Profile: Eastern Panhandle Office

The Eastern Panhandle SNS Office in Martinsburg.

The Eastern Panhandle SNS Office in Martinsburg.

HBI’s Martinsbug offices were originally located on Shepherdstown Road. In 2011, we relocated to Maple Street.

Located in the heart of Martinsburg, at 122 S. Maple Street is the Eastern Panhandle HBI office. Home Base has been a resource for Socially Necessary Services in the Eastern Panhandle since 2009.

Our Eastern Panhandle office closes the gap for those who are identified as at-risk in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties. Staff report most referrals are drug related and involve child protective services.

Our team of professional and support staff, provide comprehensive services to children and families.

At the same time, there is an overwhelming demand for youth services. Teens are at a crossroads of the traditional rural Appalachian culture and the urban sprawl of the D.C,- Baltimore area.

This is our greatest challenge: we must meet this very distinct and localized need.

The Eastern Panhandle office is equipped with remote video recording for supervised visitations in both visitation rooms. The agency is considering expanding this capability state-wide. 

The Eastern Panhandle is a wonderful place to work. Close-by opportunities to explore the region include historic Charlestown, crossing the Shenandoah River, walking along the C&O Canal, or just heading west toward North Mountain.

We are aggressively focusing efforts on recruiting more qualified OCs. We have made connections at The School of Social Work at Shepherd University, located just 20 miles away in beautiful, historic Shepherdstown, and other area institutions and networks.

If you’re in the area, please drop by for a visit at our HBI Eastern Panhandle office.

Camp Tradition: The Cranberry Outing

When the first group home opened in 1999, a tradition was started that has prevailed to this day. At the end of each summer, prior to school starting and our boys being subjected to the uphill battle of lugging books and binders through the halls of education, we strap backpacks on their backs and seek a trail in the Monongahela National Forest for peace, meditation and stress management practice.

2012-August-HBNews.inddPrevious years have taken us to the Dolly Sods Wilderness area, Otter Creek Wilderness area, Greenbrier Trail, the Allegheny Trail and various other remote trails throughout the forest. This year we expanded our repertoire and tackled the Cranberry Glades Wilderness.

As is customary, we mapped out about 25 miles of terrain that would be covered for the five-day trip.

The Cranberry presented numerous challenges for both staff and residents. Aside from the fact that the Cranberry is one of the most remote wildernesses on the East Coast, we would be trekking through dense forest on rarely used trails with novice backpackers and charting unknown territory, at least for us. Additionally this would be a trip with two full group homes and only three staff.

hike-from-behindDay one, setting up our master station, was camp at Summit lake. Chelsey brought a small racing canoe and all the kids got to paddle around the lake. Surprisingly there was only one capsize, even though Damon nearly sank the back half when he was sitting in it. He needs to lose some weight!

We also stretched our legs on a 5.5 mile day hike to Lick Branch and back. After gaining our bearings and some practice pitching tents and packing backpacks, it was into the wild.

We started our march at the Forks of the Cranberry trail head, a 7.5 mile hike along a beautiful rocky ridge overlooking the Williams River valley to the west and then plunging nearly 1,000 feet down the east slope in a short quarter mile span to the junction of the North Fork and South Fork of the Cranberry River.

cranberry-outingEveryone was glad to see that rushing water and eager for a dip. Backpacks hit the ground, shoes flew off and we hit the water. Screams filled the air and within two seconds, we were out. That water was cold! It had just left the earth at a chilling 57 degrees near the head waters — which is where we were. (Pool water is usually around 84 degrees in the summer.)

Oh well! None of us had bathed in two days and after that hike we were filthy, stinky people. So back in for a brisk and speedy wash with our camp soap. A couple of the boys actually “warmed up” to it and floated around in the rapids for almost an hour.

Meals were cooked. Jokes were played. Stunts were performed. Then it was dark. Having seen several piles of black bear scat along the way, sleeping was a bit tenuous.

hikeNext day, we’d hike another 5.5 miles back up the South Fork to our shuttle location. The original plan to hike out on an 8.2 mile, more northerly route, was scratched. We’d pushed our luck enough and played it safe.

Four hours later we were being shuttled to our next camp site on the east side of the wilderness, not far from Richwood.

lakeJoe and Damon, sitting around the camp fire, were bragging about their luck with the trip and the great weather. An hour later all the tents were being flooded by a torrential downpour that lasted about 40 minutes. The next morning, the drive home was in a slightly saturated state of damp, hungry and stinky bliss.

You should join us next time!

Profile: Upshur County group home

The Upshur County group unique emotional and behavioral home was Home Base’s pilot needs program. We opened its doors in September 1999, and provided Level II residential treatment to three young men from Upshur County. Thirteen years later it is going strong. With five beds, the home has served well over 100 youths who have struggled with moderate to severe emotional and behavioral disorders.

