LYONS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — For years, young Hoosier girls in need of a home have been able to receive services through Open Arms Christian Ministries.
Now, the program is expanding its services to another demographic in need.
“There’s not a lot of foster homes that’ll take boys, especially teenage boys,” said Open Arms Foster Care Case Manager Jerry Mathis.
Indiana has nearly 23 thousand children filtering through the foster care system in a fiscal year, and for boys ages 10-14, that system offers few options.
“There’s really no place for these boys to go besides a locked facility, or get bounced around from foster home to foster home, so we wanted a place where they could step down from the locked facility,” said Mathis.
The boys home will not only offer a place to stay, but also an opportunity for growth, with individual therapy as well as group therapy, which can help the boys feel supported and understood through common stories.
“They can actually talk to one another as peers about some things they’ve experienced and find out ‘hey, someone else has the same problem that I have, I can relate to that person'” said Open Arms Executive Director Martin Corey.
The boys who come to Open Arms will mostly be court-appointed and filter through the Department of Child Services.
The program aims to keep biological families involved in the boys’ lives through visits and family therapy.
“There’s accountability there that with the families talking, the rest of the family knows if they’re being honest or not, they live together you know, so I think it’s really a special opportunity to really bring some healing to some families,” said Corey.
The boys will remain the focus of the staff as they work to provide them with care and hope for their future.
“They do have value and that they are worthy of being loved, and that even though it doesn’t always seem like it, there is always light,” said Mathis.
The home is slated to have a capacity of up to 22 boys at a time, with a wing for residents who stay for months at a time and a wing for emergency shelter care, which will have a 20-day limit.
Corey says there is no set date yet, but as of now, August is the goal. He says he’s confident that his staff will be able to pull the resources together by then.