I’d like to ask that you take a moment to think of a child in your life - whether they be your own, your grandchild, your niece, or nephew - but a child that you care about.

Imagine that when that child was young, a stranger comes to the door with an order to remove them from the home. They take a few minutes to gather some clothes and personal items and load them into a car. This stranger tells the child to say, “goodbye,” to mommy, daddy, or both.

And they drive away.

Imagine the child in that car with that stranger. They don’t know where they are going and they don’t know when they will be back. If ever. Eventually, the child and this stranger end up at an unfamiliar home. Maybe in an unfamiliar neighborhood. The child is introduced to another stranger and told that this is where they will be living right now. Imagine this child trying to fall asleep in that strange bed that first night. Imagine how lonely that must feel. Imagine how scared they must be.

That is the reality for 16,000 children in Ohio today.

For the past 171 years, Beech Brook has followed a guiding principle that all children deserve the chance to grow up in safe and healthy families with the support they need to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to remove children from their home because of the abuse and/or neglect they have experienced.

Tragically, this becomes part of that child’s story.

The month of May is both Foster Care Awareness and Mental Health Awareness Month. I’m glad people are taking notice. And while Beech Brook’s work has changed as the times and needs of families have changed, one thing hasn’t changed -- the belief that remains at the heart of our mission: Helping children and families thrive by promoting healthy child development, strengthening the ability to overcome adversity, and enhancing family health and stability.

Today, Beech Brook serves more than 8,000 children and families each year through a broad range of mental health, foster care, prevention, and early intervention programs, all of which brings healing to children, strengthens and supports parents, and plants the seeds of hope for a brighter future.

The most important thing in the life of a child is a loving and supportive family. Beech Brook aims to keep families intact and children with their parents at home. But when children must be removed from the custody of their parents, Beech Brook provides services and caring families to nurture them as they cope with the trauma they’ve experienced.

This too can become part of a child’s story, but it is up to all of us.

Currently, there are over 16,000 children in Ohio’s foster care system – and only 7,200 licensed foster families. Because the need is so great, Beech Brook is always recruiting new foster parents who can provide a loving home for these vulnerable children.

Beech Brook understands what these children and youth are going through and we specialize in the highest levels of foster care, caring for children and youth who have suffered the most trauma and have the most challenging behaviors. Many of these children may be reunited with their own family or adopted by a “forever family,” while some other children stay with foster families for years and transition into adulthood without a forever family. Regardless of their path, it is our job, collectively, to prepare these children and youth for whatever the future brings.

Recruiting, and then supporting, foster families and foster children is hard work, but the work is meaningful and is critical for these children to have the chance to thrive. And we should support them and the children in their care with everything we’ve got.

We can create a better story. But we must choose to do so.

Back to News

Sign Up

Never miss out on the latest from Beech Brook.

Not now, maybe later.

Share This Page

Photo Gallery

1 of 22