Author Archives: BairNews

About BairNews

The Bair Foundation or Bair Child & Family Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit that serves children and families in crisis.

Bair Foundation Foster Mother Chosen For D.C. Advocacy

Erie – The Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program has selected an Erie resident for the program this year. Britni Burlingham, a foster parent with The Bair Foundation, was in Washington D.C. the week of May 22, 2017. Britni attended a two-day Young Leaders Training Academy to prepare for the meetings with policymakers. Then she shadowed Congressman Glen Thompson from Pennsylvania’s 5th District for a day, giving her the opportunity to gain a hands-on understanding about how the U.S. government works on a daily basis. Britni said, “We all did our very best at the trainings during our stay, and advocating for our current and future foster youth to our Congressman”. Congressman Thompson plans to stay in touch with Britni and wants to visit Erie in August for a listening session.

To be chosen for this program, Britni had to apply and be interviewed. The program is open only to former foster youth. About her classmates, Britni said, “All of these young, and inspiring people have gone through such awful experiences, but yet, they are all highly educated, kind hearted and determined to achieve greatness. Honestly, there were people there who have obtained anywhere from Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and all the way to PHD’s. We had at least two Dr.’s in this crowd of 109 Shadowers, from 30 different states. One of the young men, is even attending Yale University currently.” Brittni learned about federal foster care policy, as well as what a workday is like for Congress members. She was able to share her experience in the foster care system with the Congressional representative and White House staffers she met, giving them greater insight into the effect of federal policies on real people.

Britni has a unique perspective on foster care in Pennsylvania since she was in foster care herself, is now a foster mother and also works part time for The Bair Foundation, a foster care agency with an office in Erie, PA. Participating in the Foster Youth Shadow Program adds yet another dimension to Britni’s understanding of the foster care system.

Foster parents are needed now more than ever because of the drug epidemic. Any resident of Erie and the surrounding area who is passionate about helping children and who would like to experience the rewards of being a foster parent can contact Bair through the website, http://www.bair.org, or, to receive a free information packet, contact Kelly at 814-833-2247.

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About The Bair Foundation Inc.

The Bair Foundation Inc. is a national organization that has successfully cared for and treated children, teens and families since 1967. With 32 offices in 9 states they offer a myriad of community-based services which include: Treatment Foster Care, Traditional Foster Care, Adoption Services, Medically-Needy Foster Care, Independent Living Services, Parent Empowerment Program, B.E.S.T. Program, Wraparound Services, In-Home Services, Assessment Home, & Outpatient Services. The Bair Foundation is accredited by COA (Council on Accreditation) and is a member of Alliance for Children and Families; Christian Alliance for Orphans; Family Focused Treatment Association; National Foster Parent Association; National Association of Christian Child and Family Agencies; and the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services.

The Bair Foundation Wears Blue in Honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month

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The Bair Foundation staff wore blue on Wednesday and put blue pinwheels in the yard in recognition of CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH. In 1982, Congress resolved that April 6 – 12 should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. The following year, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed April to be the first national Child Abuse Prevention Month, a tradition that continues to this day.

In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America introduced the pinwheel as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention through Pinwheels for Prevention®. The use of Pinwheels as a symbol that children should have great childhoods has increased since then. The blue pinwheels at Bair are reminders to the community, that child abuse is everyone’s business. During the month of April, initiatives focus on holding family-friendly events, educating the public about how they can help to prevent child abuse and providing resources to advocates and families.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing child abuse and supporting families. Help us keep children safe, by opening up your heart and home to a foster child or teen. Bair provides trauma-focused training to our foster parents so they can help the youth get past the trauma to heal and lead happy, productive lives. Call our local office at 724-946-2220 to learn more about the ministry of foster care or visit us on http://www.bair.org. #wearblue #childabuseawareness #childabuseprevention #fostercare #fostertoadopt #adoption

