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125 Reasons, continued — Reasons 11-22

11.  Rev. A.W. & Sarah Clark

The Rev. A.W. and Sarah Clark took a great risk in organizing a home for orphaned children. In his own words, he said, “from time to time my attention was called to the destitution and suffering among homeless children. There being no recognized work on behalf of little children, the ‘cry of the child’ appealed to me. From a human point of view, it seemed an impossibility to take such a step as organizing a home for children, but having a clear conviction of duty in the matter and my wife, taking the same view of it with me, we ran the risk, a dangerous risk many called it, because we were without financial backing. However, the conviction was insistent, and we had faith that God would provide for such a work and faith also in the people of Omaha and surrounding territory. We were confident that as they saw the work being accomplished, they would give financial support."

His faith in our community continues to be well-founded, with generation after generation of private and corporate citizens in the metropolitan area stepping up to help Child Saving Institute meet the needs of the children in our community.

 

12.  Moves to accommodate growth and change

Child Saving Institute’s first home in 1892 was in an abandoned livery stable at 18th Street and St. Mary’s Avenue. Baptist minister the Rev. A.W. Clark secured its use at no charge from the building owner. Clark envisioned it as a place where he could house and reform alcoholic men and women who frequented taverns along the city's rough riverfront streets.

Instead, however, he found a greater need among abandoned and orphaned children who huddled in the doorways along those same streets. They remained in the humble stable for only a few years before relocating to a more suitable home, a former farmstead, at 18th and Ohio streets.

The farmstead had a large main house, but the orphanage had to add two wings to accommodate the growing number of infants and children who lived there. The new surroundings were more commodious for certain, but within just a few more years, it became obvious the orphanage needed to move once again. Though the former farmhouse had room enough to add living space, renovating the existing space to accommodate indoor plumbing and electricity proved far too impractical and expensive.

In 1909, Clark approached businessman and philanthropist George Joslyn about making a donation to support building a new home specifically for the orphanage. George and his
wife Sarah had adopted their only child, Violet, from Clark’s agency in August 1892, just four months after its founding. The Joslyns were already valued friends and generous donors, so George issued a challenge to his fellow businessmen and the citizens of Omaha. He agreed to provide $25,000 toward a new orphanage if the corporate community and private citizens provided the additional $50,000 needed for the construction within three months of his gift. It was, at the time, the single largest gift ever made to a charity in Nebraska.

When Child Saving Institute moved into its new home in 1911 — the first building designed specifically as an orphanage in the United States — it was debt free. Because of its new building and unique programming, the institute was lauded as the model for orphanages across the nation.

The agency operated the orphanage in that location into the 1960s, when evolving societal mores and an increasing emphasis on foster care altered the way the agency delivered services. The well-being of children remained CSI’s focus, but services changed to include pregnancy counseling, parenting classes and child care for young, single, working mothers. The agency continued to facilitate adoptions for mothers who chose to place their babies.

The agency then moved into the former Safeway headquarters on the southeast corner of 46th and Dodge streets. It also operated it’s program for single mothers from an apartment complex at 40th and Cass streets.

In 2007, the agency moved into a new building, constructed in halves, at the 46th and Dodge streets location, with a generous lead gift from Omaha philanthropists Dick and Mary Holland, along with wonderful support from businesses and citizens from across the metropolitan area. The 4545 Dodge St. location houses most of the agency’s 15 services and programs, with the exception of CSI’s Triage Center at Project Harmony and a second early childhood education center — Spellman Early Childhood Center located on the campus of College of Saint Mary.

 

13.  Our current locations.

Child Saving Institute’s main office is located at 4545 Dodge Street. At this location, the agency offers the bulk of services including early childhood education, Teen and Young Parenting Program, therapy, pregnancy counseling, emergency shelter, foster care training and placement, adoption services.

We also provide early childhood education at our Spellman Child Development Center located on the campus of College of Saint Mary.

CSI offers pediatric social services at three low-income medical clinics in Douglas County.

The agency operates the Triage Center at Project Harmony, providing care for children who are abruptly, unexpectedly removed from their homes for allegations of neglect and abuse.

The agency partners with the Center for Holistic Development, Early Childhood Training Center, Heartland Family Service, Lutheran Family Services, The Munroe-Meyer Institute, and Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare to offer the KidSquad Program to any licensed child care facility in Douglas and Sarpy Counties that accepts Title XX funding. CSI also has two staff based at Educare of Omaha attached to Kellom Elementary School, serving 183 infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families.

CSI also partners with other agencies to offer the School and Family Enrichment Program (SAFE). SAFE is available as needed to every K-6 child in the Omaha and Millard school districts.

