Poor communication, no transparency, inaccurate documentation of events, inconsistent expectations (sometimes direct opposites), makes decisions without consulting you or the treatment team members, disregards expert advice, does not provide tools for success, and staff has said some things that have rubbed me the wrong way.
"You needed to isolate yourself."
"What if (child) runs outside and gets hit by a car?"
"Then (child) learns not to run outside."
*three months later*
"You can't isolate yourself like that."
"UMFS told me to."
"You're responsible for your own choices. You can't blame UMFS."
"They literally told me to do that."
"It sounds like you aren't taking responsibility for your actions. What if he ran outside and got hit by a car."
I have come to know well the work of United Methodist Family Services over the last decade as a private citizen.. Each year, I'm especially amazed at the dedication, care and genuine concern of the staff of the Charterhouse School. Several times a year, I support the various fundraising efforts of the day school, as I feel that philanthropy is just one of the many important life and social skills CHS imparts upon its students, as well as its academic programs. Additionally, the cultural and experiential opportunities afforded these students far exceeds that which they would traditionally have in a mainstream educational setting given the challenges many of them face. I am thankful that such an organization exists in the Greater Richmond area, as every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves the chance to succeed; UMFS welcomes them with open arms.
My husband and I are long-term supporters of UMFS. The impact this organization has on the children and families it serves is amazing. For more than 10 years, we have attended events and commencements where youth talk about their transformation while being in treatment. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of these youth and hear their stories of hopelessness when they entered the program and to see their total transformation at the end of the program. I have the utmost admiration for the dedicated employees who work each day with the youth and their families. I can not say enough about the innovative programs this organization has to serve the community. It makes me a proud donor!
UMFS and their Child & Family Healing Center do amazing work with the adolescents they serve. These youth come to a warm and welcoming environment where they can work on healing their past and planning for a much brighter future. Their staff are amazing in their dedication to the kindness and hard work it takes to help troubled teens love themselves and others.
I can not say enough about how much UMFS cares about kids and how much they do to help them. I have been working here over 6 months. I am amazed at the dedication the staff show and the resources this agency puts into kids is very refreshing. I am very excited to be here and am looking forward to the future
UMFS provides professional and caring services for families and children throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Through their leadership and strong multi-faceted staff, this agency definitely lives up to their mission to Touch a Life, Create a Future.
I nominate UMFS because this organization does GREAT things for the community and children in need. They have a staff of great ,caring individuals.
UMFS continues to go above and beyond for the youth a Virginia. Each child in every program is addressed as an idividual and treatment is provided in a holistic manner.
UMFS is a wonderful nonprofit that is all about caring and giving. This is the most unselfish company I have ever encountered. Every penny they get goes towards making life better for the children. They strive everyday to better the company and come up with more ideas to help kids in new and different ways. I know someone who went to the UMFS Charter House school. She said going there changed her life and that she would go back if she could. Her best memories are with UMFS.
I have worked part time with the Adoptive Family Preservation grant as an Adoptive Parent Liaison since 1999. In this role, I am privledged to talk with and support many adoptive parents who are building their family through adoption, or having difficulty finding local/regional resources. In this role, I have two-fold experience with UMFS: I am an employee AND a client (with the AFP grant). In both roles. I have found UMFS to be incredibly supportive with staff taking phone calls at all hours of the day and weekend; working together to support adoptive famililies!
I have worked for UMFS for over three years and being a previous foster parent with another agency I can honestly say, UMFS is amazing. Working inside with the staff has given me an opportunity to understand their dedication and passion for not only the children, but the foster and adoptive parents as well. They go over and above to ensure their agency is the best. They take pride in the work that they accomplish but are humble at the chance to serve others. If anyone is interested in fostering or adopting a child, I would not hesitate to invite you to come check out this agency.
I have worked with UMFS for the last 8 yrs, n have found them to be loving n professional people. I have no doubt in my mind they are the best of the best.
