TREEHOUSE FOUNDATION INC

Rating: 4.86 stars   7 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth

Location: 1 Treehouse Circle Easthampton MA 01027 USA

Mission: The mission of Treehouse Foundation is to provide children in the public child welfare system with enduring family relationships and supportive community connections by implementing innovative programs and practices.

Write a Review
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Judy Cockerton (director) just published the following on Huffington Post: share this story
37
28
4
11
Get Impact Alerts
Sign Up
Submit this story

Massachusetts kicked off National Foster Care Month with its second Re-Envisioning Foster Care Conference. On May 6, a broad cross section of people gathered in Holyoke to harness creative ideas, mobilize collective energy and maximize financial resources -- all directed toward better serving our children and youth whose lives have been impacted by foster care.

My journey into the world of child welfare began on May 11, 1999 in a Boston suburb. My 12-year-old daughter and I stood in our driveway waiting for the social worker's car to appear. Earlier that day I had received a phone call asking if we would open our home to two little sisters. I left work, picked my daughter up from school and drove to the store to buy high chairs, car seats, cribs and diapers.

My daughter grabbed my hand as the car approached, excited to meet the two little sisters they were bringing to our home. A sweet five-month-old baby was placed in my outstretched arms. My daughter was introduced to a 17-month-old toddler with gorgeous brown eyes.

These two beautiful little sisters led me into the world of child welfare and taught me the value of investing in the lives of the half-million children who experience foster care in this country. They showed me what our nation's child welfare system looks like. They inspired me to collaborate with others to create new realities.

The girls were exceptional teachers. As a result of the lessons learned while parenting them, I sold my businesses and became a full-time child advocate.

It was clear that most Americans think there are only two ways to support a child who has been placed in foster care: adopt a child from foster care or become a foster parent. This is too much to ask of most people. The result: hundreds of thousands of potential resources turn and walk away from the children who need them the most.

How can we change this reality? By establishing a corps of community members in every region of the country who invest in the well-being of children in their backyards; folks who actively engage in creating a caring safety net for the infants, toddlers, school-aged youngsters and teens whose lives had been impacted by foster care.

Every year nearly 25,000 young Americans "age out" of our foster care system at risk for homelessness, incarceration, teen parenting, unemployment and lives of poverty. Here in Massachusetts, we are crafting road maps that will take us in a new direction.

For the past decade I have collaborated with outstanding people to build a compelling new menu of engagement options so that citizens of all ages can easily support children in their communities. Together we have established three nonprofit organizations: the Treehouse Foundation, Sibling Connections and Birdsong Farm.

Each of these nonprofits is dedicated to ensuring that every child is rooted in family and community so they can lead fulfilling and productive lives. The Treehouse Foundation focuses on moving children out of foster care into loving, connected families that are surrounded by caring neighbors of all ages. Sibling Connections provides year-round programming so sisters and brothers who have been separated when placed in foster care can create joyous shared memories. Birdsong Farm aims to address the educational needs of students in foster care.

We have partnered with a broad cross section of like minded people to develop new national models so the menu can be available to children from coast to coast: educators, philanthropists, mental health professionals, parents, colleges and universities, business leaders, nonprofits, marketing professionals and interested citizens.

This May, as we mark National Foster Care Month, we wish all of our children and youth in foster care health and well being. We wish them loving family and community connections. We wish them opportunity and a level playing field. Here's to Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Our religious society was recently on-site to help clean-up the gardens and prepare for summer.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

non

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I have been following the progress of Treehouse from concept to completion. I have visited the community for various events and open houses. I have helped to find allies as well as equipment for their computer center. I have great faith in the abilities of the Director and Staff. The organization provides a community of support (not just housing) for couples looking to foster a child (with a goal of adoption). This is a multi-generational community so that there are "foster" grandparents available as well as trained staff for support. The seniors benefit from close association with children. More funding will allow for enhancement of the experiences offered.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I personally know a senior citizen who joined the community after moving to Western MA from her home in Maine. She is now in walking distance to activities, potlucks, etc. within walking distance. She isn't lonely at all.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Treehouse is a model for how to support the fostering and adoption of children who are in the "system" because of problems in their birth homes. The intergenerational community fully supports the new parents.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

well-trained in parenting and social work issues which come as baggage with these children. Children receive help with their education and family life in an atmosphere of love.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Start additional communities in other parts of the US. This model needs to be replicated.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

