Even before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, the foster care youth counselors at Boys & Girls Haven faced an unprecedented battle every day.
“Kentucky holds the highest rate of child abuse and neglect per capita in the United States,” says Boys & Girls Haven CEO, Amanda Masterson. “While the COVID-19 crisis added new challenges our agency has never faced before, our youth counselors continue to come to work in spite of the risks.”
Boys & Girls Haven is a nonprofit agency specializing in service to tweens and teens in foster care. Three shifts of youth counselors ensure 24/7 care in both a Residential Foster Care program for youth aged 12-17 and a Pre-Independent Living program for young people 18+ preparing to “age out” of the foster care system.
“The young people under our roof have been through an average of 12-18 placements before crossing our doorstep,” says Amanda. “From maintaining healthy routines and helping with homework, to taking care of doctor’s appointments and offering a shoulder to cry on, youth counselors are the backbone of the work we do to help our kids stabilize and heal.” In addition to youth counselors, Amanda notes that Boys & Girls Haven’s dedicated team of therapists, case managers, support staff, and foster parents are finding ways to adapt during the pandemic to keep reaching positive outcomes for children in need.
Says Amanda, “During these days of uncertainty, we need our employees and foster parents more than ever as we focus on providing a home and a future to hurting families and children.”
While Kentucky advances to flatten the curve of COVID-19 ahead of much of the country, Boys & Girls Haven staff continues to fight an escalating child welfare crisis from Ashland to Paducah. For more information and ways to help, visit BoysAndGirlsHaven.org.