Partner Profile: His House Children’s Home
His House Children’s Home is a faith-based Florida nonprofit dedicated to providing a safe and loving home for at-risk children who have been abused abandoned or neglected. For 30 years, His House has brought stability into the lives of more than 19,000 children. More than 200 children on average call the cozy cottages on His Houses’ 232-bed campus home. In addition, His House recruits, trains, licenses and supports foster families with the hope of creating a forever home for children.
The Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation is a proud supporter of His House, and recently sponsored the His House annual charity gala. All proceeds from that event went to fund the organization’s “forever” home, a brand new 90,000 square foot facility in Miami Gardens. The new His House campus’ home-like environment is designed to support 268 children and will include a clinic offering medical and psychosocial services, case management, crisis intervention enrichment programs and tutoring services.
In Miami-Dade County, an average of 87 new children are placed into foster care every month. Already traumatized by abuse, abandonment, neglect or addiction, these children are all too often lost in the shuffle, or further neglected by the system designed to protect them.
“One in four kids in the foster care system experience PTSD,” said David Castrillon, Director of Development at His House Children’s Home in South Florida. “Even when they turn 18, they’re just not properly prepared, and around 60% will either go into immediate homelessness or end up committing some kind of crime.”
The largest bed facility and campus for foster children in the State of Florida, each house at His House is clean, cozy and welcoming, and hosts a community of between 10 and 18 kids, who receive mental health counseling and therapy at the campus clinic. For children aged 13 and up, His House runs a special Independent Living Program which helps young teens prepare for life as adults.
His House is dedicated to breaking the cycle of abuse and helping children of all ages to not just cope with their trauma, but thrive in spite of what they’ve been through. In addition to their work finding and vetting stable families to care for foster children and keeping sibling groups together, His House has an 18-building campus in Miami that can house up to 232 children.
“Many of the children who come to His House have never celebrated a birthday before,” said Castrillon. “They’ve never received a gift, or seen a movie, or even spent a day at the beach.”
With help from partners like the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, His House works to create new, positive experiences and memories for the children under their care. Because so many come to campus with deep psychological wounds, His House staffers must slowly build trust with the children in their homes, helping them move on from survival mode and find moments of joy.
“The Foundation’s support has enabled us to help these children heal those wounds by taking them on trips to the beach, to go see movies and do other engaging, kid-friendly activities,” said Castrillon. “Many people don’t think about how expensive it is to take even a family of three or four to the movies, let alone a campus of 200 kids and their chaperones.”
With the Foundation’s help, His House has been able to give these children back a sense of normalcy and show them new ways to have fun.
While His House has been able to help more than 19,000 children since its launch nearly three decades ago, Castrillion says the program is working to expand the number of kids it can help through foster parent recruitment.
“We have a significant crisis not just in Florida or in Miami-Dade County, but across the entire country,” he said. “There are too many foster children and not enough foster families. Last year we had to turn away more than 1,000 children because of the lack of foster parents.”
By recruiting primarily though churches, His House has been able to match thousands of children with loving, engaged families who are willing to put in the emotional work these children so desperately need.
Aaron Newman, Director of Operations at the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, has been volunteering at His House for years after being introduced to the organization through his church.
“The best way to understand the impact of this program is to go to a volunteer event,” said Newman. “I’ve watched children from families at my church playing with the children from His House, and you can’t tell the difference between them. They’re all just kids being kids, having fun. His House is able to take children from broken homes and nurture and heal them to the point where they are able to be productive, happy kids. It’s really beautiful.”