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Treehouse Community in Easthampton offers “a village” to help raise foster and adoptive kids

The creators of the Treehouse Community in Easthampton understand the importance of peer support for families raising foster or adoptive children.

“It takes a village” is the principle behind Treehouse Community, which was built in 2006 as part of a 45-acre development off of Button Road. It houses about 100 people, split equally between families with foster and adoptive kids and seniors. Families can feel comfortable and supported because their peers are going through the same things, and the “honorary grandparents” can help by offering additional help, from baby-sitting to a shoulder to cry on.

“Our model is constructed to surround a family with a village,” said Kerry Homstead, who works with families and coordinates activities at the development. “There’s an acknowledgement that children who have experienced foster care have a lot of different experiences and this support will enable them to reach their full potential.”

The Treehouse Foundation based at the community also holds seminars to help parents and will refer them to therapists and other specialized professionals as needed, Homstead said. Like other support agencies, the foundation recognizes that the key to success is making sure that families’ questions are answered and that they know they have somewhere to turn when things are tough, she said.

“These parents have stepped up to the plate in a big way,” she said. “It’s important to provide them with support based on understanding, and just appreciating what the family is going through.”

— Rebecca Everett

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Karen Green and her partner Linda Cavanaugh adopted their daughter Bianca when she was 5, about 18 months after she came to them as a foster child. The event was wonderful and “life-changing,” said Green. But parenting a child who has been moved from home to home can come with certain challenges, and there were times the family didn’t know … 0

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