As a foster care, adoption and residential agency, Families United Network Inc. has sustained its dedication to improving the lives of children for the last 15 years.
"We're a private, nonprofit corporation," said Thomas A. Neuhard, chief executive officer.
Headquartered in the countryside of Muncy, the organization has seven offices throughout the state and are referred children by 50 different counties in Pennsylvania. The children are typically referred by various children and youth agencies or entities and range in age from birth to 18 years old.
For 15 years, Families United Network Inc. has sustained its dedication to improving the lives of children as a foster care, adoption and residential agency. As a residential agency, its
Ashler Manor campus in Muncy includes two furnished cottages for family visitations, as well as an activity center, as seen in the photo above.
Much of the work the organization assists counties with is in the realm of foster care.
Neuhard said the organization has an ongoing effort to recruit more foster families. While the goal oftentimes is to reunify children with their parents, although sometimes that is not an option. In those cases, counties will contract with Families United Network to provide temporary foster care while it simultaneously helps identify an adoptive home for the child or other more permanent placement options.
The agency facilitates domestic and international adoption services, privately and is an affiliate of the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network.
Families United Network Inc. also provides residency at two of its campuses (here and Lancaster) for children 12 years and older as part of its Life Readiness Program.
Through the program, the agency prepares children for adulthood and independent living by supervising their learning in areas such as how to handle finances, drive a car and look for apartments, to name a few.
When the children turn 18, federal, state and county funding streams usually terminate and the children are on their own, according to Neuhard.
"It is essential that these youth be prepared educationally, financially, knowledgeably and with the proper mental health framework in order to succeed on their own," reads a statement on the program in the agency's brochure.
While preparing teens for life beyond the organization's programs, it also facilitates therapy services, school, and education on drug and alcohol abuse.
"Our facility doesn't take kids that are addicted, but we do take those not actively using," Neuhard contends.
He said about 500 kids cycle through its foster care program each year, and about 100 through its residential programs.
What he believes sets the agency apart from others like it is its accreditation through the Council of Accreditation, which is recognized worldwide as a leading advocate for quality social and behavioral health care services.
According to the agency's public relations specialist Mindee Lyon, the organization is preparing to celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month in May.
For more information on Families United Network, visit www.families4kids.org.