When our adopted daughter began experiencing very serious psychiatric issues -- and our own adoption agency would offer no help or support -- another adoptive mom suggested we contact UMFS for help. UMFS -- LITERALLY -- saved our family through their Adoptive Family Preservation program. They didn't care that we were not Methodist and didn't care who placed our daughter with us, they only cared about helping us locate the services she -- and we -- needed to move forward as a family. Our daughter spent a year at the UMFS residential treatment center in Richmond and the staff there and in Alexandria were OUTSTANDING. They understand how to help even the most seriously disturbed children -- and -- their families. I really believe UMFS gave our daughter her future because, without their help, she would likely have ended up in an institution, homeless, or dead. Throughout the process, UMFS also provided support to my husband and me -- and -- our other three children. We participate in an AFP parent support group and our teens participate in their newly formed adopted teen discussion group. UMFS staff listen to what families need and provide it, period. Most recently, our teens expressed regret the scheduled teen group sessions were ending. They said it was the one place they all felt comfortable and "like everyone else" so UMFS agreed to continue the group for the kids. Thank you UMFS for serving our children and our families with humility and grace. I have no doubt you saved our daughter and our family.
I began working as an English teacher for UMFS in August. I am very impressed with the care and concern the staff expresses towards each student and the child-first practices regarding instruction and behavior management. They are dedicated to having well-trained, knowledgeable staff to better assist youth in achieving success.
My husband and I have been resource parents 2008. UMFS offers more parent support than any place we have worked with. The social workers go above and beyond the call of duty. I have never felt "on my own" with this agency. I cant compliment them enough for their dedication and love to the children they serve.
My husband and I have been Resource Parents for almost 4 years. We have had the opportunity to work with many young children. Each child brought something special to our lives . We have been blessed to have the chance to work with many of the employees of UMFS and have seen the amazing character in each of them. UMFS has always supported and encouraged us to make a difference in a chid's life. They go the extra step to help the child and family to be the best they can be.
UMFS serves some of the most under resourced children and families in our state by transforming their lives and giving them hope for a future. I know that the money I give goes to support , education, formation and transformation in ways that changes peoples lives.
My wife and I became interested in helping our community by assisting young people who needed opportunities to grow and develope into contributing members of society. UMFS has provided training and opportunities to work with youth within our community towrds that goal. Thier committment to both the parents and the youth is top notch. Day or night UMFS stands ready to assist children who need physical safety and emotional support. We have to put forth a lot of effort to work with the various groups involved in working with the foster child but the rewards are immeasurable!THANKS UMFS
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked for UMFS since 2002. UMFS manages the Adoptive Family Preservation Program (AFP) which provides free services to adoptive families throughout the state of Virginia, to support permanency and child/family well-being. As an individual and family therapist I have had the priviledge of working with many AFP families who have adopted children with highly specialized needs. Most of these adoptive families do not have the resources to afford the intensive (and costly) services they need to help these children heal, and AFP is a life saver for them. Every day I feel extremely lucky to work for an an agency that puts children and families first. UMFS is a wonderful agency that deserves a spot on the Top-Rated Nonprofits list!
UMFS has been very supportive and knowledgable throughout the process to become certified as resource parents (foster and adoption). Their training is responsive to the needs of adult learners, incorporating and building on our own experiences. Every question that I have has been answered in a timely manner, with clear directions and detail. Our journey with UMFS is just beginning, but it is one that I am very happy to be on, as I know the entire process will be clear with them.
When my husband and I decided to look into becoming foster parents, a friend of mine who is a social worker suggested UMFS. I had contacted a local agency first and was not satisfied with the response, but when I reached out to UMFS, I was immediately impressed! I had a lot of questions and the staff was always so willing to take the time to talk to me and answer each and every question. Even when I called back with new questions, I never felt like they were anything but to happy to talk to me. The training they provided was very helpful and we learned a lot. Every staff member that I have had contact with since, has been nothing but wonderful. You immediately know that everyone has the child's best interest at heart! I look forward to continuing to work with UMFS!