 

14.  "You Gave" from the 1914-1915 Annual Report

You gave something to the support of our Institute family, but do you realize what it meant? If you do you will never regret your gift and it will bring happiness to you many, many times. If you were called to help an adult you would often feel (and justly, too) that he is to blame. But our children, these helpless ones that your gift assisted last year, are not to blame. They are so trustful; it never enters their minds that there is danger of an empty coal bin. In their purity of trust they accept the home and its comforts with no care or thought or worry. 

 

15.  Keeping Families Together, 1911 Annual Report

It is the policy of the Child Saving Institute to prevent the severing of family ties in regard to children entrusted to its care. The Institute stands for the home. We try to keep families together. We do not like to see the children of a family separated, nor do we like to see the separation of parents and children. However, in some cases where children are bereft of parents we must find suitable homes for them. In any event great care must be taken in investigating homes before children are placed therein, in order to satisfy the officers of the Institute that the parties are worthy of confidence and able to ensure the welfare of the children entrusted to their keeping. When a child is placed in a new home it is mutually understood that the Institute reserves the right to take the child out of the home whenever its superintendent is lead to believe that the child is not properly treated. On the other hand, when reports from a child are favorable it is the aim of the Institute to keep track of it until it becomes of age.

 

15.  "So It’s Home Again" from the 1931 Annual Report

Over one-half of our children are finally returned to their own people. Others are placed in selected homes, preferably for adoption. Only about one-third of our children come from Omaha. We serve a great area, covering all of Nebraska and nearby states. We actually house, feed, and clothe from 70 to 85 children. This means, with nurses and attendants, nearly 100 mouths to feed. These times may be tough, but we mustn’t let our Kiddies know it. They must eat, times or no times! Isn’t that so?

 

 16.  Foster Parent Education & Training

Hundreds of children in Douglas and Sarpy counties need safe, loving homes. Most of these kids are teens, kids with history of trauma, and groups of siblings. It seems unimaginable that siblings who come from an environment where they had to protect and rely on one another could be abruptly separated because we cannot identify a foster family who will take them together. Imagine how scared the younger kids would be separated from their older sibling? Imagine the weight of the responsibility the older sibling experiences not knowing where their younger siblings are, who they are with and if they are safe.

CSI needs special, kind, loving families who are willing to help these kids.

CSI provides FREE extensive, trauma-informed education and training to our foster families and our foster care specialists make themselves available for support 24/7/365, so when challenges arise — and they will — you have the resources at your fingertips to get the support you need! And remember, kids in foster care need the same things all kids need — nurturing, safety, consistency, and compassion.

When you give them a childhood, these kids give your life special meaning. Whether you foster a kid for a week, a month, or a year…you make a lasting difference. The truth is, foster parenting is extraordinarily rewarding.

To learn more about foster parenting, please contact Joan Cooper at 402-504-3649 or jcooper@childsaving.org.

 

17.  Foster Parents Facilitate Healthy Relationship between Mother and Daughter 

CSI's primary goal for children in foster care is reunification with parents. Ken and Mary Johnson have three children, ages 8 and under, and became a licensed foster family with the intent to grow their family through adoption.

Mary is warm and vibrant, very active and nurturing. When she and Ken received their first call to accept placement of 2-year-old Sonia, she asked important questions that we train all of our foster parents to ask —are there any allergies I should be aware of, what foods does the child like — and NOT like, what was the reason for removal, what school does she attend or is she already enrolled in a child care.

Sonia lived with the Johnsons for six months.

Mary and Ken focused on Sonia’s immediate needs and began exploring her skills. They found her speech was delayed and she was a bit aggressive — often  hitting and biting. Of course, Mary knew that 2-year-olds often get a bit possessive of their toys, their space, and their attention and worked with Sonia on using her words and developing patience.

Knowing that reunification is the goal, Mary began to build a relationship with Sonia’s mom Elia, who had been in foster care herself. Mary started to Skype each night with Sonia and her mom. At first, Elia was disappointed in Sonia’s attention span and the fact that she wouldn’t talk directly to her or sit still for very long. Mary shared with Elia that Sonia’s behavior was developmentally appropriate for her age. Mary offered to Skype more frequently, however reminding Elia that the sessions would be short based on Sonia’s attention span.

At the end of six months, Elia completed court requirements for counseling and parenting classes, and she and Sonia were reunified. We are happy to say that Mary and Elia continue to stay in touch on a fairly regular basis for Sonia’s benefit.

 

 18.  Joan Cooper

Joan Cooper is the PS-Mapp Trainer and CPR and First Aid Trainer for CSI. "PS-MAPP" stands for Partnering for Permanence and Safety: Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting. Joan and her husband were long-time foster parents and she knows firsthand the challenges and frustrations that foster parents experience.  With an empathetic heart, Joan draws upon this knowledge and experience to meet the needs of our new foster parents.

