Necco specializes in helping troubled children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SOUTH POINT — With nearly 600,000 children in foster care in the United States, one company in South Point is providing not only a safe haven for children but also helping troubled children improve their lives.

Necco, The Power of Family, serves the Tri-State area with children coming from throughout the state.

Necco has been in the area for nearly 10 years, employing 500 people and serving about 1000 clients throughout the offices. Necco has eight offices in Kentucky, three in Ohio and one in West Virginia.

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Dr. Edward and Dorothy Necco founded the foster care program specializing in therapeutic foster care. The first office was in Huntington, W.Va. Their son, Edward “Beau” Necco, is president and CEO and started working with the family when he finished college. His wife, Deidra, is director of New Business Development, Communications and Marketing for Necco.

“Getting foster parents is a challenging process,” Deidra Necco said. “I think that we’ve really done well to streamline that process. Dorothy, my mother-in-law, really began the recruitment program that we have. It’s very customer-service oriented.”

Foster parents have a lot of training. At the present time, 28 families in the area have foster children.

The training takes four to six weeks for first-time foster parents. All foster parents have to go through a criminal background check.

During the training, the staff works on matching a child to the foster parents.

“We try to pick central locations, so that it’s easy for everyone to drive, also making it fun when they get there,” Necco said. “We try to have activities for the kids.”

Most of the foster children are older, she said and Necco specializes in troubled children.

“Every (child) has a treatment plan,” she said. “We have a big emphasis on teaching them to be responsible in the community and to be independent.”

All of the programming is based on a philosophy called “The 12 Principles of Re-education” founded by Dr. Nicholas Hobbs.

“The basis of it is they’ve learned negative behavior and they can relearn positive behavior,” Necco said.

Some of the children in the program have been in several foster homes because of behavior problems. At Necco, using the 12-step system, children have progressed and become more positive in their behavior.

“What has happened is through time these kids have come into some of our homes, have stabilized, gone on and graduated high school or gotten their GED, have gone onto other things and that’s amazing to see when that happens,” said Al Siebel, program director.

One student from a residential home having a difficult time has been in a therapeutic foster home for eight months and he is going to school and on the honor roll, he said.

“We’ve got a great staff here at South Point, but who I see working the magic is our foster parents,” Siebel said. “Our foster parents make our program. We’ve got some of the best foster parents, I believe, in southern Ohio or the state of Ohio has to offer.”

Besides the therapeutic foster care program, Necco offers a visitation program.

There are two types of visitation programs — one is supervised visitation where a visitation between a parent or family member and a child is facilitated at Necco. Another visitation is the monitor exchange program.

Necco has a family room where a parent of family member meets with a child. The office currently serves about 20 children in the visitation programs.

“That visit is supervised while they are at our center,” said Ruthanne DeLong, visitation specialist. “The main purpose of a supervised visitation is to reunite that child back with their biological (family).”

Necco has security cameras, video and audio recorders that can be viewed on a computer. All visits are recorded, she said.

If the court wants a copy of the recording, Necco sends it to them. DeLong also documents the visit, whether they arrive on time or cancel and any other facts pertaining to the visit.

In the monitor exchange program, custodial and non-custodial parents never have contact and Necco supervises and facilitates the visitation.

Safety and security of the child are priorities, she said. Everyone who arrives for visitation is scanned and cell phones are not allowed.

“We want to provide them with a safe and friendly environment,” she said.