The children who call St. Joe’s home are between the ages of six and 14, have experienced the most extreme abuse and neglect and have been removed from their homes by the state. When a child arrives at St. Joe’s, often they have already been in multiple foster homes and have been unsuccessful in a family environment. They have been referred by the state for residential treatment; often arrive with nothing, but the shirt on their backs, some are even being transported from psychiatric hospitals. 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 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 45 percent of St. Joe’s kids transition into a foster family, and, on average, 35 percent return to their parent or relative.
St. Joe’s becomes an extended family for many of its residents it is not uncommon that a child will say, “I feel safe here.” 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. In 2015, we served more than 200 hundred children in all three programs and created 15 forever adoptive families!