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VOL. 112 | NO. 153 | Thursday, August 27, 1998

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By STACEY PETSCHAUER Social services agency to relocate, expand By STACEY PETSCHAUER The Daily News Agape Child and Family Services Inc., a social services agency that places children in homes, is getting a new home of its own. The agency, currently located at 1882 Union Ave., is renovating a 20-year-old building at 111 Racine and expects to move into its new location by January. The new facility will provide Agape with nearly three times more space, which is the reason for the relocation, said Debbie Webb, resource and systems information coordinator for the agency. "We are just growing by leaps and bounds, and we had to have more space," Webb said. Agape offers foster care, adoption and maternity counseling services to residents of West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas. The agency also has a marriage and family counselor on staff full-time and provides counseling for children. Agape charges a fee for some services, but many of its services, such as maternity assistance, are free to clients. "We are a services agency in that if there is something that we cannot do for someone here, we refer them to other agencies that we are linked with in the city of Memphis," Webb said. "For example, a girl calls who is pregnant and needs a place to stay. We dont offer housing for that, but we are linked with other agencies that may be able to place her for a temporary time or get her into something that she can afford full-time. "Plus, we make sure that she has parenting skills and that she makes her doctors appointments, and all that is something that we offer free of charge just to make sure people get the kind of care they need," she said. Agape has only one agency in Memphis, but it has a satellite branch in Jackson, Tenn. Agape has been located in Memphis for 29 years. Webb said the agency waited quite some time to make this needed relocation and expansion because of its current facility. "We have a two-story house now thats very cozy and warm, and its very appropriate, particularly when children are visiting birth families because it looks like a home," she said. "We have a playroom set up and visiting room, and all of it is structured for family. We are going to try to keep that same kind of atmosphere, and thats one reason we waited so long about making the decision to leave here." The new facility will have offices for the social workers, director and counselor, as well as a kitchen, visiting room, playroom and conference room. It will contain a separate reception area, which the old location does not have. The new building also will house a storage area for items such as clothing and milk products for babies and maternity clients, Webb said. The general contractor for the relocation project is Crawford-Smith Construction Inc. The new location also will allow Agape to own the property, which is something the agency believes is important. "Our current building provides a very comfortable setting for the things that we do, so we did not want to go into a structured office building. "Thats why we wanted our own piece of property, as opposed to renting a floor in an office building or something like that," she said.
PROPERTY SALES 27 150 2,415
MORTGAGES 57 228 2,835
BUILDING PERMITS 157 441 6,509
BANKRUPTCIES 61 133 1,920