When children become residents of the group home they experience a unique therapeutic environment. Home Base downplays institutional norms and successfully integrates a family home life — with the benefits of being a licensed behavioral health program.

Our full-time therapists provide oversight, treatment planning, and individual and family counseling to each of the kids. Each child receives individual attention with therapies tailored to meet his unique emotional and behavioral needs.

The group home is located about five miles from Buckhannon, on a beautiful hilltop with gorgeous sunsets that can be viewed from the west-facing porch. It also has a driveway- styled basketball court, and just over a full acre of lawn giving the kids ample space to expend their energy — whether it be a game of football or the dreaded responsibility of mowing.

All of our kids attend Upshur County public schools. The staff work tirelessly building strong, cooperative relationships among the agency, residents, teachers, coaches and school administrators. We strive to ensure our kids are respected and treated fairly as they navigate the rigors of being a student with emotional and behavior disorders.

Our staff are the lifeblood of the group home. Currently the Upshur County group home is served by dedicated and experienced staff with over 35 years of combined experience working with Home Base Inc. alone, not to mention the decades of experience they gained prior to joining our team.

Currently the Upshur County group home is served by:

Rich Weeks
Residential Administrator

Casey Edmonds
Evening Supervisor

Joe Moore, MA, LSW
Program Director

Brenda McCauley, MA, LSW
Program Clinician

Residential Counselors
Corey Williams
Joe Tavalocci

Over Night Awake
Charles “Matt” Collins
Michael Cunningham
Lori Kimble

State Clinical Director
Chelsey Rogers, MA

Home Base Inc. now offers a new paid leave donation option

An employee (donater) can now donate paid leave to another employee (donatee).

This policy permits such a donation (by donater) to occur when an employee (donatee) has need for additional paid leave because he/she (donatee) has exhausted all paid leave. The need may arise due to the donatee’s own illness or from the donatee’s need to care for a family member who has a serious medical hardship or illness.

Amanda Shipley, Personnel

Amanda Shipley, Personnel

This policy is not intended to cover an employee (donatee) who has a common illness or an illness or injury covered by worker’s compensation. Similarly, this policy is not intended to provide leave to any employee (donatee) who is on probation, not in good standing with the company, or has previously abused any paid leave. Contact Human Resources for a copy of the complete policy and all forms required to participate in the program.

Looking Forward

A Note from the Founder and CEO

Damon Cater, Founder and CEO

Damon Cater, Founder and CEO

Next month, Home Base Inc. will be 17-years-old. From my perspective, having founded the corporation in 1996, I can tell you that time is definitely relative; creeping by at a snail’s pace in many of the early years that we were

getting off the ground, operating on shoe-string budgets, and flying by like a Japanese high-speed train when we were opening offices throughout the state – at a rate of one per year.

We have had many triumphs as well as many heartbreaks. Yet here we are — stronger than ever and looking forward to a bright and meaningful future.

Home Base Inc. has always boasted of being the only truly community-based residential treatment program in the state. Our recidivism reports that are on file with the residential licensing board certainly indicate that it

is one of — if not the most — effective program in the state. We are successful in preventing kids who enter residential treatment from relapsing and returning to state custody.

Today we can also boast that we are the largest and most widely used Socially Necessary Service provider in West Virginia.

“We are successful in preventing kids who enter residential treatment from relapsing and returning to state custody.”

With offices located in Randolph, Marion, Kanawha, Greenbrier, Hardy, Berkeley and, most recently, Ohio counties, Home Base Inc. is the most comprehensive and physically-accessible SNS provider beating all other agencies hands down in the entire state.

We owe this success to all of the workers who have dedicated their efforts to the families and children we serve.

From our very beginning, Home Base’s leadership has continued to develop a culture that values and prioritizes relationships with and among employees. This is evident in the payroll and benefits that the agency provides. Employees are also treated compassionately during time of need and crisis.

I’m proud to report that we enhanced salaries for all residential child care workers in 2011, and rate increases were approved for OCs meeting annual requirements. These actions reflect HBI’s commitment and appreciation of the employees who operate this agency.

And I believe we can do more.

We are currently working on strategies to improve and simplify billing — freeing-up OCs and Unit Supervisors to focus on families and supervision. This process allows OCs to enter their billing hours into a web-based program that generates all the required authorizations and forms to accurately bill for services.

We are also always researching the best rates for premiums and quality health insurance coverages. Recently we added dental and eye care to our comprehensive coverage package at very little cost per month to the employees.

Home Base Inc. will continue to grow, as new health care reform policies increase the need for services to our most vulnerable families and children.

As we grow, more opportunities outside of the child care and therapeutic skill set will become necessary — including training, human resources, information technology, and marketing and communications.

I encourage you to talk to your friends and family about their professional goals and interests in working for one of the most progressive and innovative DHHR contractors in the state.

Thank you all, for your hard work and dedication.

Sincerely,

Damon Cater Founder/CEO