Isaiah’s Place plans expansion at new location


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Isaiah’s Place has been at its new location at 61 S. Stanfield Rd. in Troy for approximately a year, and the non-profit, faith-based therapeutic foster care agency is planning a $1.5 million expansion.

The fundraising campaign for the expansion is set to kick off later this year or early next year as Isaiah’s Place plans to add its “field of dreams,” according to Bob Lybarger, who has been the executive director of Isaiah’s Place for the last four years. The expansion will include an annex building of 6,000 square feet, and they are also planning to construct a healing garden, a shelter, and play equipment for the children with whom they work.

For the new annex building, Isaiah’s Place is looking to add a daycare space there for the children that come through the facility, where they would go through Applied Behavior Analysis. Applied Behavior Analysis is a type of therapy that aims to improve behavior, such as social and communication skills and other adaptive learning skills.

Lybarger went over the therapeutic nature of Isaiah’s Place, explaining how they work with “severely traumatized children.” When children come to the facility after being placed there by the state, the facility works to identify the trauma the child has suffered and looks for the home they feel would be best for that child.

“Anything that you can possibly think of that you don’t want to hear about has probably happened in that regard. These children experience high-end trauma, and we focus to try to put healing back in their life in whatever way that we can,” Lybarger said, explaining both their staff and placement families are “trauma-informed trained.”

Some of the trauma that children experience has caused them to undergo sensory issues, Lybarger explained, so Isaiah’s Place tries to address those issues with sensory therapy and sensory stimulation.

Clinical Director Todja Stirtmire, MSW LISW-S, also explained when younger children come into the foster care system, they often have issues with behavioral health.

“They don’t have the words to articulate how they feel, so they act it out in their behavior,” Stirtmire said. “Because trauma is energy. It has to come out.”

Stirtmire said they treat children with sensory and behavioral issues by giving them what they need, “and their bodies need to move.”

At its new location, Isaiah’s Place offers a space for children to let out that energy through “play therapy.” Stirtmire said the space, which is filled toys and other interactive objects, can act as a distraction during therapeutic work.

“You bounce from activity to activity to activity, and you talk to them the entire time, and they think it was the best fun in the world, and you got a host of information from them,” Stirtmire said. “We do lots and lots of play therapy because play is the language children speak.”

Their play therapy can also include interactive games to test memory and reflexes, as well as music therapy, to provide more sensory stimulation for the children.

In addition to being a therapeutic foster care agency, Lybarger said they are in the process of becoming a certified adoption agency.

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