The House of the Good Shepherd provides treatment, education and support programs for children and families, and now, a new respite program.

The new voluntary program serves children between the ages of 8 and 18. Children can stay in this home for up to 21 consecutive days. At least two staff members will always be with the children.

The House of the Good Shepherd CEO Brian McKee said this offers families with a short-term situation help to stabilize.

“If a child is struggling and they have some kind of acute situation, maybe there’s been a disruption in the home or the home has experienced some kind of emergency, it’s a place where the children can go. Families can visit on a daily basis, and meanwhile, manage through whatever difficulties that they’re having,” McKee said.

McKee said the need for this sort of program is on the rise due to violence, impacts of the pandemic and substance abuse.

“There’s a lot of other issues that kids and families are encountering seemingly on a regular basis,” he said. “We’ve seen our long term placements increase. We’ve seen a lot - the entire system become more populated.”

“I’m very excited about the impact that this home will make for the children, and it’s very safe and therapeutic, and we can do a lot of good things here,” said the respite program’s manager Ted Wheelock.

McKee said Oneida County must refer a child to the program in order for the child to qualify.

If you’re interested in supporting the mission of The House of the Good Shepherd, you’re asked to call 315-235-7770.