After a great deal of analysis and consideration of several options, we made the difficult decision to close our traditional Residential Treatment Program and frame a new future for the agency. A big part of that new future was a plan for a larger Maternity Program that could serve a wider pool of mothers, including some who had no source of funding. I’d like to take the opportunity to give you just one example of the difference that decision has made.
As I was leaving the office one evening late last week, I came across a young woman and her baby daughter in the waiting room. The two were accompanied by someone I recognized as a Street Outreach worker from a colleague agency. They were awaiting an intake interview for Maternity, and both are now residing here at Good Shepherd. What I found out subsequently is this mother and child had been sleeping in a car in the sweltering summer heat; they had nowhere to go. I also learned that mom is 20 years old and will be 21 years old in a matter of days. She also has no source of available funding to support her stay. A few months ago, we would have been forced to refuse services to this mother and child. Both age and the lack of funding would have made her ineligible, and we did not have the financial resources to subsidize their care. Both would have ended up on the streets. Today—both are receiving the care they so desperately need. Because of the courageous decision making of Board and agency leadership, as well as the generous support of the United Way, two lives have been changed. We’re only two weeks into the new year, and those decisions are paying invaluable dividends.