mother in a women’s Bible study,” he said. “As a result, that woman found Christ and joined the church. Not too long after that, her two children – including the young boy that had just come back – and her husband became Christians and joined the church. Not only were we able to help put that family back together physically, but they were reconciled with Christ as well.”
The MBCH has also rolled out a new feature on its website allowing for people to give a tax credit gift online. A tax credit gift benefits the Children’s Home as well as the person making the donation, because in effect the government foots a substantial portion, if not most, of the bill. If a person in the 35 percent tax bracket donates $1,000 as a traditional donation, they receive a tax deduction of $410. If that same $1,000 were given as a tax credit to the MBCH, they would receive a $910 tax deduction, thus only paying $90 out of their pocket.
“If someone can afford a $1,000 cash donation, they can probably afford a $10,000 tax credit gift,” said Robert Springate, chief operations officer of the MBCH Foundation. “The state is encouraging us to do this because they know we can serve children better.”
As part of its regular business, the MBCH board also approved a $3.55 million budget for 2008 as well as several appointments to its various boards.
For the 2008 executive committee: John Koffman, Moberly, chairman; Chuck Logue, Archie, vice chairman; and Robyn Hassien, Hannibal, recording secretary. Romona McCready, Seneca, and William Vail, pastor of First Baptist, Poplar Bluff, were appointed to be members at large.
Three people were re-elected to the MBCH Children and Family Ministries board: Ron Robinson, Centerville; Kathy Carpenter, Sumner; and Vail.
Three others were named to the MBCH properties board: Glen Kirkland, Florissant; Beverly Corum, Kearney; and Cara Peoples, Richmond.