Local Host Homes program looking for more volunteers

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

When some children experience a form of problem which overwhelms them, they often run away in search of answers and a safe place to go. The Host Homes of Indiana program is trying to provide that place, but needs some help.

"The Host Homes program provides a kind of 'time-out' period between children and parents before counseling can be set up to help them handle their issues," Host Homes Coordinator Lisa Metz said. "The major goal of Host Homes is to reunite children with their family."

The program provides an opportunity for caring families to volunteer their homes for two or three days, usually no more than 10 days, for temporary shelter for troubled children between the ages of 7-17.

Volunteer families are not obligated to take in any children when called, but can expect to be contacted three or four times a year.

"The children who stay at a volunteer family's home have a safe place to stay and aren't tempted to run away again before we can get them the help they need," Metz said.

Funded federally through the Department of Health & Human Services Administration of Children and Families, Metz said the Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force funds the local program, which operates in primarily rural counties where no other emergency shelter facility exists.

"We need volunteers, with good homes, to accept children for just a few nights, to help a child in a bad situation," Metz said, adding that another local program she helps direct could also use a few more volunteers. "The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program is also in need of volunteers."

After training, Metz said special advocate volunteers work in the best interest of a child during court proceedings. She said the two programs work together to provide what is in "the best interest of children and their families."

To learn more about Host Homes of Indiana or the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, contact Metz at 448-9035.

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