Bair Foundation Sponsors Church Partnership Luncheon

Asheville – Local pastors will learn how churches can support those involved in foster care at a luncheon on March 31, beginning at 11:30 a.m.  The Asheville office of the Bair Foundation, a Christian child and family ministry, will host the Church Partnership Lunch to be held at Cedric’s Tavern on the Biltmore Estate.Mark Armstrong, Pastor of Administrations and Member Care at the Raleigh Open Door Church, will share about how foster care has impacted his church. This will give the local Asheville pastors insight into the various ways their churches can partner with Bair to support foster families and children in the foster care system.
The Bair Foundation has provided foster care in the Asheville area since 2009. Bair trains and supports foster families as they care for local children who need a temporary, safe, loving home. More information about Bair is available on the website www.bair.org, as well as Facebook (TheBairFoundationNC) and Instagram (bairfoundation).
Attendance at the event is by invitation, but all pastors are welcome. If you are a pastor interested in learning more about foster care but didn’t get an invitation, please call 828-350-5197 by March 20 to reserve a seat.
 

Bair Foundation Advocates for Improved Foster Care

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Austin – Foster Care Reform efforts continue in Texas, as the Texas legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 11, a legislative package outlining substantial changes to the way the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) cares for the state’s foster children. In keeping with their mission to protect children, the Bair Foundation is advocating for its passage. Bair Foundation representatives attended the February 1 advocacy day organized by the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services and a hearing held by the Health and Human Services Committee on February 2. They personally met with legislators in Austin to make their voice heard. Dr. Susan Miklos, Executive Director, and Glenna Bilberry, State Director, emphasized that this bill addresses a variety of critical concerns in the current foster care system, provides increased continuity of care for children and families, and will create a triage assessmentsystem to get appropriate services to high needs children more quickly.

The Bair Foundation has been a voice for child protection and advocacy since its founding in 1967. With six offices in Texas, Bair provides quality care to the most vulnerable of Texas citizens. For more information about The Bair Foundation or how to become a foster parent, see the website http://www.bair.org.

PHOTO CAPTION: Glenna Bilberry, State Director; Destiny Olson, Austin Recruiter; Kevin and Jenny Langford, foster parents; Dr. Susan Miklos, Executive Director; and Miranda Bryant, Austin Director of Social Services

 

Bair welcomes New Mexico State Director Erin Padula, LCSW

 

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ALBUQUERQUE. The Bair Foundation, a non-profit child and family ministry serving over 4,000 foster youth and families in crisis nationally, is pleased to announce the appointment of Erin Padula as New Mexico State Director. Erin has a wealth of experience in child and family welfare. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New York University and a Masters in Social Work degree from New Mexico State University. Before joining the Bair team, Erin provided counseling to children, adults and families; managed programs; and supervised staff in the social services field in both New York and New Mexico. Most recently, Erin founded a therapy and advocacy center in rural New Mexico in 2010, providing a diverse range of community and therapeutic services.

Erin will supervise Bair offices in both Albuquerque, where she will be headquartered, and Las Cruces, providing guidance and direction to staff, as well has enhancing and strengthening Bair’s programs and services with a focus on compliance, quality and safety.

As a leader in the field of treatment foster care, Bair offers a range of services with one goal in mind: To provide high quality foster care where children and teens can thrive in a safe, family environment until permanency can be achieved. As more and more children are being removed from abusive and neglectful homes, The Bair Foundation is well-equipped to provide the services they need, including case management, therapy and the training and support of foster parents. Bair matches these children with foster parents who have received specialized training to care for any emotional and behavioral issues that may be present. To learn more about Bair, visit http://www.bair.org

Bair Partners with over 100 Churches Across the U.S. for Orphan Sunday 2016

 

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LOCAL CHURCH UNITES WITH THE WORLD ON STAND SUNDAY

 On Orphan/Stand Sunday, churches in 80 nations invite Christians to welcome children in need

 With 427,000 children in U.S. foster care and 17.8 million worldwide who’ve lost both parents, thousands of churches will echo a united message across 80 nations on Stand Sunday 2016.  Spanning languages, cultures and time zones, on November 13, Christians worldwide will celebrate God’s special love for orphaned and vulnerable children – and what ordinary people can do to put that love into action. Originally called “Orphan Sunday”, Stand Sunday programs promote rising up to help those in foster care. Orphan Sunday programs concentrate on the need for more foster and adoptive homes.

