|12/28/2020 11:43:00 AM|
Karcher Foster Services to become
part of national provider network
Butch Karcher has navigated more than the usual number of forks-in-the-road in his lifetime. At the end of this month another one awaits, when he retires from Karcher Foster Services. A regional arm of a national specialized care provider, REM MN, will assume the business as of Dec 31.
Karcher retains ownership of the residence properties while REM MN will absorb daily operations, so he gets to stay in the loop at least.
Over the past 22 years Karcher Foster Services grew from one foster child in Karcher’s family household, into eight locations; where professionals offer care and dignity to medically fragile persons. Karcher Foster Services staff help those who have suffered traumatic brain injury, with 60 to 70 percent meeting medical standards as “profoundly” affected. The business is known for 24/7 nursing with an excellent ratio of clients to staff.
Karcher himself looks back and is still amazed.
A lifetime ago, he was running a vehicle restoration business in Chisago City, married to his first wife Joy, who worked with special needs children. That first big fork in the road came riding a sea change in how differently-abled citizens were provided for in our society.
The powers-that-be directed youth to be assimilated into public school settings and Joy wanted to still have a connection with a young child’s life she’d come to care about, while working in an institutional program.
The couple took in the 4-year-old, and embarked on what turned out, for Butch, to be decades of providing specialized care for those with traumatic brain injury and other disabilities. Karcher has remarried, but the “bug bit me” with that first exposure, he said.
Karcher gradually slid into some “supportive employment” opportunities, and he credits a friend who is a quadraplegic for coming around the automotive shop and inspiring him. Karcher started transporting disabled persons and the residential fostering thing started off on its trajectory.
He opened a business office in North Branch, on Highway 95, around 20 years ago.
He explains that part of the allure of selling to REM MN is the fact their larger presence may result in stronger services and they can do a better job representing providers in lobbying and advocating at the government level. The smaller care operations don’t have the “strength in size” they need, Karcher said. The large company can also offer better benefits through greater employee numbers.
His whole professional life “continuity of care” has been what kept him up at night. The need to make sure there’s enough staff for every client has been job one. In the sale REM MN will make certain nobody loses a job and retention is a big part of a seamless transition, explained Karcher.
It takes a unique type of person to do what this sector calls for and in talking about his employees Karcher gets emotional. The sites here and in Isanti County are filled to capacity. The specialization in traumatic brain injury has been the “niche” that not only became Karcher’s passion in the first place, but needed to be filled.
There was a time when brain health was fairly uncharted.
Karcher talks about how he has been “...privileged to be part of TBI and diagnosis advancement.” He knows Karcher Foster Services was developing and helping spur public policy advancements at the same time the and implications of brain trauma were being explored. While improving people’s lives, he found a career he was proud of, and vice-versa. What more could you ask for.