News & Events

July 30, 2014: Parenting Classes Build Confidence, Prevent Abuse and Neglect

Parenting is full of challenges from time management, power struggles and dinner table battles to sleep deprivation, school difficulties and media exposure. Children in today’s society face risks associated with bullying, social media, drugs, sex and violence. For some families, poverty, homelessness, grief and loss or physical and mental health challenges may compound these struggles. All parents deserve support no matter their family configuration or socioeconomic situation.


At the United Methodist Children’s Home, we believe that one of the best ways to help kids is to help their parents. Across the North Georgia Conference, we support parents and prevent child abuse and neglect through parent education. When parents receive the tools that they need, children win. When more children are safe in their own homes, we see less child abuse and neglect. In 2013 alone, the Children’s Home reached 132 families in 39 counties through parenting classes.


Recently, we had a young, first-time mother of twin toddlers complete our parenting classes.  Jennifer* came to her first class overwhelmed by the huge daily task of keeping up with two energetic little ones all by herself. Through the classes, she learned the importance of self-care, household safety, building a support network and developing a strong parent-child relationship. Jennifer shared her experiences and connected with other parents in the class. Most importantly, these classes helped her gain confidence in herself as a parent.


We work with first-time moms and dads as well as seasoned parents, with the parents of unruly teenagers and with those that are just learning how to care for toddlers.  We help those who just want a little extra support as well as the parents who are desperate to regain custody of their children after unfortunate circumstances.  Families come in all shapes and sizes.  Through our parenting classes, we have the opportunity to shape those families toward a stronger and healthier future.


We use an evidence-based curriculum from Active Parenting developed by Dr. Michael Popkin. In the words of Dr. Popkin, “Parenting is both important and difficult…and like any job that is both important and difficult, it deserves both training and support.”


In each class, we create a supportive, discussion-oriented environment. Our staff work with parents to provide both the training and support needed for successful families. We teach parents about child development, making good choices, discipline methods and how to build a strong, positive relationship with their children. Parents ask real questions and share their struggles with our professional staff and other parents. Parents realize they are not alone in their journey, and it is okay to seek support.


Contact us in your area to find a parenting class near you OR invite us to host a class in your church or organization.


August District Office

Thurman Norville

706-722-8669 or

325 8th St., Augusta, GA 30901


Gainesville District Office

Sondra Rogers

770-531-3063 or

604 Washington St. NW, A-6, Gainesville, GA 30501


Northwest District Office

Mike LaChapelle

706-278-4010 or

1615 Hickory St., Ste. 118, Dalton, GA 30720


Rome-Carrollton District Office

Catherine Casey

706-295-3911 or

206 E. 2nd St, Rome, GA 30161


Decatur Main Office

Noelle Owen

404-327-5873 or

500 S. Columbia Dr., Decatur, GA 30030


Tips for Parents and Caregivers


  • Set a good example through words AND actions
  • Be proactive instead of reactive
  • Give energy and attention to positive instead of negative behavior
  • Keep your promises, and only make promises you can keep
  • Use consequences, not punishments and rewards
  • Include and encourage your child
  • Take care of yourself


When to Seek Help for Your Child


Parents know their children better than anyone else. Through active involvement in their children’s lives, parents are usually the first to notice when there is a sudden change or problem with a child’s behavior or emotions. Asking for help can be difficult for both parent and child. Parents can reach out to their family’s pediatrician, pastor, school or other adults in the child’s life to get support and guidance. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help for your child:


  • Sudden drop in school performance
  • Low grades in school even when the child is trying very hard
  • Hyperactivity, fidgeting and difficulty controlling behavior
  • Worry or anxiety affecting a child’s participation in age-appropriate activities
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Frequent, unexplainable emotional outbursts
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Inability coping with problems
  • Sexual acting out
  • Frequent physical complaints with no identifiable illness
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Self-injury or harm to others
  • Threats or attempts to run away
  • Strange thoughts or unusual behaviors


If your family is struggling or you would like additional support, please contact one of our offices for information about our parenting classes, counseling education, emergency financial assistance or additional community resources.


July 25, 2014: Overcoming Fear, with Love

Lora Petersheim always will remember the baby that broke her heart and helped her overcome fear of becoming a foster parent. A nurse, she was taking care of two babies in a neonatal intensive care unit. One had an adopted home, and throughout the day family members visited, brought gifts, laughed and spoke happily about bringing the baby home. The other baby was in the custody of the state.


“There were no gifts, no phone calls, no signs of love for that baby,” said Lora. “When the infant was discharged that night to DFACS, I cried and cried. I felt just a little of the pain that God feels for His children, and it was almost unbearable. My fears vanished as they were replaced with the desire to love children who needed to be loved, no matter the cost.”

Continue Reading…

Parenting Classes Begin Aug. 6 in Decatur


Parenting classes begin Aug. 6 on our Decatur campus!
Connect with other parents, gain confidence in your parenting skills and learn how to build a support network. We help all types of parents, from single mothers to parents of unruly teenagers to parents desperate to regain custody of their children after unfortunate situations.

The series of six discussion-oriented classes will take place Wednesdays beginning Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. The classes are free, and the Active Parenting Now curriculum (which you keep) is $15.00. A Certificate of Completion is provided to those who complete the class.

RSVP to Bonita at


Note: UMCH staff may also conduct Parenting Classes with the Active Parenting curriculum for schools, churches and other groups. If you’d like to talk with someone about scheduling a class for your group, contact Bonita or your closest UMCH office.

Parenting classes begin Aug. 6 on our Decatur campus.

Deloitte Impact Day

For 15 years, Deloitte has sent volunteers to nonprofits across the country on the same day – Impact Day. The Children’s Home has been honored to be chosen as a host site for several years. What an IMPACT these volunteers truly made! They pruned hedges, repaired a porch, rebuilt a fence, and did other projects to make our campus a safer and more inviting home for our residents. Thank you, Deloitte!


Corporate groups are always welcome! Contact Sharon Brewer for more details.




Birthday Girls Give More Than They Receive

What a great example of Christian love and service! Two sisters, Brooke and Lauren Edmunds celebrated their 8th and 6th birthdays in May. Instead of presents, the girls asked their guests for donations of money – the sisters raised $115! – toys, games, and books for the United Methodist Children’s Home! It’s a birthday tradition. Their parents, Kristin Patterson Edmunds and Tim Edmunds are life-long members of Decatur First United Methodist Church and the girls are 6th generation members!


This sweet story gets even better. The day after Brooke and Lauren delivered their gifts, two new children were welcomed into one of our foster homes – a 4-year-old boy and his 4-day-old sister. Those toys and books from Brooke and Lauren were PERFECT for the little boy and were taken directly to him at his foster home. What a great example of how your gifts have an immediate impact on the lives of our children!


PS. This story first appeared on our facebook page. “Like” our page today – our facebook family is the first to hear our good news and uplifting stories.

Brooke and Lauren Edmunds Facebook post


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