Trying the Reality of Love
June 16, 2019 – Ruston – On this Father’s Day I will share a story with you from our past…. