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Whole Child Initiative: Bringing Healing to Hurting Children

Whole Child Initiative: Bringing Healing to Hurting Children

Life is known for throwing some pretty nasty curveballs, but when a child is on the receiving end of the pitch, the results can be so much more devastating. For caregivers of all stripes (parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, pastors) the challenges of providing and caring for the children in their lives becomes even more perplexing when those children have experienced some sort of abuse, neglect, or trauma.

This month, Palmer Home for Children’s Whole Child Initiative will present a slate of speakers during its 2017 Whole Child Conference who focus on helping caregivers meet these challenges. The Conference, to be held at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, January 28, is the result of Palmer Home’s desire to share its knowledge and experience with other caregivers.

“We’re excited about the buzz and growth around this year’s Whole Child Conference,” said Drake Bassett, CEO and President of Palmer Home for Children. “It means people are talking about the way we care for children. They’re wondering if we can do better, and the answer is a resounding yes. We want caregivers to leave Whole Child Conference knowing they are supported and encouraged to do the job they have been called to do.”

The conference is designed to encourage, educate, and equip anyone who is striving to meet the needs of a child. All caregivers whether they are biological, adoptive, foster, or grandparent can benefit from the training, encouragement, and support found at the conference.

Whole Child Initiative developed after Bassett joined Palmer Home in 2012. He wanted to familiarize himself with the history of every child on Palmer Home’s two campuses. Under his leadership and with the help of Dr. David Foster, Palmer Home developed a qualitative means of measuring the wellbeing of each child in their care over four main areas: physical, emotional, educational and spiritual well-being.

Dr. David Foster, former Senior Advisor of Whole Child initiative and a 2017 conference speaker, said, “I’ve been in this space for over 30 years and I’ve seen nothing like this out there. It considers all aspects that are vital to the development of a child emerging from a broken home.”

In the beginning, Palmer Home for Children used Whole Child Initiative to set goals for and measure the progress of every child in its care across its two campuses in

Columbus and Hernando, Mississippi. Soon the organization realized the power of the process and began to develop training and other resources that would be available to caregivers outside of the Palmer Home campus. Palmer Home’s Jonah’s Journey foster care program along with residential care facilities in three countries use Whole Child resources.

“Whole Child Initiative is a resource for caregivers. If I wanted to help a child with a specific issues, I can go to Whole Child Initiative to find that information,” said Ashley Haeusler, Whole Child Initiative Director.

Palmer Home’s Mission: Rescue and Restore

Palmer Home for Children, headquartered in Columbus, has offered residential care for children for over 100 years. The organization recently expanded their Hernando campus by adding three new residential group care cottages. These cottages accommodate sibling groups and provide all children who live there a family context. In addition to their residential care, Palmer Home launched Jonah’s Journey as an answer to the problems suffered by foster care systems across the nation. Jonah’s Journey offers children who might not fit well in a group home the care they need in a private home with trained Christian caregivers.

Palmer Home for Children, as well as Jonah’s Journey, continues to need volunteers, sponsors, donations, and most of all caregivers willing to open their hearts and homes to children who have been thrown a curveball by life.

To learn more about Palmer Home and how you can help, visit


Brandi Torre is a copywriter with Momentum Consulting and resident of Tupelo, MS who enjoys philosophy and kickboxing.


Conference Schedule & Speakers:

Whole Child Conference

Long Hollow Baptist Church

Hendersonville, TN

January 28


Keynote Speaker:

Jamie Wright, author, speaker, blogger also known as Jamie the Very Worst Missionary

Tim Kimmel, founder and Executive Director of Family Matters


Breakout sessions by:

Lauren Strickland, Training Director, Whole Child Initiative

Steve Ettinger, Author, Speaker, Fitness Expert

Dana Watson, Regional Vice President (South Alabama), Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries

Jill & Carl Toth, Executive Director and Curriculum Director, Orbie for OrphansCarol Buckley Frazier,

David Foster, Palmer Home for Children

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