News and Stories

  • The Need for Foster Parents Is Great. The Rewards Are Greater.

    There are 6,000 kids in out-of-home care in Wisconsin at any given time and 25% of them are teenagers. To bring awareness to the need for foster parents for children and youth of all ages, the SaintA Foster Care and Treatment Foster Care teams asked some former foster youth if they’d be willing to share ...
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  • Mobile Beat Lab Brings More Than Music to Residential

    Beyonce. Dr. Dre. The Weekend. Hilton Morris and SHIFT students are leading song-writing and beat-making sessions for Res boys. Those are just three of the most popular answers given by SaintA Residential (Res) boys in response to the always-tough-to-pick-just-one question: Who’s your favorite musical artist? The boys were gathered at the Franciscan Room of the SaintA Capitol Drive campus on ...
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  • Two Takes on “Paper Tigers”: A Film About Trauma Sensitive Schools

    Last fall, a number of SaintA staff got to see the film “Paper Tigers” by James Redford when the agency sponsored it at Milwaukee Film Festival. With another one of Redford’s documentaries, “Resilience,” making a splash at Sundance and other film festivals, it’s a good time to think about how far the topics of Adverse ...
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  • Siblings and Special Needs Kids Are Their Passion

    The 2-year-old girl sits at the kitchen table, gripping a handful of Goldfish crackers and scowling. “Are you mean-mugging your daddy?” Mom asks with a laugh. Indeed she is. Because Daddy taught her to scowl. And that’s because she doesn’t talk much, and facial expressions help her communicate. And, in this case, have some fun. The girl is ...
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  • First an Adoption, Then a Wedding for Middle-Aged Couple

    Nov. 20 was “the best day ever!” for Janet Merkel and her long-time beau Thomas Knake. That’s the day when Janet finally got to adopt her two grandsons, Gavin, 9, and Noah, 6, then be married to Tom by the same judge. It was a long time coming for the pair, both in their early 50s, ...
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  • Celebration Features Dr. Bruce Perry on Brain Science and Behavior

    SaintA’s 165th anniversary celebration earlier this month featured a series of sessions with Dr. Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., an international expert on trauma and its effects on the brain and behavior. Dr. Perry presented a training for staff that morning; met with a group of guests, including the mayor, that afternoon, then was the keynote ...
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  • First Outstate Foster Parents Help Make a Difference

    Original story featured in the November issue of Point & Plover Lifestyle magazine Being a foster parent is an amazing experience,” says Wendy Attoe. “You get to see the difference you’re making in kids’ lives and you see them grow and become who they are.” “It’s cool when you see them learn things they never learned,” adds ...
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  • Women’s Friendship Keeps Siblings Close to Each Other

    This is a story about four young sisters who have been in and out of foster homes since they were very young. They have suffered physical and sexual abuse, and all have very high needs. These are not your typical kids. Enter two incredible women from Wisconsin Rapids, best friends. One works full time as a ...
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  • Trauma Trainings Help Groups Working With Military Domestic Violence

    From the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2013, 43% of domestic abuse homicides in Wisconsin involved military families. In 2014, almost 50% of domestic violence cases served by Sojourner Family Peace Center that were determined to be at high risk for homicide included members of the military. We know that men and women in ...
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  • 165 Years of Compassion and Caring

    SaintA’s rich history dates back to Milwaukee’s earliest days, beginning in 1850 as two separate orphanages. As children’s needs evolved over the years, orphanage life was replaced by foster care and therapy services. Now, in 2015, SaintA is celebrating 165 years of caring for children and families, using what is known as trauma informed care ...
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  • Hip-Hop Classes Help Residential Boys Shine in Many Ways

    “So, how was your day today? Can you name one good thing one of the other boys did that made you feel good? You know, this is about appreciation … A big part of appreciation is trust. And sometimes you have to appreciate yourself, too.” Not exactly the way you’d expect a hip-hop dance class to ...
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  • A Cousin’s Care Brings a World of Change to a Teenager

    Renee Lard never wanted to have children of her own. She was always the one caring for family members, from a sister who was born with a form of cancer to members of her extended family. “I just always had a spirit of helping,” she said. That spirit was just what was needed when her 14-year-old cousin, ...
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  • Activities Bring Fun and Enhance Childhoods

    Among the many goals of experiential therapy are to offer young people a chance to overcome perceived limitations, experience success, explore activities and find new reasons to be, in order to reach certain areas of the brain that may not be affected optimally with talk therapy. For Abbi Myers, who just took over this position in ...
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  • Shift Change Leads to New Life for a Child

    Brenda Lytle was not supposed to be working on Jan. 4, 2014. She had switched shifts with someone so she could take her daughter to the airport for a return trip to her home in Alaska. But because she was on duty as an emergency room nurse at Children’s Hospital that night, the world changed – ...
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  • Support, Serious Advice Put Young Woman on Path to Future

    Traci Singleton was in foster care since she was 4, in so many different homes she can’t remember how many. At various times, she stayed with relatives, ran away a lot, then lived in group homes and in transitional living. But education was always important to her. “I looked at education as a way out from an ...
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