Our History


The United Methodist Children’s Home was established in 1871 to care for children orphaned during the Civil War. Originally called the Methodist Orphans’ Home and located in Norcross, the Home moved in 1873 to our present location in Decatur.


By the early 1930s, the Home was serving large numbers of children who could not be termed orphans; therefore, in 1934 the trustees approved changing the name to Methodist Children’s Home.


Our campus had its own water system, school and church, and provided much of the food for the children food from the farm. Elementary students continued in the on-campus school until about 1950, when they were absorbed into the DeKalb County system. Farm operations decreased over the years and were completely stopped in the 1960s.


The two primary services we provided initially were orphanage care and higher education assistance. Many children came to the Home at an early age and stayed until they went away to college or out on their own. Capacity was 150 by the late 1960s.


Over the years, the Children’s Home began offering additional services to children, teens and families, including Foster Care, Adoption, Independent Living, Transitional Living, Family Housing, Family Counseling, Parenting Classes and Financial Aid.


In 2010, the Children’s Home made significant changes to our program offerings in response to the current needs of children and families: Campus-based Group Care was discontinued, while Family Housing was expanded by 50 percent. We now serve increasing numbers of families with small children in family housing, older youth in our Independent Living and Transitional Living programs, and children and youth of all ages in foster care.


For more information on our current programs for children, teens and families, click here. For information on how you can help, click here.


If you are interested in reading more about Children’s Home history, contact the Public Relations department for information about ordering Home Life: A History of the United Methodist Children’s Home.