Special events, prayers and activities on Orphan/Stand Sunday invite individuals to consider adoption, foster care, mentoring and/or support for orphaned children around the world.

 The Impact of Growing Up Without a Family

In the United States, there are more than 425,000 children in the foster system today due to abuse and severe neglect. Reunification with their biological family is the goal for most of these youth. For them, foster care is temporary, until their family can recover and become a safe place for them again. About one quarter have been permanently removed from their parents. For these children, the wait for a family often exacerbates trauma the child suffered in their own home.  Every year, more than 20,000 “age out” into adulthood without a permanent family. It is imperative that we find at least one committed adult that the children can bond with before aging out of foster care. This could be a foster parent, coach, or teacher.

Foster youth face immense difficulties. Children aging out of the system without the support of a family are far more vulnerable to traffickers, prostitution, homelessness and a host of other ills. A 2013 human trafficking raid by the FBI found that 60 percent of child victims came from foster care.

Seeking to change these numbers, faith communities across a wide range of Christian denominations unite on Stand Sunday to challenge churches to rise up to be an answer for children in foster care. If every church in America fostered or adopted just one child from foster care, there would be more families waiting for children than children waiting for families.  More information and statistics state by state can be found here: http://www.cafo.org/nfci/#your-state .

The Bair Foundation has been standing for foster children since the 1960’s when Bill Bair was inspired at a church service to take foster children into his own home. He shared his vision with friends and family. The Bair Foundation has now served over 33,000 children and youth by recruiting, training and supporting foster families. With 35 offices in 9 states they offer a myriad of community-based services which include: Treatment Foster Care, Traditional Foster Care, Adoption Services, Medically-Needy Foster Care, Independent Living Services, Parent Empowerment Program, B.E.S.T. Program, Wraparound Services, In-Home Services, Assessment Home, & Outpatient Services. The Bair Foundation is accredited by COA (Council on Accreditation) and is a member of The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Alliance for Children and Families, Christian Alliance for Orphans, and Foster Family-Based Treatment Association. For location and contact information about the Bair Foundation, go to www.bair.org.

We believe everyone can help in some way. If unable to foster or adopt a child, you could be a respite provider or donor. Donations enable Bair to provide extras for the children in care, such as Christmas gifts, music lessons, equipment for special medical needs, etc. Donations can be made online at http://www.bair.org.

Bair Nominated for 2016 Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption Award

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The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries was recently nominated for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s 2016 Angels in Adoption Award.

The awards ceremony will take place on September 21, 2016 at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington, D.C.

Representing The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries at the event will be Jill Schmidt, Director of Adoption & Permanency Services and Bair Vice President Kimberly Young. The Bair Foundation was nominated by a family in Erie, Pennsylvania and selected by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA 3rd District) for  excellence in Adoption Services.

Also nominated and selected by Senator Bob Casey, was Bair Foster Parent, Kelly Hughes who is the founder of The Foster Love Project. Driven by her desire to replace the possession-filled garbage bags with backpacks filled with basic necessities, she and her team have distributed over 3,000 bags to over 21 agencies in 10 counties over the last three years.

The Bair Foundation is honors to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Past recipients of this award include: Muhammad Ali, First Lady Laura Bush, Kristin CHenoweth, Scott Fujita, Deborra-lee Furness, Katherine Heigl & Josh Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Ne-Yo, Rhea Perlman, Shonda Rhimes, Korie and Willie Robertson, Al Roker, Jane Seymour, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, Bruce Willis, Nia Vardalos, Bill Klein and Jen Arnold, Connie Britton, Rachel Crow, Studios, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Hallmark Channel, and PEOPLE Magazine.

