uspiritus 300KENTUCKY (7/24/14) — Founded in 2012, Uspiritus is a merger between Bellwood Home for Children and Brooklawn Child and Family Services, two organizations that both been in existence for more than 160 years.

“The merger between the two agencies has enabled Uspiritus to become the largest continuum of care serving children in Kentucky,” said resource coordinator Ryan Davidson. “With 330 staff and over 100 foster children served at any time, Uspiritus has the resources and programs to ensure our therapeutic foster parents and children will have an awesome opportunity for success.”

Ideally, Uspiritus serves the entire state.

“Our main offices are located in Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Owensboro,” said Davidson. “I cover the Madisonville/Owensboro region, which is comprised of the counties of Ohio, Muhlenberg, Hopkins, McLean, Daviess, Hancock and Breckinridge”

As of July 14, there are only eight homes licensed through Uspiritus in the Owensboro and Madisonville area.

“There are a total of 10 children residing in these homes,” said Davidson. “With the number of referrals increasing in this region, it is extremely difficult for Uspiritus to find local foster homes for these children.”

Davidson said that while these counties are mostly rural, Uspiritus welcomes anyone seeking to become a foster parent.

“Even if you feel like you are too far from the office, we have case managers and staff on call 24/7,” said Davidson. “They can help provide support no matter where a foster home is located.”

As the resource coordinator, Davidson is responsible for recruitment and certification of foster homes.

“Each day children across the state are removed from their homes for variety of reason,” said Davidson. “From incarceration of a parent or parents, drug and alcohol use, abuse, neglect and a death of a parent are just a few tragic events that can alter a child’s life.”

Davidson said becoming a foster parent is not a decision that should be made lightly.

“Foster parenting involves a great deal of patience, support, kindness and love,” said Davidson. “A successful foster parent is someone who is compassionate, provides guidance and can make room in their hearts for a child.”

Even if a child is in a home for a short period of time, Davidson said that foster parents have the ability to set a positive example and provide a child with a lifelong lesson on behavior, attitude and friendship.

“While the main deciding factor to becoming a foster parent should never be financial reasons,” said Davidson. “Foster parents are compensated accordingly depending on the age of the child and any special needs that they might have.”

Foster parents are never alone in fulfilling their roles, said Davidson.

“Children are allowed an allowance for life book, which is anything that will preserve their history,” said Davidson. “They are also given an allowance for school supplies and clothing. Foster parents are also reimbursed for mileage to appropriate facilities.”

Davidson said that Uspiritus is continually grateful for the ability to be able to serve the Madisonville and Owensboro area.

“We are not only grateful for those, who foster a child, but to those who, make it known that foster parents are needed in our communities,” said Davidson. “Passing a simple message along to just a few neighbors, family members and even friends may seem insignificant and ordinary, but you just may be a hero that helps save a child’s life.”

For more information, visit http://uspiritus.org/.

Amber Averitt
SurfKY Lead News Reporter

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