The early years (1899 – 1931)
Methodist Orphanage was founded in 1899 to care for children in desperate circumstances. The first building was completed in late 1900, and the first child, 11-year-old Cassie Bright, was admitted in January 1901. By year’s end, Methodist Orphanage was home to 28 children.
In the ensuing decades, the agency became a comprehensive residential facility and school as the orphanage expanded to serve a growing number of disadvantaged children. Enrollment peaked at 340 residents in 1931 during the height of the Depression.
An evolving agency (1931 – 1978)
In the early years, children lived in large dormitories which accommodated 25 to 30 residents. Over time, the orphanage adopted a house-parent method of rearing children. Cottages for up to 12 youth replaced the large dormitory settings. At first, boys and girls occupied separate cottages. Co-ed cottages were later established to let siblings stay together.
In 1955, orphanage leaders chose a new name for the organization: Methodist Home for Children. The agency restructured to meet the growing needs of children and families in America’s more mobile society.
Marking a departure from providing strictly residential programs, MHC developed new outreach services during the 1970s. These innovative counseling programs were designed to help troubled families stay together.
Community-based programs (1979 – present)
In 1979, MHC’s leaders made a major strategic decision based on research and experience: The agency moved from a child-centered, campus-based program to a family-centered, community-based approach. MHC sold its 60-plus acres of central campus and established a network of youth homes and family-centered outreach programs across its service region. These actions reflected an evolutionary shift from the early 20th-century practice of rescuing children to a more modern strategy of assisting the child by preserving the family. When the transition from campus to community-based agency was completed in 1984, MO/MHC had served as home for more than 2,700 children.
Methodist Home for Children today
Our mission, in service to God, is to build upon the social, physical, emotional, and spiritual strengths of children, youth, and families, and to affirm their worth.
Methodist Home for Children serves nearly 1,300 children and families each year through community-based services: family preservation, family reunification, vocational education, multipurpose juvenile homes, in-home and residential transitional living programs, foster care and therapeutic foster care, adoption, early childhood services, day treatment and group homes for dually diagnosed youth, mental health outpatient services, and training and consultation.
Our values-based model of care promotes honesty, respect, responsibility, empowerment, compassion and spirituality. We serve children and families regardless of religion, race, ethnic background or economic status.