Feels like home: Burdette shares journey to leading shelter

Published 9:02 am Monday, February 1, 2016


King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes started more than 30 years ago and merged in the late 1990s to become King’s Home, which operates 22 residential group homes and six campuses in four counties.

Multiple King’s Home sites are located in Shelby County, according to Burdette, whose office is located on the Chelsea campus.

King’s Ranch, the youth program, serves boys and girls ages 10-21 in 12 residential youth homes, with primary referral sources being the Department of Human Resources and private placements.

Ninety-three percent of children in the program have been abused, 75 percent are classified as having severe behavioral problems and 90 percent arrive at least one grade level behind.

“We take kids that nobody else will take,” Burdette said. “That’s our call. We really point them toward Jeremiah 29:11, just helping them be successful because they haven’t been successful anywhere else.”

Nearly 80 children from 26 counties currently live at King’s Home, according to Burdette.

Each home has house parents and tutors for the children, who attend public schools with their peers.

“The therapeutic component is strong,” Burdette said. “House parents live at every home. We are a certified therapeutic program today.”

Burdette mentioned one teen that came to the home as an F student, but left as a senior with a college scholarship to the University of Alabama.

“They have that kind of opportunity if they choose,” Burdette said.

Women, mothers and children escaping domestic violence and homelessness find refuge at Hannah Homes, 10 residential group homes that offer services including domestic violence counseling, parenting skills, substance abuse classes, education, employment, housing and childcare.

Referrals come from churches, courts, law enforcement, other programs, mental health and the Department of Human Services.

The program serves residents for up to two years at the long-term residential homes, which are fully funded by private gifts.

King’s Home operates with a $5.3 million budget and, in 2015, recorded 46,270 bed days, along with 410 residents served. Funding sources include DHR (50 percent), community (35 percent) and thrift stores (15 percent).

King’s Home offers residents of all ages opportunities to heal from past experiences through various programs.

The horse program is designed “to help break down barriers that naturally exist within those individuals who have experienced unthinkable stress and trauma” through equine assisted therapy.

Another program is “The Potter’s Hands,” an art therapy program, focused on equipping at-risk children and women to express their creativity in a secure environment. The King’s Home pottery line, Prodigal Pottery, generates jobs and revenue for women at the home.

King’s Garden is a new educational and horticultural therapeutic garden program, and the “Hen House” program on The Farm affords children chances to care for chickens and gather their eggs for use at the homes.

At The Farm, residents learn lessons such as how to create a health nutrition plan, how to cook fresh vegetables and other skills they will need to live on their own.

“They’re learning so many life skills,” Burdette said. “You just never know how God is going to use all that stuff.”