by Sam Sentelle
Posted on March 13, 2018
At Necco, ‘we build families’
March 13, 2018
“Drugs have taken over,” Jessica Harrison told Putnam Rotarians today. “Children are being pulled from their homes because of neglect and drug abuse. As a community, we have to step in.” Harrison is a home resource coordinator for Necco, a family-based adoption agency with over two dozen centers in four states. West Virginia has Necco offices in Huntington, Charleston, Cross Lanes and Logan. Harrison works out of the Huntington Center.
“You may not be interested in becoming a foster parent,” she said, “but you may know someone who is. You may know people who are unable to have children, or who want to ‘grow’ their family.”
The state Department of Health & Human Resources has legal custody of children removed from their homes, she explained. “And we are the placing agency.”
The DHHR tries to place children with relatives, she added. “But if you’re wanting to be a foster parent, you have to go through a private agency such as Necco. “International adoption is wonderful, but we have children right here in our community who could use the help.”
The Necco organization goes beyond the legalities of foster placement. “We build families,” Harrison said. “You’ll have a case manager assigned to your home. They are there to help you with anything that you need, help with a medical card, or with scheduling appointments.” Classes are offered on topics such as trauma, informed care, attachment and bonding — how to handle the learned behaviors that kids are coming with into your home.
“You have to have training, and go through state and federal background checks. We do a home inspection, and put together a home study. You cannot have a record of a felony or any kind of domestic violence. You cannot live in public housing or be on food stamps. You have to show that you are able to support yourself.
“The case manager visits the home twice a month. “We provide backpacks. Many of the children come in carrying all their belongings in garbage bags. “We have a ‘clothing closet’ at Winfield Baptist Church, Redemption Church and New Heights Community Church. They take in baby beds, toddler swings and other things needed for children. Foster families receive $24 each day to help with the expenses of raising a child.
“We also work with the biological family,” said Harrison. If requested, and if appropriate, she said, “we try to teach them how to keep the house clean, get drug screens, find a job, teach parenting skills and arrange for supervised visits.”
“We build families,” Jessica Harrison repeated.
Necco of Huntington, 1000 5th Avenue, Suite 250, Huntington, WV 25701 Phone 304-736-4835