The Key Peninsula stood to lose one of its greatest assets last month when program manager, Edie Morgan, announced her resignation from the Washington Children’s Home Society’s Key Pen Family Resource Center. Now that Morgan’s resignation has been withdrawn, she and her staff have their work cut out for them.
“We make a great team. We’re determined to move forward together and rely on the strength of each other,” she said.
For six years, the last two as program manager, Morgan has served the community in many ways with the help of her staff. Under her direction, the Parent Information and Resource Center, based at Evergreen Elementary, assists schools and parents. The Little Buddies program operates in two locations, Evergreen Elementary and the KP Civic Center. The holiday program has grown from 150 to 415 children, and the five-week summer program enrolls about 100 children. These programs serve children from preschool to middle school, with high school students as volunteer mentors.
Funded by private foundation money, some corporate support, and the Department of Health, CHS was, at press time, facing funding cuts as Title 19 funding is scheduled for reallocation for Pierce County on Dec. 31. This could translate into a loss of about $60,000 for the Key Pen, including one and a half staff positions, office equipment and supplies. But Morgan, Luella Coldeen Hudson, Claudia Goczeski and part-timer Karen Payseno are committed to continue their work on Key Peninsula.
Hudson, family support worker, leads the Alternative Response System. She receives referrals from Child Protective Services to keep families intact when risk of future harm is considered low after investigation of complaints about child abuse or neglect.
Morgan fully realized the challenge ahead when she made the decision “to stay at CHS and devote myself to that effort.” She said she would look for grant funding to fit the mission of CHS “to develop healthy children, create strong families, and speak and advocate for children.” The goal to “help children thrive, by building on the strengths of children, families, and communities,” will continue, she said.
As part of her overall strategy, the team will conduct an in-depth analysis of the Key Peninsula CHS budget. “We need to be most streamlined and efficient, and make the best use of our resources to diminish the effects of the cuts and still meet needs,” Morgan said.
Vicki Husted Biggs, CHS family support worker, said, “Edie is a person dedicated to making social change and working for children and families. She is particularly committed to the community of the Key Peninsula. She’s a hard worker and she loves what she does. We’re very pleased she decided to stay.”
Biggs works with schools in the Readiness to Learn program, making referrals for health care, parent education, counseling and home visitation. The program addresses problems that may be interfering with a child’s success at school, works to build closer home-to-school connections, and links with other resources to promote family well-being.
“We have had an incredible amount of support from the community. Now is the time we will need more support to succeed in meeting the challenge,” said Morgan. “We’ve been told the services we provide are valuable. Now we need to demonstrate that as we look for alternative funding.”
Meanwhile, “it’s back to business,” Morgan said.
Community members are invited to an Open House to meet the leaders and get an update on the funding on Sept. 23, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the KPFRC located in the Civic Center.