Nicholas Burnett founded Flatrock in 2003. He is a third-generation adult foster care provider.
His grandparents and parents both managed and operated care homes for adults with developmentally disabilities, so Nicholas' residence growing included not only his biological family, but foster adults as well. "They were my family," says Nicholas. "I learned a lot from them and it has enriched me personally and provided me with direction professionally."
Flatrock's founding principles are based on the experience and knowledge with which Nicholas grew up with:
"Flatrock is family. We are all people, with different abilities, talents and preferences. Everyone deserves dignity and a chance to grow to be the best they can be."
At 19 years old, his continued passion for the work with the developmentally disabled decided his career path. He bought and opened his first care home-an 11-bed house in Flint. Soon after, he bought and renovated a school in Lapeer and added 12 more rooms. Today that home has doubled in capacity to include 24 beds.
In 2014, Nicholas was introduced to Carrie Aldrich, a licensed counselor with a business education. Carrie's father Bill Nason, was a psychologist who worked with the developmentally disabled (and currently supervises clinicians at Flatrock), so she was familiar with the people Flatrock serve, and it interested her professionally.
The need for care homes was great, but so was Nicholas' passion for the business and his residents. Carrie matched that enthusiasm. "We knew our residents could do much more than the system was allowing them," says Nicholas. "We embarked on a journey to enable them to reach their highest potential."
At the time of Carrie's arrival, Flatrock consisted of three group homes. Carrie and Nicholas' two distinct personalities, perspectives and talents, complemented each other, and the business expanded rapidly. Together, they ensured Flatrock not only provided home care, but state-of the art programming for its residents as well.
Today the business has more than two dozen homes in Lapeer, Oakland and Genesee counties. Residents live in a family style environment and are provided with a multi-disciplinary approach to servicing residents including counseling, occupational therapy and activities as well as other services.
"Our biggest reward is seeing our residents thrive, and watching the lives of our staff enriched from the knowledge they have made a difference in peoples' lives," says Nicholas.