We have been working with UMFS, and the children they support for almost 5 years. They have been tremendously supportive to both us and the kids that we have fostered. Working with at risk children takes a special kind of understanding, guidance, and gentle support, and they have all that and more. I don't know how they managed to brinf such a phenominal team together, but they did, and we as the parents, and more importantly, our kids, greatly benefit from everything they do for us.
I have had the privilege of working with UMFS for the past two years. Helping at risk youth with the guidance they provide has been truly one of the most rewarding experiences during my volunteer work.
I recently attended a Commencement Ceremony for several at-risk youth who had completed a life changing program through UMFS, called the Circle of Courage. These children bravely stood in front of hundreds of people in a packed cafeteria and shared their stories of struggle, neglect, abuse, substance addiction, and finally - hope. Most of the children had been a product of the system since they were very young, and began their journey at UMFS with a goal to get out as quickly as possible. Then they started to understand that the social workers, clinicians, therapists, teachers, and all UMFS were different. They worked to give each child a voice. They worked to help each child let go of their anger, pain, and distrust. Every child personally thanked UMFS and its dedicated staff for caring so much about them, and giving them a reason to believe they can be successful in life despite their past challenges. They stood with their new foster families or their re-united biological families as tears streamed down their eyes. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was then that I knew that UMFS was truly touching lives, and creating futures.
I have been involved with UMFS for a little over three years and have really enjoyed my experience with them. I have made some life long friendships and have met many children that will forever have an imprint on my heart. As a volunteer I have always felt appreciated and supported in everything I have done and have been encouraged to, at times, step outside my comfort zone to try new relationships and partnerships. The thank yous I receive from the kids is the best part of the experience and I look forward to seeing them every month! Thank you UMFS for making such a wonderful place for volunteers! Sara
From at-risk teens, to youth without permanent homes, to families wanting to care for a child, UMFS is forming lasting connections and making a difference in the lives of youth all over Virginia. As an adoptive parent of a teen through UMFS, I believe that UMFS is reaching and impacting the lives of disenfranchised and at-risk populations of youth more than any other organization in Richmond. I cannot imagine what the life of my 20-year-old daughter would be like if she had not had the opportunity to be adopted at the age of 14 through the work of UMFS. Not only did UMFS facilitate the adoption process, they provided our family with the training, emotional support, and professional services necessary to ensure permanence during the challenging times that seemed insurmountable. I will never forget the day my husband and I called a UMFS staff person feeling overwhelmed, defeated, and ready to give up completely. On that day, UMFS saw us through our toughest hour and provided a solution that we still rely on to this day!
I have been involved with UMFS for over 27 years and have always found my experience to be rewarding, challenging and inspirational. I can't imagine volunteering for an organization that would be more rewarding. I certainly have no complaints or even suggestions for improving volunteer relations.
I've fostered 3 kids through UMFS. The first I adopted, the second returned home and the third will soon be adopted. The first two kids came directly through their treatment foster care program. It was extremely well run and generally staffed with the highest caliber people, although our first in-home counselor didn't seem to add much value. The third kid started in their residential program and transitioned to treatment foster care. This required a level of communication and coordination between different functions within the agency that hadn't been properly thought through. The staff, did, however go to great lengths to make the transition work - up to including having key staff perform multiple duties. This showed a great deal of commitment to meeting the needs of my son. In the residental program, we had some issues with my son's first therapist and I felt they went on a little long, but ultimately they got resolved quite successfully - again, due to the commitment of all the agency staff to make things work right. This is a well run, committed agency that does extremely good work.
My daughter has been at UMFS since December and it has been wonderful for her. She was at a state institution before that and it closed very suddenly. We were lost, with nowhere to go. Luckily, we found UMFS and all of the people there have been great. Very kind, helpful, and understanding. I have not met a person there that wasn't well trained and more than willing to help. I am not sure where my daughter (or the rest of my family) would be without UMFS. Having a genuine school on campus has also been great because my daughter has been able to continue her education.