For the past twelve years Carry The Cross Ministries (CTC), a Christian, faith-based 501c3 organization, has been working to meet needs of children and families in urban Kansas City, KS, including short-term housing, neighborhood-based outreach programs and connections in local schools. Short-term housing has been provided at The Firehouse, an apartment building owned by CTC with four two-bedroom apartments. Through The Firehouse we have provided housing to over 15 families. We have also provided job and financial counseling, transportation to and from work and appointments, spiritual support and provided a nurturing family environment for those who have stayed with us.
Over the years through our work at The Firehouse and in the local school district, our eyes and hearts were opened to the unmet needs of the children who were either in or were at risk of being in the foster care system.
We discovered through research that both Kansas and Missouri have shown a significant increase in children needing out of home care. The statistics according to the Child Welfare League of America’s 2017 Report on the State of Welfare of Children in Kansas and Missouri in 2017 are overwhelming.
In Kansas the number of children needing out of home care has increased from 5,852 in 2011 to 7,233 children in 2015. In Missouri, the number has skyrocketed from 9,220 to almost 13,000 today. What stands out even more is that there were over 2,300 children in Kansas and 2,500 in Missouri that were without permanent homes.
Without a Doubt… There is a Need!
As we have studied reports done by several different institutions and through interviews and conversations with experts over the state of our children in the Kansas City metro area, we have overwhelmingly found that our community and our government have a huge gap to fill in servicing children who are at-risk or already in states custody. Over 21,000 children were turned away for services in 2015, half of those pertained to shelter and housing, costing the states almost 150 million dollars to provide services for those turned away. Our goal is to help alleviate some of these numbers, not by just providing shelter and a home but to provide a place for hope and healing between the families that have been broken. Not only that, but for those where being reunited with their families is not a possibility, we hope to raise awareness and connect families within our communities and churches with the children who are in need, hoping to connect them with their future forever home.
Meeting The Unmet Needs
While we currently have a four-plex in the inner city, we feel that it would be best to serve our children through housing in a family/farm environment away from the struggles of the city. As we have explored other facilities and group homes in the area we have found that they are all doing amazing things for children in need. There are a few key pieces of our home that will set us apart from the others and meet mostly unmet needs.
- Our focus will be if possible to reintegrate our children back into their homes.
- We will provide every opportunity for regular and positive interaction time with the children and their biological family out at the farm.
- We will be serving teen mom’s, a largely unreached group.
- We will be prepared to house sibling groups.
- We will be integrating equestrian and dog therapy into treatment.
- We will utilize peer and community mentoring, giving the child a sense of connection, hope, responsibility, and purpose.
- Counseling and family meeting times will take place at the farm and will include family bonding times such as horseback riding, fishing, trail hiking, team games and more.
- We will offer opportunities for families within our community that are interested in fostering or adoption an opportunity to come and and connect with our kids during sponsored activities.
- Families that are considered at-risk of having their children enter into care will have the opportunity to come out to the farm for early intervention sessions which would include counseling mixed with farm activities.
- Our programs will include our older children learning the in’s and out’s of the business process by creating innovative products and selling them at the market to go along with whatever the farm produces.
Who We Will Serve
On Eagles Wings Farm will be able to provide housing, give stability, support, counsel, care, and a loving Christian family environment to children, both boys and girls, anywhere from 0-18 years of age. Our children will come from many walks of life including: the foster care system, in police protective custody, or having struggles in their current home situation. We will also work with the families of the children in need of care by offering opportunities for family counseling and to learn life skills.
During Phase One we will house at least one teen mother in our home. We will provide a loving, family support system for mother and child. They will be provided schooling, home and life training skills to help prepare them for life in society.
We will house children that are in foster care in need of short term placement or emergency shelter (ppc/police protective custody). We will provide short term care for babies on up to teenagers. There is a huge shortage of foster and shelter beds in the KC Metro area due to the high volume of children in these situations. We hope to alleviate situations where children have to be taken three hours or more outside of the KC metro area due to this lack of housing.
We will also provide opportunities for youth with a focus on inner city children, to come out for a retreat week or weekend. This will be done on a small scale, 5-10 children, so that strong relationships can be built between the group. Youth will have an opportunity to get “back to the basics” without electronics, spending much time outdoors participating in different activities such as camping and horseback riding while learning Christian and life principals through the activities.