Solving the Out-of-Home Epidemic | Heartland Stories
Nearly seven years ago, Drake Bassett transitioned out of the corporate world, with hopes of finding a new role in which he could really make a difference. That’s when he discovered Palmer Home for Children—an organization impacting the lives of countless children throughout Mississippi.
“I really didn’t know the landscape,” Bassett said. “How many children are in need, where are they and how do you serve them? Well, Palmer Home has been doing that for over 120 years, and the kind of children that they’re serving are children, basically, who need a safe place to call home.”
The numbers are staggering. Currently, there are about 5,000 children classified as “out of home” in the state of Mississippi alone, and roughly half a million across the United States.
“The people that children want to trust the most often betray them,” Bassett said. “That’s the world we live in. I don’t think anybody is surprised by that, but that’s our opportunity to step in, take these children in, bring them here and help them create a new future.”
Palmer Home adopts a unique form of care, hosting children in individual homes with full-time caregivers acting as “parents.” The organization also ensures that siblings who enter the system together stay together. This model creates a unique family feel and allows for a more personalized approach than what’s found in a traditional orphanage or foster care environment.
Palmer Home’s newest campus includes six homes on 150 acres, with plans to add four more homes to meet the growing number of children in need of a safe, stable home environment.
“I’m motivated, as a leader, to do more,” Bassett said. “We want to create more space, we want to create more opportunities [and] we want to extend foster care… for one reason: There are a lot of children out there that need a place like this. And the ones who come here are lucky.”