2023 Finalist - Family Ark

Family Ark TheraPlay Playground Enhancement Project

Executive Summary

Family Ark has served Southern Indiana youth and families since 1973. Through our Foster Care Program, Behavioral Health Center (BHC), Lotus House Programs and Community-Based Services Programs, we annually serve more than 1,200, including 900 children with complex needs. Working collaboratively with the Indiana Department of Children’s Services (DCS), Family Ark delivers critical trauma-informed services that respond to some of the most intensive needs and intractable problems faced by Southern Indiana communities, including familial addiction, abuse, and neglect.  The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified these community challenges and the need for our services, particularly for children considered “high acuity” and who need more intensive, skilled therapeutic services. The Clark County Health Department has reported a dramatic increase in childhood mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and suicidality. The urgent need for more significant mental health support for youth in our community and beyond is further validated by the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2021 advisory on youth mental health.

Family Ark continues to respond accordingly, having made significant financial investments in its workforce over the last 3 years with an additional $400,000+ planned over the next 2 years to recruit and retain highly skilled direct service staff; opened a second Lotus House to provide more sober housing for women and their children in 2022; expanded the Behavioral Health Center in 2021 and 2022, with further expansion planned in 2023 and 2024 that will double our current capacity to provide therapeutic services; and invested in training staff in the latest evidence-based and trauma-informed therapeutic modalities to serve children and families with increasingly complex trauma.

This proposed project complements our ongoing work to remain a premier provider of family services for Southern Indiana.  A grant from Impact 100 Southern Indiana will allow us to redesign the playground on our 76-acre campus to provide full ADA accessibility, opportunities for family connection, and new tools for therapeutic play.  Our beautiful campus includes natural wetlands, walking paths and open play space, and is utilized for family events, therapeutic activities, sober living for families impacted by parental substance use, supervised family visitations and community events.  It is a unique part of who we are and sets us apart as a provider of family services in the region.  This new playground will further enhance our peaceful, therapeutic environment and serve as the site for many healing play therapy interactions, family visitation sessions, impromptu play dates for families residing at our Lotus House, and beautiful moments of kids getting to be kids, despite the challenges they face.