The Rapidian

Introducing D.A. Blodgett - St. John's

Underwriting support from:
D.A. Blodgett - St. John's new logo.

D.A. Blodgett - St. John's new logo.

Sharon Loughridge, Mrs. Edith Blodgett, and Mark Thomson.

Sharon Loughridge, Mrs. Edith Blodgett, and Mark Thomson. /Carrie L. Lyzenga

Two of the oldest, most respected child welfare agencies in western Michigan are pleased to announce they have merged into one comprehensive organization effective January 1, 2010, to ensure a quality continuum of services to vulnerable children. 

D.A. Blodgett for Children and St. John’s Home, founded in 1887 and 1889 respectively, have merged their organizations into D.A. Blodgett - St. John's.  “Our two agencies have served the needs of children in our community for over 120 years.  We both share a commitment to doing what is in the best interest of each child,” says Sharon Loughridge, Executive Director of D.A. Blodgett - St. John's. 

“Our philosophies about mission and vision for the children we both serve are so similar,” states Mark Thomson, Director of Special Projects, former Executive Director of St. John's Home.  “Our two agencies have always had a very collaborative working relationship and this seemed like the next logical step.” 

The two agencies view this merger as a proactive way to address multiple issues impacting children and Michigan’s child welfare system.  The merged organization will be the only private provider of a full continuum of comprehensive services for children and families in Kent County.  A continuum of seamless, innovative care and uninterrupted treatment for children will assure increased success in securing a permanent home for every child.    In addition the challenging economic climate, which continues to exert pressure for cost containment and efficient service delivery, means providers are going to experience additional challenges in 2010 based on changes to Michigan’s child welfare laws and processes.  By merging now, D.A. Blodgett - St. John's is well-positioned to meet the needs of children and the requirements within the forthcoming child welfare structure.                                                           

This new agency will be able to meet virtually any placement need a child could require.  It will also improve the quality and speed of transitions from residential to foster care and then home, or to an adoptive placement.  “We anticipate this will position our agency as a leader in achieving strong and timely outcomes for children,” said Loughridge. 

Both agencies are leaders in their respective areas of expertise.  As the largest provider of foster care in Kent County and a leader in providing adoptive homes for children, D.A. Blodgett - St. John's also provides more foster homes for teens than any other provider in Kent County.  St. John’s Home is one of the principal providers of residential services to youth in Kent County, and also operates the KidsFirst county shelter for all children ages 0 – 17, accepting placements from Child Protective Services, the police, and all private agencies across Kent County. 

Both campuses will remain in use to serve the community.  Loughridge acknowledges, “We owe so much to our founding family, the Blodgetts.  We want to continue to recognize their incredible contribution to this community.  People know who we are and respect what we do under that name.”  St. John’s Home feels the same way about its history.  “Our name is synonymous with what we do in this community,” affirmed Thomson. 

Loughridge is confident that there will be both administrative and operational efficiencies moving forward, and staffing levels have not been impacted because the two agencies provide complementary, not duplicative services.

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