Oasis of Hope at DCCH Center for Children and Families

by Pat Moynahan on December 9, 2015

Bob Wilson, Executive Director of DCCH.

Bob Wilson, Executive Director of DCCH.

FLORENCE – The DCCH Center for Children & Families provides an oasis of hope and care for young people across Kentucky with emotional and behavioral problems.

The 83-acre campus in Ft. Mitchell serves as a residential treatment center for children 6-14 who have been removed from their homes by the state because of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Up to 40 children from throughout the state are receiving care at the center at any given time during the year.

“They are typically good-natured kids, but they have been living in homes without a lot of stability,” said Executive Director Bob Wilson.

Wilson outlined services offered by the DCCH Center, formerly known as the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, at a meeting of the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, Nov. 30. The center has taken on a larger role in child care statewide as need has outstripped state funding and overtaxed social services agencies, he said. DCCH now offers therapeutic foster care and outpatient therapy for children, adults and couples.

Children placed at the DCCH Center remain in treatment from 6-8 months, according to Wilson. The center provides daily therapy for the children in residence as well as educational support through classes in the Guardian Angel School on its campus. Teachers from the Beechwood Independent School District direct the instruction, which emphasizes behavior modification, with the aid of a child-care worker in each classroom.

The DCCH center also recruits and trains foster parents, and assists in placing children referred by the state in foster care. At least 80 children have been adopted through the work of the center, Wilson said.

“The lifeblood of the program is recruiting parents,” he said. “The need is huge.”

The Therapy Center, which opened in 2012, offers individual, family and marital therapy, as well as grief counseling, educational testing and addiction services. “The growth of that program has been explosive,” Wilson said.

Both the state and Diocese of Covington provide funding for the DCCH center but raising funds and finding volunteers to serve as foster parents, classroom aides and tutors, and other activities remain a challenge. Despite the support from the state and the diocese, “there’s a $1 million hole in the boat every year,” Wilson said. The DCCH plugs the hole with private and corporate donations.

The state has reduced the length of stay for children in the residential treatment center, according to Wilson. As the length of stay has decreased, the difficulty in serving emotional disturbed children has increased, he said, but success stories continue to fill the DCCH center.

To illustrate, Wilson read an excerpt from a letter written by a young student who once threatened to harm herself.

“These people have given me a second chance and a different lifestyle,” the letter said. “They are like a second family to me.”