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Gala Honors 13 Who Brought Good Fortune to Arkansas Foster Child
Gala Honors 13 Who Brought Good Fortune to Arkansas Foster Child

Start Date: Jun. 08, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM

LITTLE ROCK—The number 13 has long been associated with bad luck, but for countless Arkansas foster children, it has meant nothing but good fortune. It was 13 visionaries who in 1983 founded a unique mental health organization to provide therapeutic services in a foster family setting. These 13 original founders will now receive the “Make a Difference” Award by their very own Treatment Homes Inc. The 29th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for June 8, 2012, at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the gala will include dinner, live entertainment, a live and silent auction and the awards presentation. Recognition will also be given to Metropolitan National Bank, which provided the organization with its very first loan. Alyse Eady of Today’s THV will serve as M.C. Tickets are $50 per person ($500/table) and must be reserved by May 25 by calling 501-372-5039, e-mailing cajames@treatmenthomes.org or writing to Treatment Homes, Inc. P.O. Box 1400, Little Rock, AR 72203. The “Make a Difference” Award has been presented annually since 1996 to individuals whose work has improved the lives of foster children in Arkansas. This year’s recipients are: the 12 original therapeutic foster parents Charlene Arnold, Steve and Gloria Aboagye, Kennedy and Glenda Bittle, Gary and Carolyn Gettle, Todd Jones and Hazel Jones Dillehay, Jim and Patricia Miles, Wesley O’Neel and Ann O’Neel McKaig, and one professional social worker, Consevella James, LCSW. Almost three decades ago, these visionaries decided to do what no one else in Arkansas had done: provide therapeutic services to troubled foster children in a family environment, rather than institutional settings. They became advocates for services that had been tested. They trained foster parents to provide therapeutic services to children with emotional or behavioral problems as a result of abuse and neglect. They continue to inspire parents, legislators and community and business leaders in Arkansas to make a difference in the lives of foster children. “The trauma experienced by foster children who have been physically and sexually abused parallels the trauma experienced by our war heroes who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Consevella James, one of the original founders who has served as THINC’s executive director since its inception. “With the help of professionally trained foster parents, Treatment Homes helps troubled foster children cope with their emotional tornado, find joy in life, become healthy and find a place to belong in the school and community.” James said that despite a 50-percent cut of room and board payments made to therapeutic foster parents by the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services almost a year ago, not a single therapeutic foster family has chosen to discontinue fostering children. “That commitment is a testament to their dedication to the foster children and the therapeutic services we provide,” James added. Treatment Homes Inc. recruits and trains foster families to provide therapeutic support and treatment in a family setting to children and youth with emotional and behavioral problems. The mental health organization was founded in 1983 by a group of 13 foster parents and a professional social worker who recognized the successful combination of treatment and nurturing by professionally trained foster parents who are the primary therapeutic agents. THINC was one of the first organizations nationwide to achieve accreditation from the Council of Accreditation (COA), using the national treatment foster care standards. It achieved its third national re-accreditation by COA for four more years in 2010. Certified as a Child Placement Agency and as an Outpatient Mental Health Facility, THINC is funded through contracts with the Department of Human Services, private donations and fundraising efforts. ###

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