Joan is positive, supportive, and a stalwart advocate for all families in the foster care system.  She does her best to ensure that foster parents and children have the best resources and tools. She is a key link to a loving home for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.

 

19.  Pregnancy Counseling

It can be a scary time when teens or young adults discover an unexpected pregnancy — they may be filled with uncertainty and doubt.  Child Saving Institute is here to help, offering FREE, confidential counseling and support through its Pregnancy Counseling program. 

CSI’s pregnancy counselors provide unbiased information about available options to the individuals and couples who seek assistance. All counselors are licensed therapists trained to provide the highest level of care. Questions get answered without judgment. The counselors ensure that their clients have the information and understanding they need to make decisions.

CSI counselors may remain involved if the mother or the couple wishes to make an adoption plan. They are there to assist the birth parents in identifying the kind of adoptive family they want for the child and find a match. They also work with the couple throughout the pregnancy as they inevitably experience a variety of stressors and emotions, including grief.

“It’s a very emotional decision,” said Joanna Halbur, CSI’s clinical director. “Often the birth parents just aren’t in a place financially, emotionally, or physically to take care of a baby.”

The counselors will continue to work with an individual or couple for up to a year after the birth and placement of the child. The sense of grief and loss can linger, so if the birth parent is still experiencing it a year after the baby is born, CSI will transition them to therapy.

If they decide to co-parent, the counselors will help them make a plan so they can have a healthy relationship. they are referred to CSI’s Teen & Young Parent program where they can participate in Circle of SecurityTM parenting classes and the Growing Great KidsTM curriculum.

 

20.  Pregnancy Counseling — Unbiased counseling service provided free to persons experiencing unplanned pregnancies, 2003 Annual Report

Erica was 19-years-old when she found out she was pregnant for the second time. Her first child, Taylor, was born when she was 16. At that time, Erica dropped out of high school to focus on parenting. She earned her GED and had begun attending classes at a community college. Erica was confused and scared after learning of her new pregnancy. She heard about CSI on the radio and called to request help. Through counseling, she discussed her fear that she would be unable to continue her education and career goals while parenting two children, all without her family’s support. She also had concerns about both of her children’s post-adoption adjustment should she place. The baby’s father also engaged in counseling services and expressed that he felt unable to parent a child at this time. Together, they made an adoption plan and are involved in an open-adoption relationship with their biological child (Jessica) and her adoptive parents. Taylor and Jessica will be able to know one another throughout life and, when the time is right, Erica will be able to explain that her adoption decision was made out of her love for the both of them.

 

21.  National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The National Benevolent Association (NBA) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) stepped in to run Child Saving Institute (CSI) after the agency floundered upon the exit of its founder the Rev. A.W. Clark in 1913.

For 90 of our 125 years, the NBA led CSI through growth in services, the closing of the orphanage, and into a well-rounded human services agency with children as its focus.

Even after CSI became independent, the NBA and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have continued to provide support for the agency, maintaining their commitments to helping CSI’s kids.

 

22.  Modified Control; Not Changed in Character, 1913 Annual Report

The former Board of Trustees, composed of busy business men, found the faithful discharge of their duties a burden. Discovering that the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church is an organization specializing in a nation-wide Child-Redemption work, and that it is peculiarly qualified to undertake and perpetuate the work so admirable established by Dr. A.W. Clark, the Child Saving Institute was committed to that Association.

No essential change resulted. The entire administration of the Child Saving Institute is by a Board of Trustees of mixed church membership and every one a citizen of Omaha just as throughout the more than 21 years of its history. Also, according to t definite agreement, the work shall not be narrowed in its scope; every destitute and dependent child shall be eligible to its ministry, regardless of other conditions.

The Child Saving Institute seeks to be the friend and savior of every distressed and needy child. Its doors swing open day and night with a warm welcome in answer to the cry of the child in distress. It asks no question of the needy child about creed, nationality, or race. The stranded, dependent mother with her children is received and given temporary relief. Children without parents or children who for any reason are deprived of parental love and fostering care, from infancy to 12 years are received into an atmosphere of culture and love. Children are boarded temporarily for what the parent, or parents, are honestly able to pay, when this service is made necessary for the child’s welfare. Children that are surrendered to the Institute are placed in carefully, personally selected family homes. The tiny babe for some reason left without maternal love is given the base service that science and love know how to render. This is the especial care of the Institute. No child really in distress cries unto the Institute in vain.

Reasons 1-10            Reasons 23-45

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