The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, May 10, for Hope Hill, a private childcare agency that opened a new office recently on South Lake Drive in Prestonsburg.
Hope Hill Program Director Kiki Morrow said the event was geared not just to celebrate the opening of the new location, but also to raise awareness about Hope Hill’s mission and services.
Hope Hill, a faith-based organization that offers foster care services, started in Mt. Sterling in 1961 and expanded to also offer services in Hazard, West Liberty and Prestonsburg. The Prestonsburg location opened in July 2018 on Ky. 321 and moved to its new location on South Lake Drive this year.
Morrow said the agency is contracted through the state to find homes for children who are removed from their biological homes in Kentucky. The agency recruits and supports foster parents in Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Lawrence, Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Knott, Pike and Magoffin counties.
Morrow said the Prestonsburg office has served more than 80 foster children since it opened last July.
“There’s a very big need for it,” she said. “We have a whole lot more kids in care than we have foster parents. I mean, we have kids who are in homeless shelters because they can’t find a place to go. We have kids in residential. We have kids in hospitals because they have nowhere to go. We need foster parents so we can find homes for these kids.”
Officials gave foster parent Melissa Johnson of Boons Camp the honor of cutting the ribbon at Friday’s celebration. She’s been a foster parent through Hope Hill for about a year.
She and her husband have three children and decided to become foster parents after they received guardianship of a family member’s child at birth.
“It kind of opened our eyes that there are other children out there,” Johnson said. “It opened our eyes to see that there’s so many children in our area who just need regular loving homes and families. There’s so many kids.”
Since becoming foster parents, the Johnson family has fostered about 15 children.
Johnson said being a foster parent is challenging, but she described it as a “good experience.”
“We love it, we really do. I couldn’t imagine not doing it now. Even our older children, they’ve kind of said that when they get older, they want to foster also,” Johnson said.
She said being a foster parent taught her that all children are unique and helped her and her husband see parenting differently.
“All children are definitely not the same,” she said. “They all have their own unique personalities; they all have their own ways that they were taught of being. You have to respect, you know, that they’ve all not been raised the same. And it’s taught us a lot of patience, a lot of patience. Even with our own biological children, it’s made us look at parenting differently.”
She praised Hope Hill for its support, saying, “It feels like a family.”
Morrow said it generally takes between three and six months for people to qualify to become foster parents.
For more information, call the office at, (606) 506-5058 or Morrow at, (606) 791-0890.