The CarMax Foundation is joining Children’s Hope Alliance in the drive to provide a safe, healing journey for hurting children and families – creating hope now and in the future. The country’s largest used car retailer promotes education, youth leadership, and children’s healthy living in the communities where their employees live and work. To date, The CarMax Foundation has donated more than $25 million to nonprofits.. Children’s Hope Alliance is one of the first to get an award in 2016 with a $10,000 grant to train our foster care staff.

At Children’s Hope Alliance, our highest priority is to provide a safe home environment for children in need. With three hundred and fifty foster care homes, we are the largest Therapeutic Foster Care provider in the state. Our family and therapeutic foster care program, for ages 2-18, is often the first safe home some children have ever known. We specially train and monitor foster families to make sure they have the skills needed to help kids overcome their troubled past.

Sterling knows trauma first hand. Growing up, Sterling was passed around among many different family members because his mom didn’t want him and his dad was a drug addict. Therefore, his emotional needs went unmet and he didn’t have adequate supervision, food or friends. Because of these things, Sterling became very violent, aggressive and did not know when his next meal would be. He came to Children’s Hope Alliance and was placed in one of our foster homes.

With support from Children’s Hope Alliance and his foster family, Sterling went from having violent behavior, hoarding food and being an occasional “C” student to a well-behaved “straight-A” student who is now in college attending acting school in New York City. Sterling’s foster parent offered a safe place to live, encouragement and hope for the future. Most importantly, he learned how to manage his feelings of pain, anger and abandonment so he could leave the past behind.

One of the most critical skills for these families who are caring for challenging children in their homes is to teach children to manage their feelings of frustration, anger and loss in more socially and developmentally appropriate ways. Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families (TCIF) is a model of care developed by Cornell University that stresses crisis prevention and crisis de-escalation in ways that help children learn to avoid losing control. The $10,000 grant will pay for this training of foster care staff. Once our staff are trained and certified they can train foster families in this special model of care.

Staff will learn how to instruct foster parents to avoid power struggles and enlist a child’s cooperation. Training will also include helping parents to see how a crisis can be an opportunity for the child to learn new coping skills. With this training, foster parents can expect a decrease in the number of crises episodes within six months of training. The agency also expects to see the number of disruptions to non-permanent settings or higher level of care to drop by 25 percent.