Sunnybrook offers get away for families

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Sunnybrook Children’s Home not only aids abused or neglected children in Mississippi, but also provides support for the child advocates who care for them.

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services estimated that approximately 6,000 children were in the foster care system in Mississippi in 2017.

Sunnybrook housed 32 children in 2017. Last year, Sunnybrook Children’s Home introduced its program Sunnybrook Cares. The idea was to collaborate with churches and child care advocates to provide unique resources for those caring for the children.

Because foster care and adoption can be difficult, the need for respite is great for these families. There is a burnout rate of up to 50 percent each year for parents participating in the foster care system.

This is what led Philip and Shea Carter to take the opportunity to grow their ministry at Redeemer Church in Jackson and move to Flora to Sunset Hill.

Sunset Hill, a part of Sunnybrook Children’s Home, is a hospitality home that serves as a resource for bringing respite to foster and adoptive families.

The home was built on a 75-acre lot and was modeled after the Rosalie Mansion in Natchez. Sunset Hill provides child advocates a place to unwind and receive encouragement and support.

Sunnybrook has received many donations and discounts to help furnish and renovate the home.

Hosts provide farm-to-table groceries and accommodations tailored to each guest’s specific needs to ensure that they leave Sunset Hill rejuvenated and encouraged.

The goal of implementing this program is to provide a family for every child and support for every family.

Sunnybrook, a Christian-based childcare organization, aids children who have been abused and/or neglected. The staff is trained to see to the collective needs of children.

They are dedicated to showing a continual display of love, patience, compassion and understanding.

The organization provides services and programs that are designed to support the total development of children. They work to give a sense of community and promote social skills and healing.

Sunnybrook Children’s Home was chartered as a non-profit Christian childcare organization by the State of Mississippi in 1963. It began in rented quarters on North Street in Jackson the following year.

A second house was opened on Jefferson Street in December 1964. As of June 1967, Sunnybrook has made its permanent home in Ridgeland.

Sunnybrook Children’s Home is licensed by the state to provide residential care for male and female children, ages six to 20, who meet the criteria for basic care.

Children come to Sunnybrook through the Department of Child Protection Services, the courts, churches and private family placements.

Sunnybrook offers the following services for children in its care: residential group care, spiritual enrichment, counseling, social services, education and independent living

The social services department collaborates with each child’s legal guardian. They work to identify the child’s strengths, abilities and needs through individual treatment plans.

The treatment plans are developed to address biological, psychological, social and educational needs with the ultimate goal of providing a solid foundation for their future.

These children are registered with the Madison County School District. The staff works closely with teachers, counselors and principals to ensure educational excellence.

Principal Sean Brewer said that the district supports the work of Sunnybrook Children’s Home in any way they can.

“We value helping their mission,” Brewer said. “They become our students and engage with the counseling staff. We weave them into the student population and set them up for success in any way that we can.”

Tutoring is provided by Sunnybrook staff up to three days a week. Individualized tutorial services are available for those with special academic needs.

According to the Sunnybrook website, independent living classes and camps are offered through the state based on the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment Program.

Topics covered in the program include employment, value of higher education, money management, time management and building healthy relationships.

It covers anything that would be important to help those transitions from the group home environment to an independent living situation.

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