Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) received the “2019 Innovation Award” from the United Methodist Association of Health & Welfare Ministries (UMA) during the organization’s annual meeting on May 7 in Ft. Myers, Fla. The award is in recognition of the state-of-the-art residential homes being built on the Waco campus of MCH to better meet for the needs of children and youth today and in the future.
The Innovation Award is presented to the UMA member organization that has demonstrated a creative and unique approach to ministry.
In 2015, MCH launched the Building Hope capital campaign which will ultimately lead to 11 new homes being built on the Waco campus, a location where MCH has cared for children and youth since 1890. The decision was the result of a strategic initiative that challenged MCH to develop an innovative new home design that considers the needs of our current and future population, modern innovation and efficiencies, and current licensing standards. The first home opened in 2016 and was followed by two more in 2017. The fourth and fifth homes are nearing completion and funds are currently being raised for the remaining six homes.
“We are proud and honored to receive this recognition from UMA,” said Tim Brown, president/CEO of Methodist Children’s Home. “Since its founding nearly 129 years ago MCH has offered hope to children, youth and families through a nurturing, Christian community. At many times in our history, MCH has prudently changed to meet the evolving needs of society, and these new homes are yet another example of that evolution of service.”
The design and furnishings of the new homes are a direct result of trauma-informed findings learned through expertise MCH has gained in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practices and through a longtime partnership with the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University.
Features of the new homes include a sensory room used for self-regulation; one-story, open layouts for added security and to encourage greater interaction between staff and residents; private bedrooms and bathrooms which promote greater felt-security for residents; LED lighting which research shows can support better self-regulation in trauma-affected individuals; and multiple home-parent living quarters to assist with recruitment and retention of staff.
These innovative homes have drawn interest and attention from other like-minded residential childcare organizations around the nation, Brown noted, and have already yielded positive results among the children served by MCH.
“Our new homes create an atmosphere where children feel safe and loved and have the opportunity to foster healthy, nurturing relationships in an environment utilizing cutting-edge research in the field of childcare and trauma recovery,” Brown said. “Since the opening of the new homes, the percentage of children avoiding high-risk behaviors, the percentage of students completing the program as planned, and the percentage of students making educational gains have all increased.”
The mission of UMA is to promote, inspire, recognize, and empower excellence in human service ministries.
“UMA strives to foster best practices to improve care and services among ministries throughout the country,” said UMA President Mary Kemper. “This distinguished honor was bestowed upon Methodist Children’s Home by its peers to recognize its impressive, creative approach to ministry.”