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JACOBS HOUSE INC
October 21, 2013

As a professional in the field of social work with six years in the realm of foster care I have witnessed first hand the short-comings of the government running programs created to nurture and at times raise children. Many times the hands of caseworkers and foster parents are tied due to the red tape of bureaucracy and many times funding. Some may ask, 'how is Jacob's House different from foster care? Aren't children better off with multiple people working as a Team and with a Judge to determine their permanent placement?'. Regarding the first question, Jacob's House is committed to all children for as short or long of a period as needed. In addition, Jacob's House is able to implement a much more open Christian teaching and guidance than traditional foster homes. In the foster care system sibling groups are split and often not re-united even when adopted they frequently are seperated into different families, a life long trauma as siblings are often the longest lasting bond/relationship a person has in their life. Jacob's House does not split sibling groups. Last but definitely not least if a child is not a good fit for a foster home the foster family can request the child to be moved at any time. I'm not saying this is always a bad call on the family's part, but frequently once the child leaves the foster family moves on to focus on other foster children. Another abandonment, another trauma marking the child's life.
With Jacob's House, a child always has the love and support of the program. If their needs are more advanced than what Jacob's House is equipped to handle, the kids along with Penny, Dan, volunteers and staff all continue to offer ongoing support and love through continued contact and welcoming arms if the child/family returns for visits.
Regarding the second question: It is often healthy to have a Team to brainstorm and monitor a family's progress, the needs of the child and the process of reunification. However, due to budget constraints, time constraints and manpower constraints this process often takes longer than is healthy or necessary. The foster care system is often bound by statutes or laws in place for the good of those involved; however, can also hinder progress. For example, if a child would do better in a home school environment this is not an option for a foster care child and sometimes these children who struggle in public school systems are placed in residential programs simply because they are required to attend public school and cannot function in such an environment.
What does this mean? What is the difference?
The difference is with a solid Christian foundation, consistent boundaries, forgiveness and patience being practiced and demonstrated daily without constraints of state or federals, children and families have more room to focus on growing, healing and moving forward versus a legal battle. These same families and children are supplied with a never ending support system through the love of Jacob's House whereas with the foster care system once a case is closed the system moves on to the next case in need unable to offer ongoing support or services.
Jacob's House program allows for a stronger degree of flexibility. They believe in building networks and connecting children and families with those who are caring and carefully matching connections and families with areas of interests or specific needs vs. a generalized volunteer program.
Children are encouraged and cheered on regarding their individual interests and attempts are made to develop and grow their fullest potential, and presented with opportunities often not available to other teens or children due to the hard work Dan and Penny put in to building community connections.
At Jacob's House, children learn responsibilities and the benefits of hard work through chore charts for household tasks as well as pitching in for ranch work. The pay off for their hard work includes allowance, special outings, and plenty of opportunities to play hard on the property as well.
Although Jacob's House is a home for children and teens, guidance and mentoring is also offered to parents as they work and strive to heal and move forward. This is another characteristic unique to Jacob's House. The focus is on the family, not just the children- the whole, not the individual parts.
It is this wraparound process that is unique to the Jacob's House program.
In summary, Jacob's House offers Permanency. A life long membership to a wide and vast family, regardless if they are there for one day or one year. Some may not realize that even when a child is legally adopted through the foster care system, the child can be 'returned' to the state as a failed adoption and placed back into the foster care system. Jacob's House is 100% committed to the children and families served- ongoing support through respite care, community, prayer- and if a plan were to fall through, the child/ren are able to return to Jacob's House, not placed back into a system for an indefinite amount of time, forgotten, abandoned, and awaiting a new family. The family is found. The family is, and always will be, Jacob's House.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field