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Template:Infobox Non-profit Hibiscus Children's Center (also known as "Hibiscus House", or HCC) is a non-profit charitable organization located in South and Central Florida. Its purpose is to provide support to individual families, and to lessen the effects of child abuse on the local community. Its individual programs differ on what ages the program serves. It was founded in 1985 and opened its first shelter in 1989. Since then, Hibiscus House has started several additional projects.

Founding and Basic History

Hibiscus Children's Center was founded in 1985 by LaVaughn Tilton. The organization's founder was directly involved with a case that involved a small boy's death, caused by his own father. A 3-year-old boy was removed from his home by child protective services (or another welfare program), Tilton believed that he was returned too early, and the child was later killed. LaVaughn decided to take action, and created a program known as Child Abuse Prevention (CAP for short). After recruiting, and getting volunteers, and some land donated from her church, she was able to open the "Hibiscus Children's Shelter," which is often referred to as "Hibiscus House," as is the organization as a whole.[1] The founder was motivated by the lack of facilities to help prevent child abuse, and decided to begin what was (at the time) the only licensed emergency-shelter in the Treasure Coast area.[2]

Current Programs

Hibiscus Children's Center is currently running several programs to assist children, and to keep itself financially stable.

Hibiscus Children's Shelter

The emergency shelter was the first program opened by the Hibiscus Children's Center foundation in 1989. The shelter is currently (as of June 2007) the only licensed shelter of that kind in the area. The shelter originally provided 12 beds, and has now expanded to 36 beds currently. The shelter serves a 4 county area, and has chefs, child care individuals (to watch newborns, provide normal care for the children), nurses, and professional therapists working/volunteering for it. The children are subject to a program, known as the "24 hour 'awake' supervision". It has a goal to provide a "safe and loving environment" for the children.[1] This program has, with proof, lessened the psychological effects of home removal, abuse, etc. on the children.[citation needed]

Hibiscus "HOPE"

Hibiscus HOPE (Healthy Opportunities for Parenting Excellence) is a program that began in 1992 provides families with an in-home reunification service, after a removal (and subsequent return) of their child or children. This, in addition to regular checkups by the state to ensure that neglect/abuse does not happen again) aids the families in the reintegration process.[3]

Hibiscus Crisis Nursery

Hibiscus Crisis Nursery began in 1994 and provides emergency support and family counsel for families who are at risk of losing their child due to abuse and neglect, and assist them in solving the problems before the children have to go into the hands of Child Protective Services (or another welfare program) and be taken away from their parents. Hibiscus House has been awarded grants to assist them in showing, and proving that this type of program works. The entire program works by parents volunteering to be a part of this program, as they do not want to have a home where neglect or abuse takes place. The parents may also volunteer for a short-time placement of the child in the shelter, which would result in a shorter waiting period for the child to be allowed back into the home, then a welfare forced removal.[4]

Hibiscus Foster Care

Hibiscus Foster first began its foster program in 2001, it provides training, recruiting, etc. for the foster parents of the area. Hibiscus Foster program also trains approximately 80% of the foster parents in its 4 county area.[5]

Hibiscus Children's Village

The newest, and largest, of the programs is the Hibiscus Children's Village, which opened in 2004, holds up to 72 children, compared to the Children's Shelter's 36. In addition, the Children's Village is different than the shelter, since it is actually a neighborhood like structure, with 8 houses, and a main offices building in the front. The houses, known as "cottages" are arranged in a circular pattern, with a large field, playground, etc. in the center. Each of the houses serves 6-12 children in a "home-like" environment, with a set of foster parents for each house. The houses contain 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. The purpose, as well as more natural care for the children, is to also assist children whom have been in the shelter for long periods of time to be placed in a more home-like environment, before they are placed back home, or in a permanent care environment (i.e. adoption) to assist in the transition back to a normal life.[6]

Thrift Store

Though much of their monetary support comes from private donors, the Hibiscus Children's Center organization also runs a thrift store to make money for the organization.[citation needed]

Statistics

As of June, 2007, Hibiscus Children's Center has served over 15,000 children, and over 6,000 families. It has never been empty.[7]

References

External links

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