All who meet the residents of Treehouse seem to be inspired to help make life opportunities better for them, especially the children. This uplifting atmosphere affects volunteers and residents alike who work together on things like a community garden, homework tutoring, creative theater and arts. They are always innovating. A great place! Should be replicated!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Enjoying observing the children's obvious growth in self confidence over their time at Treehouse.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help find it secure funding.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Sharing in the creative, caring spirit that abounds there.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Friendly, open, dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Find new and better ways to create and test innovative solutions to helping traumatized children become fully operative, thriving adults.

Ways to make it better...

?

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Finding ways to help the general public understand the key issues involved in caring for foster children and helping deal with them. These are "our community's children" in need of focused support.

One thing I'd also say is that...

"It takes a village to bring up a child".

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I live at Treehouse with my family. We sold our house in eastern Ma to move to Treehouse and be part of the "change" that has been so slow to come to our department of social services for our children. Up rooting four children and a business has had its challenges, but we wouldn't change our minds if we had the chance. Treehouse staff and volunteers have been collaborating, partnering and inviting to the table, in the name of our children, with amazing results. When you have a system that has evolved into the counterproductive mess that our system has evolved into, what do you do that will make a difference? You build a place called Treehouse. The way we, as a nation, treat our children that need care, is painful to look at. Therefore most of us do not. Treehouse gives us a way to look and take action that we know will be helpful to a child. To our children. If one fourth of Americans would take a look at our children, change would come within months. We need people to look and take action. Treehouse shows us the way.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my life.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the difference it makes.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help more children in a real way.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

The Treehouse Foundation is a an amazing organization offering a truly unique solution to an important problem. Each year, 125,000 children in foster care are in need of adoptive families. These are children that have been severely traumatized. They have lost their families and are alone in the world. As a result of the trauma these children have suffered, many have difficulty adjusting to life in a caring family. Families adopting these children face challenges that most parents can't fathom- children whose lives have been shattered or for whom a loving touch is a reminder of unspeakable abuse. As a professional in this field, I know that if you ask any adoptive parent of a child who has lived through foster care what is most needed, they will tell you that adoptive parents need support. Treehouse provides that support. It is literally the only community in the United States built from the ground up to be a supportive community to adoptive families. It is a noble experiment and one that is changing lives in profound ways. I genuinely admire Treehouse and admire its founder, Judy Cockerton, for her passion and commitment to this cause.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide even more services to the children and families at Treehouse and replicate this model around the country.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I've visited Treehouse & I've been part of planning a collaboration between Treehouse & another local organization, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Judy's vision steers this ship, but part of why the direction is clear is that she so welcomes collaboration, others' visions & strengths, that is to say it's more like a crew sculling than a captain with a motor. As an adoptive mother myself, what I most appreciate about Treehouse is its embrace of children's histories, helping them to hold onto what feels good & important & have dignity about what doesn't feel good. This is whole child! And this is also whole COMMUNITY. The village is built around the children.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how easy the players are to work with. How clear the vision is, & how inclusive.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make many homes & make many people see that the system as it currently exists does not support children or families as well as it could.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

This is run by an extremely committed group of people, costs of the org. are low, and they're really doing great things for kids from foster care.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing kids who are really nearly unadoptable, troubled, volatile, etc. thrive in the Treehouse Community in western Mass.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It goes right to the heart of the matter: kids who have been abandoned, neglected or abused who have been removed from their homes. This is a public shame that needs lots more attention and resources.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Committed, honorable, invested, energetic.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Enhance programs for kids from the public foster care system, help them keep in touch with "lost" siblings, recruit families to become foster families, start a hands-on farm program for at-risk kids, pay their founders & staff.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful?