COMMENTARY

SUNRISE: It's a time for change

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Any institution that has been around for more than 150 years has seen its fair share of change. In fact, one of the characteristics of a successful institution is that it recognizes the need for change and embraces it when the time comes.


Sunrise has reinvented itself many times and has never been afraid to do what it takes to best serve “the least of these” across this commonwealth.


Children and families need help today more than ever. For the third year in a row, Kentucky is the national leader in child abuse reporting. Depression, substance abuse and anxiety are at an all-time high. Sunrise once again has been challenged to step up and show others the love of Jesus.


How can Sunrise answer the call to reach as many of these hurting individuals as possible? Let’s answer that question with a quote from Helen Keller: “The only thing worse than being blind is being able to see, but lacking vision.” The time to have clear vision is now. We must have a plan for the future. And Sunrise does.


The vision to do God’s work comes from a plan that begins with Sunrise’s Cumberland Adventure Program (CAP). Located in Bronston near Lake Cumberland, CAP offers a unique outdoor adventure program for up to 56 boys at a time in five residential cabins, providing therapeutic adventure experiences connected with clinical intervention, including the Alpine Tower and Multi-Level Odyssey Course.


But because of recent federal legislation in the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), Sunrise sees the need of changing its program at CAP.


“Because of FFPSA, all states are instructed to execute protocols to ensure that clients remain in their biological homes, if at all possible, and to reduce congregate, or residential care,” explained Sunrise Vice President for Compliance and Residential Services Andy Fisher. “It is projected that there will be a drastic reduction in the use of residential beds for licensed private child-care providers, including Sunrise, over the next four years.”


We have a plan. “Sunrise is currently pursuing certifications/licensure as a Behavioral Health Service Organization (BHSO) Tier III and Alcohol and Other Drug Entity (AODE) to serve children in the expanded residential services programming,” Fisher said. “Sunrise will serve children with a variety of issues, including mental health concerns and drug/alcohol abuse, by well-qualified staff members.” CAP will be the first Sunrise program to initiate these changes.


With this new vision of becoming a residential BHSO Tier III and AODE residential treatment facility, Sunrise can better hold on to its deeply held religious convictions while activating churches to surround our clients with recreational, social and spiritual opportunities to help them heal. In addition, Sunrise will expand its residential services to private referrals in which families may have Medicaid or private insurance to cover needed services for their children.


Sunrise is reaching out to judges, school leaders and others to make community partners aware of the expanded residential services being provided to children and their families. These referral sources see the true need in our communities and are ready to embrace a partner that will strive for the best in each individual.


Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Today is a time for change. We can’t wait. And we can’t do it without you.


Dale Suttles is president of Sunrise Children’s Services.

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