By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – During the month of November institutions educate the public about the importance of adopting children of any age to offer them a better future. Catholic Charities of Jackson was not an exception; with much experience in programs to foster and adopt children, they took this month to highlight the awareness of their mission that continues for the rest of the year.
For Catholic Charities of Jackson every child “has a right to a lasting, loving home.” Their efforts are directed toward finding a family for any child in need, regardless of the special circumstances that may be involved.
The primary goal of the adoption program is to place each child in the best possible home for a permanent adoption. All persons who are part of the adoption triad are valued components, but the most important person is the child in need of a home. “In selecting homes we seek to find those which can most adequately meet the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of each child for whom we are responsible,” says Amy Turner, Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption Director at Catholic Charities Jackson.
The Adoption program of Catholic Charities of Jackson is structured, for easy access to any person who wants to be involved, in four components: maternity services, infant foster care, adoption and post adoption services.
The maternity services provide support to anyone distressed by an unplanned pregnancy, including counseling, coordination of medical services and adoption counseling assistance. Catholic Charities may provide infant foster care for pending their placement for adoption or return to a birth parent.
The adoption program offers counseling services on alternatives to abortion and has several types of adoption services available, including open adoption, semi-open adoption or confidential adoption. While open adoption offers the ability to choose and meet the adopting family and the option to see the child in the future, semi-open uses ongoing contact between the parties through the agency. Confidential adoption offers the ability to choose the adopting family but has to option of having no contact after the child’s placement with a family.
The post-adoption services at Catholic Charities works with adoptees who desire background information and possible contact with birthparents.
For more information on adoption or foster care at Catholic Charities Jackson, visit www.catholiccharitiesjackson.org or contact director Amy Turner at (601) 960-8649.
By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – ‘Anna’ was able to focus on her goals and getting her life back together free of violence, knowing that her kitten was safe and receiving the best of care. This is one of the success stories of Catholic Charities of Jackson’s Shelter for Battered Families, now known as the Jackson Victim Services program since they added their “Safe Haven for Pets” program to their shelter program in July 2020.
Jackson Victim Services offered services to 161 women and children over the past year and began the discussing a partnership with Mississippi State University in May 2020 to care for pets of those fleeing domestic violence situations. Sarah Bradley, program director of the Jackson Division of Victim Services for Catholic Charities says that many victims who are pet owners do not come into shelters due to not having suitable living arrangements for their pets.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, as many as 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape abusive situations because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets. And, as many as 71% of pet owners entering domestic violence shelters report that their batterer had threatened, injured or killed family pets.
As for the new “Safe Haven for Pets” program at Catholic Charities, it joins a small percentage of domestic violence shelter programs across the country that offer service for pets. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, only 12% of domestic violence programs across the country can provide shelter for pets.
Pets in the “Safe Haven for Pets” program partnership with Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine can stay from days to months, until their owners are able to return for them. The program also provides vaccines, flea and tick control, spay or neuter surgeries, heartworm and parasite testing and treatment, and any other medically necessary treatment for the animals.
Bradley says that ‘Anna,’ who came to the shelter in July with her kitten was pleased with the services provided to and for her kitten. “She stated she was able to focus on her goals and getting her life back together free of violence, knowing that her kitten was safe and receiving the best of care,” said Bradley.
“Anna received updates and pictures of her kitten which meant a lot to her. She reported that her kitten was therapy for her on some of her darkest days. Because of the new service, Anna made the decision to come into the shelter for service.”
For now, when a victim needs assistance with their pet, the Catholic Charities case manager contacts a local animal shelter. Then the pet is transported to the animal shelter by the case manager for the safety of the pet. Throughout the program, the shelter resident then receives weekly updates and pictures of their pet.
Bradley says, “because our program offers emotional and supportive assistance, we are happy to have the “Safe Haven for Pets” program in place for consumers who need it.”
If you need assistance escaping abuse, please call Catholic Charities at (601) 366-0222 or 1-800-273-9012.
JACKSON – About 200 runners and walkers grabbed their running shoes and purple dresses for Catholic Charities 8th annual Purple Dress Run at the District at Eastover in Northeast Jackson on Thursday, Oct. 17 in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Racers ran and walked through the Eastover neighborhood to raise awarness about domestic violence and to raise money for Catholic Charities newly opened domestic violence shelter.
CARTHAGE – With approximately 80 families affect in the parish of St. Anne, the community and those touched by the plight around the country are coming together to face coming challenges brouch on by the ICE raids on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
St. Anne Carthage has been collecting food and supplies to distribute to families directly impacted by the raids until the community stabilizes.
When visiting for assistance, those affect have been able to meet with attorneys to help guide them through the legal process.
Father Odel Medina is worried about how the families will survive and belies it could take up to six months before affected families find work again.
Cartaghe – photos by Joanna King
Forest – photos by Rebecca Haris
ICE raids – how to help click here
Catholic Charities Jackson hosted a financial empowerment training event Friday, Aug. 10 at St. Richard Jackson called Your Money Your Goals (YMYG). The program was sponsored by Catholic Charities USA, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Capital One. Those in attendance were entertained and informed by YMYG trainer, Andy Zmuda from Catholic Charities of Camden, New Jersey, who spoke on topics including understanding credit reports and tips on making large purchases. Catholic Charities brought in this simple, invaluable tool for parishes and organizations to utilize in working with clients needing financial counseling or services.
According to Dorothy Balser, Director of Parish and Community Engagement at Catholic Charities Jackson, “financial empowerment is about going one step further in assisting clients. Instead of providing a single fish, YMYG is aimed at teaching those in need how to fish for themselves.”
This train the trainer event was attended by approximately 20 representatives from local parishes and St. Vincent de Paul Conferences. They gained valuable tools and materials with which they can work with those in need in the community.
To learn more about YMYG, access the online modules or order free printed materials visit: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/your-money-your-goals/toolkit/.