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LOUISVILLE (Dec. 13, 2012) –After more than 160 years of separately serving vulnerable children, Bellewood Home for Children and Brooklawn Child & Family Services have joined hands to create Kentucky’s largest and most comprehensive care agency for at-risk and foster children and their families.
The boards of the two agencies voted on 12/12/12 to merge and create Uspiritus, a Louisville-based agency serving children and families across the Commonwealth. The agency’s children celebrated by presenting handmade mosaic artwork to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Kentucky Commissioner for Community Based Services Teresa James at a press conference.
“Our children have formed these beautiful, inspiring works of art from broken and discarded pieces,” said Mary-Kate Poling, President and CEO of Uspiritus. “That’s what our caring team of professionals strive to do with the awesome children entrusted to our care."
The agency’s name has “spirit” at its core, reflecting both the resilient determination of the children it serves and the faith heritage of its founding churches, the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ. The Uspiritus board will honor the agency’s history by keeping the names of the main campuses – the Bellewood campus in Anchorage and the Brooklawn campus off Goldsmith Lane in Louisville.
With the merger, Uspiritus becomes one of Kentucky’s largest non-profit agencies, serving more than 1,100 children and families with more than 300 employees and a $23 million budget. Uspiritus operates residential campuses in two Louisville-area locations and regional offices in Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Paducah.
Poling, formerly Brooklawn’s President and CEO, is leading a combined staff that draws from two talented teams. Reed Farley, chairman of Bellewood’s board, and Bruce Ferguson, chairman of Brooklawn’s board, will serve as co-chairs of the Uspiritus board.
Uspiritus combines the strengths of both agencies to provide a continuum of care to meet the needs of all vulnerable children and families, Poling said. With comprehensive services, Uspiritus will help the Commonwealth of Kentucky achieve one of its goals – to reduce the disruption in children’s lives caused by multiple placements – because children can remain under the agency’s care as their needs change.
Uspiritus serves children and youth – from infants to age 22 – with a range of services that includes family preservation counseling and therapy, therapeutic foster care, residential care, psychiatric residential treatment and transitional and independent living.
The merging of talents and resources will improve efficiency and allow Uspiritus to provide higher quality direct services to more children and families, said Farley, who grew up on Bellewood’s Anchorage campus.
“We will build on our proven past to serve more children and families for Kentucky’s future,” Farley said.
Today’s economic realities and growing social needs require non-profits to be bold, visionary and collaborative, said, co-chairman of the Uspiritus board.
“When your job is helping at-risk children become independent adults, you have to think outside of the box,” Ferguson said. “At Uspiritus, we’re open to new approaches and partnerships that help children and families succeed.”
For more information about Uspiritus, visit www.uspiritusky.org.