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For most of these children, the notion of a


healthy and functioning family is something that has been missing from their lives, or has not been modeled for them. Creating a healthy family setting is something the house parents know is important. “Families are miracles, right from their beginning,”


very says Smith. “That a


husband and wife can be joined as one, and that new people can come out of their unity is astounding. That children can be grafted into that family tree successfully through a bond that is not biological is a miracle as well. What we are doing here at Hutton takes nothing short of a miracle either, and we do see it taking place.” The miracle can be difficult to reach, and


it takes a great deal of work to get there, as Liz and Shaun know. “All of the girls are caught in a sort of middle ground: they are not being allowed to live full time with their birth families, but they are also not in a situation conducive to adoption either,” says Smith. “Living in that is not easy, but what Hutton provides is a tremendous resource to children who find themselves caught in that middle ground – and there are many. We try to fill the parental void by being as relationally available as we can with the girls. We show them that they are wanted; that we care to invest in them, and that it is okay for them to develop attachments here while still hoping that their own family situation might improve in the future.” For house parents, living at the Hutton


Settlement is essential to the work they do. If they were able to just clock out and go home at the end of the day, the sense of family would be so much more difficult to cultivate. “It’s a blessing, but living here does


certainly affect our lives,” says Smith. “It is harder to get together with our families and friends. We sometimes take the girls with us to family functions or just to meet up with family members, but typically we try to get together with our family and friends on our days off so that we can give the children we care for our undivided attention. When we are at work, we usually have a lot to do, so some of our personal tasks get put on hold.” Though there are sacrifices for house


parents, Hutton Settlement feels like home to them, and they’d have to think long and hard about having it any other way. “Yes, we do feel a sense of home here,” says Smith. “Home is where the heart is and our hearts are with these children.” While the goal of Hutton Settlement is to create a family setting, there is the inevitable


84 SPOKANE CDA • May • 2012 Founder Levi Hutton wanted the settlement to look like a home, not an institution


I earned a graduate degree in organizational leadership


at Gonzaga University and


attended numerous executive development programs to better prepare me for increased leadership roles.” Much like the house parents who work


at Hutton, Milliken’s job provides him an opportunity to work with children who each have very different needs, in a variety of situations. “My days take lots of twists and turns,” he says. A recent day included counseling


an upset child, conducting photo by David Crary


Communications Director Monique Cotton talks with one of the residents as she walks her from the bus stop to her house after school


flip side to the coin: this is indeed a business that needs to be run well. Since 1997, the man responsible for melding those two worlds and making it all work has been Milliken. In his role as campus director, he is responsible for implementing and supervising all campus operations to include personnel, social services, direct care and buildings and grounds, while at the same time recruiting and retaining high quality staff, and ensuring that Hutton’s values are strategically put into daily action. After serving in the U.S. Army for three


years and working in youth camp settings, he earned his undergraduate degree in psychology. “I found the highly involved work at Hutton to be a good fit for my personality and experience,” he says. “Later


a performance review for a staff member, attending a family meeting to discuss a child’s placement at Hutton, giving a tour to a Boy Scout group, visiting a community leader for a future partnership, resolving a room arrangement issue with a staff member, and presenting a major strategic initiative for campus scheduling. “The challenge is giving full attention to the issue at hand, while constantly changing my focus throughout the day. The other obvious challenge and frustration is not being able to provide the necessary care and help for every child that we meet. Whether it be a crisis referral from a family in need of special services, or a current resident who has moved into mental health issues that are beyond our capabilities,


it is difficult to come to the


realization that some kids need a higher level of care then we can provide. It hurts to see a child leave to a more restrictive place.” Though the work can be tiring and


draining, Milliken is the first to admit the joys are numerous. “Watching a Hutton child grow in security and trust over the years, and eventually begin to arrive at a space where they can explore their interests


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