“Crossnore Communities for Children is a recognized leader in helping children who have experienced abuse or other trauma reclaim, rebuild, and reimagine the essential belief in a safe, dependable home.” www.Crossnore.org
Crossnore Communities for Children is working wonders in the hearts and lives of so many children and parents in our community. Their programs have been intentionally designed for the holistic betterment of all who enter their doors. One way that Crossnore is changing lives and families is through their Bridging Families program. This program is the pathway to reunification for children and parents. After Crossnore spent time delving into research about what it takes to successfully complete the reunification process for families, they found that when sibling groups are able to stay together in care, they are more likely to reunite with their families. Crossnore also found that meaningful, frequent, and positive visits between children and their parents lead to successful reunification and that when the relationship between the biological parent and the substitute parent is strong and positive, the reunifying results are incredible. “We wanted to try to take these things and figure out, how do we build a program that really makes it possible to support whole families in that process,” said Adam Jarrell, Senior Director of Residential Services at Crossnore Communities for Children.
For the Child
When children are taken out of their homes after something has happened, they are in need of so many things. The children require a safe place, support, love, and care. They are also need professional mental health services, help with their education, medical check ups, and case management. In Crossnore’s Bridging Families program, children are given all of these things and more. They are given Bridge Parents who are intentional, dependable, trained, and loving. They are given a safe place to come home to and have fun at.
Something very special about the Bridging Families program is the way that they have reimagined “visitations.” A typical visitation between a child and parent can take place in an awkward office space for one hour a week. At Crossnore, however, they have created “family time”! This family time focuses on being meaningful, frequent, and positive. The visits that the children have with their biological parents happen in a warm and intentional way, as they have dinner together and spend time at their Bridging Family’s home, rather than in an unknown or awkward location. This creates space for memories to be made, healing to happen, and true time to be spent together.
For the Biological Parent
The biological parents who are a part of the Bridging Parents program are equipped and empowered by Crossnore in so many ways to have a successful and reunified family. They are given a true partnership with the Bridge Parent that is relational, formative, supportive, and positive. Parents are also given curriculum and coaching in parenting skills, psychoeducation on trauma, family therapy, and opportunities to plan for the future. Through this program, they are able to have meaningful, frequent, and positive time with their children, as well as learn what it means to be a healthy parent and family.
For the Bridge Parent
Bridge Parents at Crossnore are full-time professional parents. These people have a passion and yearning in their hearts to walk with children and families in these situations. As professional Bridge Parents, they have the job of providing a nurturing, loving, and caring environment where these kids can grow and heal, knowing that they are safe. Bridge Parent Julie Attilus said, “The Bridging Families program in particular has impacted me greatly. It is inspiring to watch parents grow in their ability to parent, work through their own trauma, and work hard to bring their children home. It has given me work to do that is important, life-changing and healing.”
The way that Crossnore Communities for Children is implementing the Bridging Families program is leading to changing families, generations, and the way that reunification is approached.
If you are or anyone you know is interested in volunteering or working with Crossnore Communities for Children, please see more information at www.Crossnore.org!