This August, the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter (FBCS) found a new home. For the past 20+ years, the shelter has been located at 49 Monroe Crossing in Cartersville. However, the seven-acre property was recently sold for redevelopment, and our kids were moved to a beautiful home in a neighborhood in northern Cartersville near Georgia Highlands College. Advocates for Children was excited to purchase the property and provide a more home-like atmosphere for the children in our program.

Staff, board members and volunteers worked diligently over several days to move the shelter into their new home. The youth were so excited to return from their annual summer trip to Tybee Island to their new six-bedroom home. The home provides ample space for our boy’s program (downstairs) and girl’s program(upstairs). There’s a warm fireplace in the family room, lots of natural light, a large kitchen and dining area, and an upper deck with an enclosed porch underneath. According to Associate Shelter Manager Emily Spruill, “even the furniture moved from the old shelter feels different in the new space.”

Moving the kids to a home in a neighborhood environment has made a significant difference in the children’s lives in just a few weeks. According to Program Manager Tracy Arp, “Some of the children thought they would never have the opportunity to live in a neighborhood again. Getting on the school bus with the rest of the kids, having neighbors, and going to the neighborhood pool are all things that we may take for granted, but provide stability to the kids in our program… they come from backgrounds where they have not had all of that. We want them to have the opportunity to be as successful as they can be.”

The Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter is Advocates for Children’s flagship program. The shelter was started almost forty years ago by a group of local concerned citizens who wanted to find a placed for children who had no place to go. FBCS is a residential program for abused, neglected, and runaway children and youth. FBCS provides a nurturing home for up to 6 children and youth at one time. FBCS’s dedicated staff provides care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The goal is to assess and stabilize these youth in our community by partnering with non-abusing parents, relatives, foster parents, and adoptive families, all while maintaining community ties such as original school placement.

Each resident receives individually tailored services to their age, developmental level, social and emotional needs, strengths, and interests. As needed, youth receive case management services, including legal advocacy; individual, group, or family counseling; development of social and independent living skills; opportunities to participate in religious or faith events; cultural opportunities; shopping; volunteer and paid work activities; and educational advocacy including assistance with achieving a high school diploma, GED, and entrance into college. In addition to basic care, residents are enriched by various provided services, including but not limited to homework/tutoring assistance, job opportunities, and involvement in recreational activities such as horseback riding, competitive and non-competitive sports, and educational field trips. FBCS also ensures that each resident receives timely and qualified medical and dental care, including mental health services.

There are multiple ways to serve and assist residents at Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. These include donating items from the shelter’s wish list, providing meals for the residents, making a financial contribution, hosting an outing, or becoming a volunteer mentor or tutor.

The Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and Advocates for Children would like to thank everyone who helped with our move and who support our programs. We could not do the work that we do in the community without you!