CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Alexander Youth Network, a local youth services agency, will hold a special meet-and-greet and information session for those interested in becoming foster parents this month. The event will feature a local gay leader and his husband, both of whom work with the agency as treatment parents.
Plaza Midwood businessman Billy Maddalon, who served a short term on the Charlotte City Council last year, and his husband Brooks Shelley will share their story of being treatment parents with Alexander Youth Network. The couple have adopted two sons, including one named Jed, whose story was featured in a recent People magazine feature.
George Montgomery, a recruiting and licensing specialist with Alexander Youth Network, said demand for foster and treatment parents is high. Currently, the agency serves 55-60 youth in the Charlotte area. More youth can be served with more treatment parents.
Montgomery said Alexander Youth Network takes foster parenting to the next level with treatment parenting.
“Historically, the model has been just caretaking, but we’ve moved beyond that to actually having treatment parents who actually help change lives,” Montgomery said. “They become the treatment for children who have endured trauma, abuse and neglect.”
He added, “There’s a high need in Charlotte and the state in general.”
Montgomery hopes their outreach to the LGBT community helps inspire other parents like Maddalon and Shelley to get involved. Other current LGBT treatment parents also work with Alexander Youth Network.
“We have several existing foster parents who are in the gay and lesbian community,” Montgomery said. “With the [People] article coming out, we want to make that story a little more prominent in the community. It felt like a good time to reach out. Other parents in the community thought it was a good idea as well.”
In addition to their foster and treatment parenting programs, Alexander Youth Network also operates outpatient therapy for children, including a daily school for children with behavioral needs.
Alexander Youth Network’s event is scheduled for Feb. 27, 6 p.m., at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, 2508 N. Davidson St. For more information or to register, call 704-944-6088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. : :