Neighbor To Family-Maryland
2605 Lord Baltimore Dr. Suite A
Baltimore, MD 21244
"Neighbor To Family works. It does make a difference and it will save states not only money but the harm they are perpetrating on our children and families." Gordon Johnson, President and CEO of Neighbor To Family, on CNN Headline News
During the seven years that Gordon Johnson headed the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, he repeatedly saw children being removed from their home and parents, and then torn from their brothers and sisters when placed in foster homes. He was haunted by the feeling that "the child welfare system is supposed to help troubled children and families, not make situations worse."
Johnson became convinced that the separation of siblings reduced the likelihood of reunification with parents, impaired a child's ability to bond with adoptive parents, and increased the need for treatment of emotional and behavioral disorders.
Johnson left DCFS in 1990 to become president of Jane Adams Hull House Association in Chicago. There, in 1994, he developed a new approach to foster care. The essential ingredients of his concept, which he called the “Neighbor To Neighbor” program, were:
Sibling groups would be placed together in a single home;
Birth parents would be held accountable for the long-term well being of their children;
The role of the foster parent would be professionalized; and,
Planning for permanency would be a consistent, purposeful team effort.
The subsequent success of his Neighbor To Neighbor program garnered national attention for Hull House. In 1998, Johnson was invited to bring the program to Daytona Beach, Florida, where it was founded as Neighbor To Neighbor. On July 1, 2000 it was officially incorporated as Neighbor To Family.
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