To learn more about the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, visit their facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/theccai/

 

 

 

Wendell August Forge Collects Toys for The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries’ Foster Children

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Wendell August Forge has served the Grove City PA community since 1923 as America’s oldest and largest forge.  Wendell  August is giving back to the community. In early July they contacted The Bair Foundation, a Christian foster care and adoption ministry established in 1967, for a great partnership.  Collaboratively these two pieces of the Western Pennsylvania tapestry came together to restore the wonder of Christmas for foster youth!  From July 16th – July 31st, any customer who brought in a Christmas gift for a child in foster care was able to receive a free Wendell August Forge “Believe in the Magic”collectible Christmas ornament. On August 1st, Wendell August Forge’s Flagship store in Grove City, PA celebrated the closing to the “Christmas in July” celebration where hundreds of gifts were presented to The Bair Foundation staff on behalf of the Wendell August Forge customer community.  What a joyous Christmas it will be for our foster children of Western Pennsylvania! 

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The Bair Foundation Awarded $150,000 in Grants from The Rees-Jones Foundation and The Meadows Foundation for Kinship Therapeutic Foster Care

 

The Bair Foundation received 2 grants totaling $150,000 for the Kinship Therapeutic Foster Care in Dallas, TX.

It is the philosophy of The Bair Foundation that children belong with families and not in an institution. As an alternative to a Residential Treatment Center, foster youth can have their treatment needs met in the home of a caring relative or with someone with whom they have a kinship bond. Over the past year, the Bair Foundation and Our Community Our Kids (OCOK) of Fort Worth have worked together to locate relatives and fictive kin for children placed in residential treatment centers. Thanks to two very generous community partners, Rees-Jones Foundation and The Meadows Foundation, The Bair Foundation will be able to continue and expand the Kinship Therapeutic Foster Care program (KTFC).

Once the relatives are trained and verified by The Bair Foundation, the children are placed into their homes. The children then have access to a full array of services and supports to keep them safe, achieve permanency and thrive. The Bair Foundation staff provide the kinship families with ongoing support as they help children overcome issues and learn to address their mental, social, emotional, and behavioral health needs.

The generous grant awards from Dallas-based Rees-Jones Foundation ($50,000) and The Meadows Foundation ($100,000), will enable The Bair Foundation to add two staff members, a Kinship Family Finder and a Kinship Family Trainer, to assist the current Family Search and Transition Specialist already on staff. The Rees-Jones Foundation awarded $50,000 in 2015 for the KTFC pilot initial implementation.

The Bair Foundation of Tulsa Recognized as a Leader of Excellence

Tulsa, OK – Covenant Group Ministry, Inc. (CGM) has chosen The Bair Foundation to receive its 2016 Annual Greater Tulsa Community Empowerment Life Time Achievement Award: Honoring Leaders of Excellence. Bair has been an active child and family ministry since 1967 and has provided services in Oklahoma since 1994. Bair was chosen for this award because of its excellent leadership, contributions and accomplishments in restoring and empowering children, youth and families. The award was presented at an elegant awards luncheon on April 23, 2016 which was declared “Greater Tulsa Community Empowerment Awards Day” by the Governor.

CGM has been striving since 1996 to transform and stabilize the lives of men, women, and families. They offer multifaceted projects that address the challenges inherent to homelessness, substance and child abuse and recidivism. The annual awards ceremony is one of the ways they promote excellence, discussion and cooperation in the community. For more about CGM, see www.cgmoutreachtulsa.org

Bair’s Oklahoma State Director, Tara Best, was honored to receive the award and participated as a panelist in the Community Café Conversation about foster care. Oklahoma is one of the many states that is using this format to bring together a volunteer group of experts and parents to discuss issues of concern. The goal is to directly engage parents in building the protective factors needed to prevent maltreatment and promote healthy outcomes for their children. The intimacy of the conversation and parent leadership help to create a level of candor that might not be achieved in a standard focus group or other feedback or input process.