James Aldrich, CEO of Children’s Hope Residential Services (CHRS), spends the majority of his day looking for ways to enrich the lives abused and neglected. However, Aldrich didn’t always want to work with abused and neglected children. As a master’s degree student, James Aldrich was studying to be dean of a large university. All of his courses were in the evenings and he found that he had a lot of time on his hands. He decided to get a job using his bachelor’s degree, and procured employment working for a local residential treatment center (RTC). Until then, he had had no idea that there were children in the U.S. that had been so abused and neglected by, in many cases, their own families. It lit a fire inside of Aldrich and when that RTC and many others in the state began to close its doors, he felt compelled to do something. Rallying the resources for investors, he went to work to open Children’s Hope.
CHRS is more than an RTC; it is a non-profit organization containing two residential treatment centers and multiple foster/adoption centers across Texas. Why? Because James Aldrich knows that there is more to caring for a child than providing room, board, healthcare and therapy. He works endlessly to provide opportunities and resources for each child within Children’s Hope Residential Services. He looks for opportunities for the children to go on vacations and trips, participate in sports, connect with families and the community and have every opportunity a child could possibly wish for.
How does Aldrich provide these opportunities to CHRS children? Through generous donations from civic groups, foundations and organizations that are focused on improving children’s’ quality of life and individual donors. He works long days spreading the mission and vision of CHRS to everyone he meets. That mission: “…providing care for children that are the hardest to care for because of their abuse. We strive to provide a safe and loving home environment for the children. While at Children’s Hope we work with the children to make accomplishments and fulfill their treatment goals with the end result of graduating from our program. Once a child graduates, they are now ready to restore their childhood in a home setting.” It also compliments Aldrich’s goal: That every child who crosses CHRS’ doorway is given the opportunity to experience a normal childhood.
While it’s rarely clear if children in foster care will ever completely overcome the adversity that life handed them at such a young age, there are plenty of steps those tasked with their care can take to ensure a brighter future. A well-rounded education is one of those things and that’s an aspect CEO James Aldrich immediately understood. As the founder of Texas-based non-profit Children’s Hope Residential Services, more than 2,000 children have successfully passed through the halls of the supportive facility since 2002. At its heart, Children’s Hope Residential Services primarily offers services that include foster care, residential care, day treatment, and aftercare. These extensive programs are aimed at addressing every aspect of a child’s life that could have been negatively impacted by residing in the foster care system.
CEO James Aldrich strongly believes that alongside health and well-being issues, education is one of the most important considerations for those in leadership positions to address. According to The Heritage Foundation, the risks of sub-par education at this pivotal time includes the likelihood of a lifetime of low wages, run-ins with law enforcement and suffering from substance abuse problems. These fates are the absolute last things anyone who works at Children’s Hope Residential Services wants to see. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 800,000 children are served annually by U.S. foster care facilities. To educate these children, The National Working Group on Foster on Foster Care and Education aims to “promote successful educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care across the country.” To do so, it advocates for seamless transitions when children move between schools, premier educational opportunities for children in foster care and putting a greater focus on this topic in general across the country.
These goals are perfectly in line with what CEO James Aldrich and Children’s Hope Residential Services has been striving towards since 2002. However, we think that “education” should go one step farther and consider the importance of fleshing out mental and emotional issues. Through mentoring, those who step up to help children in need will provide crucial one-on-one time with students who need a shoulder to lean on and compassionate ear. One purpose of the day treatment programs offered at the facility is to allow children to express their stress, cope with it and eventually manage it. The road to normalcy for youth in foster care is always longer than the one for those coming from a supportive family. However, the end results can be the same thanks to the work of dedicated staff such as those running Children’s Hope Residential Services.
Founded in 2002 by CEO James Aldrich, Children’s Hope Residential Services is devoted to helping neglected and abused children. One of the biggest challenges often seen by the staff is how to help these bright, young children prosper in life. To help foster brighter futures, Aldrich started a mentorship program.
Patience is needed
Oftentimes, a child will be scared and unsure of the mentor. This may be frustrating to the mentor, but they will need to understand the child may have trust issues due to neglect, trauma, or abuse. Being a mentor will allow you to help the child learn to trust and allow them to experience a caring relationship.
Rewarding for the mentor and mentee
Mentorship programs are rewarding for both the mentor and mentee. Mentors are able to feel a sense of pride knowing they are making a difference in a child’s life, whether by being a friend and encouraging the child or by acting as a role model the child can look up to. Mentees are able to grow confidence levels, improve social skills, and have the ability to learn new skills, just to name a few benefits.
The mentors at Children’s Hope Residential Services provide an influential experience for the children, which allow the kids to dream. They are with their mentees every step of the way, cheering them on, helping them achieve their dreams. They are also there to provide guidance and advice when needed as well. Who knows…a future pro athlete or president of the United States could be waiting for help and the necessary guidance and support to reach their full potential.
For 15 years, Children’s Hope Residential Services has been improving the lives of children who have suffered abuse and neglect and are placed with Child’s Protective Services. Founded by James Aldrich, CEO, Children’s Hope has served over 2,000 children since its inception in 2002. Children’s Hope Residential Services offers a variety of programs, based on a child’s needs.
Foster Care: Due to the abuse and neglect the children have endured, it’s difficult for them to trust others. Children’s Hope works with foster care families to facilitate hope and healing through functional, healthy, and loving parental and peer relationships.
Residential Life: Due to their mistreatment, many children are unable to function normally. For instance, they may not know how to do ordinary daily tasks, like brushing their teeth and basic personal hygiene. The Residential Life program provides a variety of serves to help children function normally. It also provides a safe and supportive environment for children to heal from the abuse they have suffered.
Day Treatment: The Day Treatment Program is for children who don’t need residential care but need more care than an outpatient program. Children in this program participate in psycho-educational groups to learn coping skills stress management, and drug education. They also partake in weekly equine-assisted psychotherapy groups, individual therapy sessions, family therapy sessions, and medication evaluations by a psychiatrist.
To learn more about Children’s Hope Residential Services and its services, please visit www.childrenhp.org.
Children’s Hope Residential Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and mental health treatment of abused and neglected children in Texas. Founded by James Aldrich CEO in 2000, Children’s Hope provides a safe and loving home for these children. The organization aims to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect once and for all and works with children to achieve their treatment goals. Once their goals are accomplished, they graduate from the program and are ready to reestablish their childhood in a home environment.
Children’s Hope differs from other residential treatment programs. Children’s Hope focuses on relationship-based rehabilitation and uses a behavioral-based approach. The children in the program have suffered severe abuse and neglect at the hands of their trusted caregiver. Therefore, they have lost all trust in authority figures and have difficultly functioning in interpersonal relationships. Through mentoring, nurturing and counseling, Children’s Hope helps children restore their confidence and trust in others.
Children’s Hope also utilizes a behavioral-based approach, in which children are rewarded for good behavior. This approach, along with relationship-based rehabilitation, encourages children to obey instructions. They know they will be rewarded for good behavior and have learned to value their relationships with adults.
Since 2002, Children’s Hope has helped over 2,000 children struggling with behavior and/or emotional issues. To learn more about Children’s Hope Residential Services and how you can help, please visit www.childrenshp.org.