PATH aims high to help childrenIt may not be a familiar name to many in Hudson, but PATH Wisconsin has been at work in the community for almost 10 years and recently expanded operation here to include its administrative services. The PATH office employs five in the Hudson office and more than 27 in PATH offices statewide.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
It may not be a familiar name to many in Hudson, but PATH Wisconsin has been at work in the community for almost 10 years and recently expanded operation here to include its administrative services. The PATH office employs five in the Hudson office and more than 27 in PATH offices statewide.
Amelia Franck Meyer is the executive director of PATH (Professional Association of Treatment Homes). The organization has been at work throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota for 16 years and only recently has PATH Wisconsin broken off to focus primarily on this state.
PATH works with local and state agencies to provide “treatment” foster care and services for children and families in need of assistance. Meyer explains that treatment foster care is aimed at children and families with special needs: behavioral, mental or physical.
Meyer says it is clear that children “develop best when they are in families, and every child deserves a permanent home.” PATH provides services that help keep families facing challenges together whenever possible. When children need to be placed outside their biological family, PATH assesses the child’s needs, establishes a program to meet those needs and finds a foster home qualified to meet the child’s emotional, behavioral or medical needs.
PATH provides foster care homes for children who because of their complex needs might have to be hospitalized or placed in institutional care. PATH foster families receive more than 80 hours of training and are able to rely on PATH for resources and support.
PATH also provides support, therapy and education to families to help them deal with the special needs of their children, all in an effort to keep families together or reunite them.
“The goal is to treat children in a family setting. We know from experience that this is the best way to meet these children’s needs,” said Meyer.
To that end, PATH has committed to what they call their “B-HAG,” Big Hairy Audacious Goal. That goal is to have the PATH placement be the last placement that 90 percent of the children they serve experience before they find or return to a permanent home.
Meyer said the goal seemed more than audacious when they first started discussing it, but they are moving in the right direction and are making serious inroads to reaching it through program evaluation and improvements and research into programs that work nationwide. In 2006, the organization hit the 42 percent mark and by this year that number increased. Now, 57 percent of the children they serve are in a permanent family setting. Of that number 37 percent of PATH children were reunited with their families and 20 percent were adopted.
Meyer said PATH is committed to reaching its B-HAG but is looking for help from the community to get there. The organization is currently looking for community members to become part of its board of directors.
PATH is looking for people who care about children and have expertise in areas like finance and accounting, marketing, non-profit management, fund-raising and development, human resources and risk management.
More foster parents and respite care providers are also needed. The organization also welcomes donations to support its programs.
For more information about PATH Inc., contact Meyer at (715) 386-1547.