The children who call St. Joe’s home are between the ages of five and 15 and have been removed from their homes due to severe abuse and neglect including but not limited to homelessness, malnutrition, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Once removed from the home, the child enters state’s custody and is placed in either a relative’s home, a hospital, or is referred to the foster care system while their case is being investigated.
When a child first arrives to St. Joe’s, they have lived on average in 12 different places and feel hopeless for what their future may hold. They have been referred by the state for residential treatment and often arrive with nothing but the shirt on their backs. Usually, past traumas make it difficult for these children to bond and be successful in a family environment. They do not trust adults and fear abandonment. Worse yet, these children have experienced abuse or neglect from the adults whom they trusted the most.
Our goal at St. Joe’s is to provide the children with the necessary tools to be successful in a family. Through trauma-informed care, individual treatment plans, intensive therapy, education, therapeutic activities and a normal home-like environment, children can begin the healing process. It is our mission to provide them with the coping and life skills to move past their trauma and look forward to a brighter future. St. Joe’s becomes a temporary home and prepares them for life in a family. On average, children live at St. Joe’s about one year. About 55% of St. Joe’s kids transition into a foster family or pre-adoptive home, while approximately 26% return to their parent or relative.
St. Joe’s becomes an extended family for many of its residents and it is not uncommon that a child will say, “For the first time, I feel safe.” St. Joe’s provides stability and treatment for some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable children and, more importantly, St. Joe’s has a 94 percent success rate of placing children with families.