Farmington Hills, MI – May is both National Foster Care Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, and the non-profit human services agency Judson Center is using these observances as an optimal time to promote the importance of building healthy minds and strong families.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there are an estimated 10,600 children in foster care on any given day. Judson Center’s Child Safe Foster Care program recruits and educates foster families, guides them through the foster care process and ensures that the child can thrive in a nurturing, safe environment. The program also works to strengthen the biological families so their children can one day safely return home.
“Every child needs and deserves to live in a loving, caring home where he or she can grow and thrive,” said Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster. “Foster care is not a bad thing. It is part of the process of making sure everything is working together for the success of the child. Judson Center works to educate people on opening their hearts and homes to children who need an opportunity in life just like we all do.”
Currently, Judson Center is recruiting all families to foster, but would like to see more African American foster families licensed to ensure a diverse representation of placements for children of color. There is also a need for foster families who can take in older teens, especially those with significant behavioral, emotional or medical needs.
“Our Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program focuses on youth who need more individualized care and treatment,” said Judson Center Chief Strategy Officer Khadija Walker-Fobbs. “TFC is an alternative to residential facilities for these teens. TFC parents undergo specialized training, and they receive additional support and services. Through our intervention strategies, we are able to create a brighter future for the young people by providing safe, stable and supportive foster homes.”
Additionally, Judson Center’s integrated behavioral health services programs offer high quality mental health, substance use disorder and primary healthcare treatment in a welcoming, supportive environment. The agency’s online screening tool at www.judsoncenter.org/behavioral-health lets visitors check in on their mental health to determine whether they should seek professional help.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of mental illness and reduce the stigma that surrounds it,” said Judson Center Chief Operating Officer Susan Salhaney. “Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. There is a saying that ‘It’s OK not to be OK.’ The first step is recognizing that something is wrong and reaching out for assistance. You do not have to face these challenges alone.”
Judson Center has launched a month long social media campaign titled, “Your Mental Health Matters.” Each week, a member of the Judson Center staff is highlighted in a video on the agency’s social media pages speaking on useful topics and the importance of making your mental health a priority.
For more information on Judson Center’s foster care and mental health programs, call 866-5-JUDSON or visit www.judsoncenter.org.
About Judson Center
Judson Center, trusted by Michigan families for more than 98 years, is a non-profit human services agency providing expert, comprehensive services that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, and developmental, behavioral and physical health challenges so they can achieve whole health, well-being, and maximum potential. Judson Center also offers integrated primary healthcare for all through Judson Center Health in Warren and is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of nearly 12,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 30301 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3277. Learn more at www.judsoncenter.org.
# # #