Laura's Homes residents model new t-shirts. Laura's Home has served 178 children since opening its first Cleveland County group home in 2005.
The leaders of two local children's homes are celebrating after they recently received international accreditation. Laura's Homes of North Carolina (LHNC) recently received a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International.
"They make sure we are of the highest quality," says Rita Scism, director of LHNC.
The accreditation has been a year in the making as Scism, LHNC Assistant Director Glenn Walker and Human Resource Manager Jane Falls traveled to Philadelphia last summer for training on the accreditation process.
"While we were there we saw the value of the CARF system, and we embraced it with a passion to learn more and to be the best for the children and for their future," Scism says.
LHNC opened its first home, called "Christine's Home," in 2005 to provide care for nine foster children ages 5 to 21. In 2012 the organization opened "Sandra's Home," which is licensed to serve six foster children. In the 14 years since Christine's Home first opened, LHNC has served 178 children.
From house parents to administrators, the staff at LHNC work to fulfill the organization's mission: To provide Christian love and influence to meet the needs of children and their families.
Staff members such as Direct Care Manager Amber Gregory believe strongly that the homes and the people in them should become family to the children who live there.
"These children have been through a lot of chaos in their little lives, but we strive to be their family away from home as much as we can, " says Gregory. "Through all of the chaos, we still do family pictures, family vacations, family devotions, family dinners at the table every night and even some family meltdowns. So while some may call it chaos, we call it 'family.'"
For more information about LHNC, visit the organization's website at www.laurashomesnc.org or search for "Laura's Homes of NC" on Facebook.
By April Hoyle-Shauf, Special to Community First Media