PANAMA CITY BEACH -- Anchorage Children's Home has been serving at-risk teenagers for nearly three decades. Now the organization is expanding to include another group of children. The new facility is designed to keep siblings together.
Community members, staff members and department of children and families directors came to support the grand opening of Anchorage Children's Home.
The home has been operating since November and currently cares for two groups of siblings with eight total children.
Brooke Bullard, Anchorage Development Director said, "It’s very difficult to place large sibling groups together in one foster family so this program is unique because it allows them to stay together."
There are stuffed animals and different toys, staff members at Anchorage say the goal is to make the facility look like a real home.
Anchorage House Parent Janet Berthelot said, "It's more a normalcy type of home. That's what we want. We want it to be as normal as possible."
Berthelot has been a house parent at Anchorage for two months; she says her job is very rewarding.
"The rewards are the hugs when they grab you around the legs and say 'I love you Miss Janet. That's the reward,” Berthelot said.
"The sibling group home is special because it’s the only one in the Florida panhandle and it’s going to allow sibling groups who are currently in foster care to stay together so they don't have to be separated and go to different foster home families,” said Bullard.
House parents are involved with things like picking the children after school and helping them with homework. Anchorage children's home even has an adult room so that same house parent can be there for the children when they wake up in the morning.
"It's just like being at home actually, it's not like a hotel it’s more like a home environment,” said Berthelot.
Big Bend Community Based Care helps fund Anchorage Children's Home, but the organization also accepts community donations.