September 1, 2017

When news first reported a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico could potentially grow into a hurricane threatening the Texas coast, the leadership of Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) immediately set into motion the organization’s emergency and disaster plan, according to MCH President and CEO Tim Brown.

Potentially, five MCH Family Outreach offices located in South and Southeast Texas were in areas predicted to be impacted by Hurricane Harvey – Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, Bryan/College Station, and Tyler.

“I’m proud of the way everyone acted quickly and efficiently in making the right calls when there were questions and short windows of opportunity to accomplish what needed to be done to literally save lives,” Brown said.

Brown stated that all Outreach team members in the areas impacted by the storm as well as the families and children they serve are safe and accounted for at this time. In addition to the concern for the MCH Family Outreach offices located in the path of the storm, Brown noted that “more than 30 percent of the young people in our residential care programs come from the greater-Houston and East Texas areas. It was imperative that we made sure families and guardians of our youth were aware that we were ready to serve them through additional placements of siblings or relatives should they be displaced due to the storm.”

As the direct intensity of Hurricane Harvey dissipates, Brown said the magnitude of the recovery work in the area is only just beginning.
“We now have the awesome task and opportunity to stand in the gap with our children and families, offering hope to those who are most at risk of losing it,” Brown said. “I am honored to lead MCH and serve alongside staff and volunteers who day after day care for children, youth and families in whatever storms life has thrown at them. We have done this since 1890 and will continue to do so.”

As a result of the damages created by Hurricane Harvey, MCH actions have included:

• Ensuring the safety of MCH foster families and children living in the areas impacted by the storm;
• Informing individuals and families served through in-home services of the continued financial and family services available, including temporary and long-term residential placement for children in one of our foster homes and/or at the Waco Campus or Boys Ranch;
• Maintaining communication with leadership from United Methodist organizations such as UMCOR, UMA, Central Texas Conference, Texas Conference, and Rio Texas Conference to let them know that MCH is ready to collaborate with them and others on efforts to serve children, youth and families in the areas impacted by the storm;
• Communicating with state officials to inform them of plans of service for all CPS children as well as MCH availability to provide counselors and other assistance at emergency shelters that are serving children, youth and families;
• Communicating with sister agencies in the areas impacted by the storm that we have assistance and offering emergency placement on our Waco residential campuses. We are exploring collaborations with some of the organizations we work with as a possible resource. Currently, a residential children’s home from East Texas is temporarily staying with us on one of our Waco area residential campuses, Brown noted.

About Methodist Children’s Home: Established in 1890 in Waco, Texas, MCH is a nationally accredited nonprofit childcare ministry affiliated with the six United Methodist Annual Conferences of Texas and New Mexico. MCH today serves approximately 6,000 children, youth and families annually through residential programs on the Waco campus and nearby MCH Boys Ranch, and through foster care, community programs and in-home services through 13 MCH Family Outreach offices. For more information, visit MCH.org.