FAQs: The United Methodist Children’s Home Sale of Campus



What is The United Methodist Children’s Home? What does The Children’s Home do?

The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today UMCH serves over 240 children and adults per day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.


Why did you sell?

There is a child welfare crisis in our state. 13,000 kids are in the state’s custody. 150 kids sleep in hotel rooms with strangers each month due to a lack of foster homes. UMCH turns away 40 kids a week. All of these situations that kids face call upon us to do more. Knowing these facts, the UMCH Board voted in January to release assets tied to the property by selling its Decatur campus. This decision will help us reach more children and families in need. Funds from the sale will be used to open new offices across North Georgia, and more effectively take all four of our programs to many more children and families in communities across our state.


Who is the buyer?

City of Decatur (CoD)


What price paid?

The sale price is $40 million


Were there other offers? (or) Why did you sell to the City? (or) Why didn’t you list the property?

The property was never listed. Though several other parties expressed interest, the only offer received was from the City of Decatur (CoD). And we believe that the City’s offer is ideal for our mission, given the combination of their market-rate purchase price, their commitment to honor our history by preserving the chapel and founder’s burial, as well as naming campus administration building for our longtime CEO, and their responsibility to consider the public’s interests as they decide how to use the land.


Are you closing?

UMCH is not closing. Rather, we are expanding our services to better reach children and families who are in great need across North Georgia. We maintain our commitment to have a presence and offer services in metropolitan Atlanta.


Where are residents going?

Current UMCH residents will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted services provided by UMCH. Current residents will relocate to safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties; and they will be actively involved in helping plan this process.


How will the money be used?

The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And it will be used so we can expand our ministries into communities we are not serving today, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Proceeds from the sale will serve all of our ministries…our Foster Care ministry, our Family Housing ministry, and our Independent Living and Transitional Living ministries, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.


What will happen to the Decatur campus?

The sale includes preservation of the sacred, historic Moore Chapel, and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder, Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring. The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of  The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren. The City of Decatur will, of course, determine plans for the remainder of the property. 


What about the history on that property?

We care deeply about our 143 years of history on our Decatur campus. The lives of countless children were changed by the loving staff and volunteers who worked here over the decades. That love will continue, and will expand across North Georgia. The City is fully supporting our desire to preserve the chapel and the founder’s burial site as a way to honor our history. We are very pleased with the City’s unwavering commitment to that. Honoring our longtime CEO by naming the administration building in his memory is another nice gesture.


What will happen to the [trees, lake, lawns, buildings, etc.] on campus?

CoD will decide the future of the property’s existing structures and natural resources.


Who can I call with my [question, concern, complaint, idea, etc.]?

Feel free to please call the UMCH information line 404-327-5867


2016: A Year of Great Impacts

At The United Methodist Children’s Home, we envision a world where every child is raised in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing home.  With your generous support in 2016, we came so much closer to achieving that goal.  Whether you are a volunteer, donor, foster parent, or simply helped spread the word of our work, we are grateful!


2016 Impacts Web Graphic



Join us in 2017 and together, we can help even more children and families in need.
Foster Your family can provide that loving home that thousands of kids long for. Take advantage of the joy that comes from fostering through the Children’s Home. We will support you every step of the way.


Volunteer You have talents and compassion. The Children’s Home has meaningful ways for you to make a difference.


Give Consider becoming a monthly sustainer, ensuring the Children’s Home can grow to serve more kids in crisis. Check out creative ways to give including asset-based gifts and in-kind gifts.



UMCH Family Housing: Holiday Inspiration From the Gibson and Hector Families

Photography courtesy of John Haugaard

Meet the Gibson Family


“We couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”


Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and their three young children – two girls and a boy, could never have imagined this Christmas would turn out like it has. When they knew they needed a little help, the Gibsons did their research and found themselves welcomed at The United Methodist Children’s Home Family Housing program.


“We have the most amazing yard where the kids feel free to play,” said Mrs. Gibson.


Not only are the Gibsons thankful for having a safe place to stay at The Children’s Home, they have graciously been able to take advantage of other supports and services as well.


“The Christmas shopping event hosted on Dec. 10 was a real God-send,” said Mrs. Gibson. “They provided more than I could have dreamed of, not to mention entertainment for the kids and visits with Santa. And – I couldn’t believe it – our case manager even found an American Girl doll for our daughter!”


Since they’ve moved in, the Gibsons have been very busy with the monthly life skills workshops provided as a part the Family Housing program. They have been able to work with their case manager, Brooke Babbitt, to improve their credit and pay off past debts that hindered them from being able to obtain housing on their own. Additionally, the Family Housing program has provided the Gibsons with the opportunity to develop a budget and begin saving money for when they are ready to transition into independent housing.


“It is an honor for me to work with our families and just a delight to see them grow, succeed, and then to become independent once again,” said Babbitt. “Their successes are our successes.”


While working towards their goals, the Gibsons have attended social activities UMCH provides its families as well. They attended Fam Fest in October, and a Hawks basketball game courtesy of the team. “We have learned so much, but are also getting to spend time together and having fun as a family,” Mrs. Gibson added.


Mr. Gibson is simply grateful that The Children’s Home has made their lives. Better than it was, in his own words. “We’ve gone through some hardship this year, and couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”


The Gibsons, this holiday season, would like everyone to know that “this program really is such a great support and wonderful opportunity to give you the time and the breather to get back on your feet, and feel comfortable while you’re doing it.”


We at The Children’s Home cannot express how grateful we are to be able to support families like the Gibsons. There’s no better time than now to give to The Children’s Home, when our end-of-year matching campaign will double your gift. Please go online to help families like the Gibsons transform their lives. Your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750 through Dec. 31.



