Childkind gives families the support they need
Life can be tough. But kids dealing with complex childhood medical issues experience a life tougher than most of us can imagine.
To support families raising medically complex children, Atlanta’s Childkind exists.
For the past 30 years, the organization’s mission has been to empower families caring for children with special health care and developmental needs while also promoting safe, stable and nurturing homes.
At a Glance
Location: Atlanta, GA
Year founded: 1988
Year presented: 2019
Size: 3 - 30 employees
Field: Human services
The term “medically complex” is not a diagnosis but rather an assessment of care requirements that include a constellation of issues, each unique to the individual patient. To address them, children and families need the right support, training and a certain level of income to provide essential care. It’s common for families in these situations to struggle with these issues while also feeling a sense of isolation within their own communities.
“Most people assume these children aren’t very smart and that we can just house them in nursing facilities, because they’ll never be able to develop,” said Karl Lehman, Childkind’s president and CEO. “Actually, the truth is quite the opposite.”
With over 24 years in service to Childkind, Lehman has seen firsthand the blessing his organization can be to families in need. He and his team serve as a conduit to help parents find their child’s unique abilities, realize their special gifts and graces, and encourage them to engage with the world in a positive way. Leaning in with the Childkind people is a network of medical professionals.
“When these children receive the support they need – through human interaction, bonding and love – they thrive. Parents see it and can prove it through lower health care costs than those of children in nursing facilities.”
A typical plan for care includes teaching, care training and temporary respite services, priceless support for parents and guardians in need of time to rest and recuperate. In some instances, children are placed in specialized foster home settings or other living quarters that will support and care for the patients after they age out of the foster system.
At the same time, Childkind staff need support, too, which is why Childkind became an Insperity client in 2011. “Insperity helps us operate efficiently, which is crucial for a nonprofit,” Lehman said. “We have to raise money far beyond the state support we receive, and efficient operations allow Childkind to put 92%-94% of our funds back into program services.”
Lehman stressed that similar cultures and values keep the nonprofit an Insperity client.
So, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise that Insperity chose to recognize Childkind as a Community Hero in 2019.
And yet Lehman indeed was caught off guard by the recognition.
“It was quite a surprise to begin with,” he recalled. “But for our staff to be recognized for the work they do every day is great. They’re with these families all the time, and it’s not a field that society values or recognizes much. Being named an Insperity Community Hero is a huge morale booster, because every one of them does this because they believe in what they’re doing.”
“When these children receive the support they need – through human interaction, bonding and love – they thrive.” Karl LehmanChildkind CEO