Many children who enter Allendale’s care come from traumatic backgrounds. Physical abuse, neglect, and abandonment have shadowed their lives and taken a toll on their physical and mental health. Understandably, the children can be afraid, angry, confused, and heartbroken.

Not one of these children should be left behind. Even with the scars of illness or tragedy, children can heal, grow, and contribute. They deserve a future. Allendale’s goal is to give them one. With the help of a few special foster families, we can.

Today’s Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
It’s not easy for children to grow and mature; it never was. Today it’s even tougher.

One in seven children has some type of learning disorder.

Seven million young people in the U.S. suffer from mental
illness.

One behavioral disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)— an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures—affects five to 15 percent of all school-age children.

Among adolescents ages 15 to 19, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

Over a million children are abused or neglected by a parent or close relative. Thousands die.

The Average Allendale Child
The children in residential treatment today are likely to be far more disturbed than those who needed protective services twenty years ago:

They do not trust adults.

They yearn instinctively for family life, but struggle with its intensity.

They do not behave well enough to attend public school.

Some have been exposed in utero to crack and other drugs.

Some suffer from other health problems.

How a Child Arrives at Allendale
Some of Allendale’s kids come to residential treatment from the Department of Child and Family Services after multiple foster placements. Sometimes they’ve been in the foster care system so long there isn’t even a paper trail back to their biological family.

Many come from homes so unsafe that parental rights have been terminated in court; in other cases, repeated foster placements have left the child ill-suited for a return to his or her biological family. Often the children have been failed by adults so regularly that, in self-defense, they attempt to sabotage any new relationship.

The last thing Allendale wants to do is resume these cycles of violence and betrayal. That’s why we need foster parents who are completely committed to caring for our children.

The remaining percentage of Allendale’s children come to us for help coping with psychological trauma or a behavioral disorder that needs residential treatment. Many of these children eventually return to their intact biological families.

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