More than 60 volunteers from local Home Depot locations donated time and resources to remodel Baker Victory Services’ Emergency Foster Care Program cottage Thursday. The result was a much more welcoming setting for children experiencing difficult times.
Baker Victory Services said improvements to the cottage were necessary due to the age and condition of the building.
"Constructed in the 1950s, the cinder-block building was stark and institutional in nature and did not offer the ideal home-like setting," said CEO Cindy Lee. "The project focused on renovating the cottage’s kitchen, bathrooms, living areas and landscaping to provide an inviting and comfortable environment where at-risk children in the foster care system will receive care."
Established in 2016 and licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the Emergency Foster Care Program provides a safe, immediately available placement option in cases where removal of children from their homes is necessary for their own protection.
Lee said it is the only program of its kind in Western New York and it has two facilities: Nelson Cottage, which can care for nine children, and Michael Cottage, which can care for 10. In the three years since its inception, the program has served 237 children.
“Since Father Baker arrived at our ‘City of Charity’ more than a century ago, hundreds of thousands of children dealing with behavioral and emotional issues brought on by a history of trauma, neglect or abuse have been welcomed with open, loving arms,” said Lee. “Thank you to all of the Home Depot volunteers for working to positively impact the lives of children in our emergency foster care program."