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Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Network announces new Children’s Resource Center and partnership with Virginia’s Kids Belong in Southwest Virginia

Friday, March 5, 2021

Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Network announces new Children’s Resource Center and partnership with Virginia’s Kids Belong in Southwest Virginia

Ballad Health’s new Niswonger Children’s Network represents a system of care that reaches into communities throughout the Appalachian Highlands, providing services that extend beyond hospital walls.

In Abingdon, Virginia, that commitment includes a new Children’s Resource Center (CRC) inside Johnston Memorial Hospital, as well as an initial financial contribution toward bringing Virginia’s Kids Belong into the region. Virginia’s Kids Belong is a proven program dedicated to helping children in foster care find forever homes and helping children and families in the foster care system.

“High clinical care standards are one of the hallmarks of the new Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network, but that’s not its only priority – through the network, we’re also impacting community wellness and the overall well-being of children and their families,” said John Jeter, chief executive officer of Johnston Memorial. “The new CRC inside our hospital, as well as our ongoing work to support Virginia’s Kids Belong and other programs that advance children’s lives, will help put our children on a trajectory for a brighter future. And with them, our entire region can rise and succeed.”

The CRC assists families in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia with preventing illness and injury, and it serves as a resource to provide quality and trusted information for parents. The CRC also serves as an umbrella for all family and community engagement programs offered throughout Ballad Health.

The CRC is committed to improving children’s lives through safety/injury prevention programs, such as using bike helmets, medication safety in the home, child passenger safety and other programs; wellness programs to collaborate with existing community programs and create new ones to get children more active and families eating healthier; and literacy programs, as studies have found a significant relationship between reading levels and health status, and improved reading levels greatly improve the chances of finishing school.

“In the Appalachian Highlands, rates for obesity, diabetes, poverty and low levels of physical activity are higher than the national average,” said Virginia Senator Todd Pillion. “The Children’s Resource Center focuses on programs to address these issues and works with regional organizations to promote healthy habits for children and families in our rural and local communities.

“Our goal to create a path for a stronger, better tomorrow starts with our children and their families. The announcement of Ballad Health’s partnership with Virginia’s Kids Belong and other community-driven programs will help Southwest Virginians reach those goals.”

“There are nearly 1,000 children in foster care in the southwestern region of Virginia, and about 300 of them are available for adoption,” said Janet Kelly, President of Virginia’s Kids Belong. “The best way that we know to solve the problem, and what we have done all over Virginia, is to unite leaders in the faith, government and business spheres to end the foster care crisis. Ballad Health is in such a unique position to be a major partner in this solution, and I am so grateful to them and Highlands Fellowship Church for joining us in this mission.”

The CRC will be located in a new space inside Johnston Memorial’s main lobby and staffed during normal business hours by a new full-time employee.

Learn more about the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network.

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