A Family Place recently received a crate full of handmade wooden toys built by men in the Sheridan Correctional Facility through a program called “Woodshop Treasure Chest”. John Richey, the program supervisor said making toys for children brings, “…joy and motivation to the inmates working in the shop.” He went on to state that both work production and attitudes change drastically for inmates that work in the program.
The toys were a stark reminder of why we as a community should invest in preventative programs that work with children when they are young. The cost of prevention through a mature relief nursery is about $7,500 per child for one year of services. The majority of this cost is covered by community support to the organization. If abuse does occur, the potential cost for that child to access special education services, foster care or be enrolled in a county, state or federal prison later in life is much higher – and covered solely by tax dollars.
But beyond the price tag for services is the transformation of a life. Programs offered through A Family Place, and other relief nurseries across the state, do not just work with a child to overcome the effects of trauma, they work to prevent the trauma from ever taking place – allowing the child’s brain to develop more normally and giving them a life they might not have otherwise experienced.
98% of children across Oregon who have participated in a relief nursery for 12 months or more have no subsequent involvement with Child Welfare and 99% require no foster care later in life. Additionally, 90% of these children are found to be developing at age-appropriate levels when they enter kindergarten, setting them up for success in school, as well as adult life.
As a community, A Family Place gives us the opportunity to provide a foundation for children that will allow them to grow into neighbors, co-workers and employees we will be proud to live alongside.