Meet The Hector Family


“Being here is my Christmas gift.”


The United Methodist Children’s Home welcomed Precious Hector and her three daughters, ages 6, 9, and 12, to its Family Housing program early December.


“My grandmother always said that women are the first iteration of God that our children know,” says Ms. Hector. “Everything we say, breathe, create — they learn from us. I teach my daughters how important it is to pray and have a strong relationship with God. And what I have instilled in them, they have given back to me.”


The faith that surrounds them has already been the greatest gift Ms. Hector has given to her children, as well as what they return to her. “There are times when I may get a little down and troubled about a situation, and it’s one of my daughters that reassures me with, ‘Oh mom, we’re going to be alright. God loves you.”


Though the family only moved to The Children’s Home on December 1, Ms. Hector has jumped right in to the support services offered through the Family Housing program. She’s already developed a budget and financial plan to improve her credit with her case manager, Brooke Babbitt, who, Ms. Hector says, “is just awesome.”


“She’s real. It’s rare that you meet someone that is so real. And for me to be able to talk to someone that really listens and understands what I’ve been through is priceless.”


Ms. Hector is happy to share that she was just hired for her second part-time job at a hotel, where she has been working in the evening while training to be a tax preparer during the day. She’s been a tax preparer for the last few years, but has now passed the certification that will hopefully turn that work into a full-time job. Her hotel supervisor has suggested that she may have qualifications for management there, as well, so it is promising that opportunities are opening up for Ms. Hector and her family.


As for being at The Children’s Home at Christmas time, Ms. Hector says she feels blessed. “I feel very favored by God. It’s been a rough year, and now I have been given the opportunity to get myself together financially, spiritually and physically.


“Being here is my Christmas gift.”


There’s no better time than now to help families like the Hectors transform their lives. If you go online through Dec. 31 and make a donation to The Children’s Home, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a church that gives to The Children’s Home with each baptism

The congregation of Sugarloaf United Methodist Church in Gwinnett County holds, on average, 15 to 20 baptisms a year. And while that in and of itself is a celebration for the life of the church, it is also an incredible blessing for The Children’s Home.


That’s because the congregation at Sugarloaf recognizes that while most babies who are baptized in their church sanctuary are surrounded by family and loved ones, there are other children who are in need of the love and care that is provided through the ministry of The Children’s Home. So they take up a collection after each baptism.


Baptismal reflections at Sugarloaf UMC. Pictures courtesy of Sugarloaf UMC.


“This is our opportunity to support the work of The Children’s Home and make a lasting difference,” said Rev. Matthew Mitchell, who enthusiastically embraced the tradition started by Sugarloaf UMC’s former pastor, Rev. Stuart Greene. “We only sponsor local ministries, and this is a very significant one for us. Being able to give regularly to The Children’s Home is very much a part of who we are.”


Started at Smyrna First UMC, Rev. Greene began this regular offering for The Children’s Home at Sugarloaf UMC in 2008. “By encouraging people to give to children in need in honor of the baby being baptized, we avoided taking ‘yet another offering’ which people grow weary of,” said Rev. Greene. “No one passed the plate; there were no commitment forms to sign. Anybody who wanted to give any amount would simply walk to the front before leaving the sanctuary and place the money or check on the altar. Many of the donations came from extended family members, who may or may not be members of the church, but who want to ensure their baby is adequately honored.”


Today, offerings taken after a baptism at the church total $500 to $1,000. “It’s always exciting to watch little kids to elderly folks, long-time members and new members visibly respond so emotionally and enthusiastically while they are putting their donation in the collection basket,” added Rev. Mitchell. “We know through these donations, and especially because of the great stewardship of UMCH, we are making a real impact.”


And yet the church’s connection to The Children’s Home goes deeper still. Currently Sugarloaf UMC has families who have fostered through The Children’s Home, according to Rev. Mitchell, and in one case, the fostering led to adoption.


Says Rev. Dave Allen Grady, Director of Church Relations at The Children’s Home, “Baptism is such a powerfully meaningful time for a family, both the family of the person being baptized and the family of the church. The Children’s Home is incredibly lucky that Sugarloaf UMC extends their family’s blessings to our family.”

Christmas Wishes Come True at The Children’s Home

On Saturday, Dec. 10, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived to The United Methodist Children’s Home for our annual Christmas event to celebrate the holidays with the families and children we serve. More than 300 foster families, family housing residents, volunteers and staff joined together to celebrate Christmas at The Children’s Home. Most importantly, your generous love, support, gifts, and donations helped make Christmas wishes come true for our families and children.


Special highlights:

  • 57 families participated in this year’s Christmas shopping event
  • Over 90 volunteers contributed countless hours of service on Saturday
  • 145 children took keepsake portraits with Santa and Mrs. Claus

As we celebrate this season of giving with our loved ones, the need for loving foster families has never been greater. There are more than 13,000 foster children in the state of Georgia this Christmas. Please consider opening your home to a child in need or making a tax-deductible gift this holiday season.

View our 2016 photo gallery


Photo credits: Melanie Jones and John Haugaard


Children’s Home Foster Care programs at a glance

The Children’s Home has served more than 100 foster  care children and youth in 2016  the Foster Care, Transitional and Independent Living programs, and our programs continue to help more youth for longer periods of time.


How you can help:

Help us recruit new foster parents. Spread the word to your friends and community that compassionate and nurturing foster families are needed.


Consider becoming a foster parent. Attend one of our informational meetings to learn more. IMPACT training, which is required for anyone wishing to foster or adopt through the State Foster Care System, is currently offered free of charge in our Decatur and Gainesville offices.


Learn more: Contact Denise Peacock in the Atlanta area; Contact Sondra Rogers in the Gainesville area; Contact Ashley Blocker in the Newnan area.


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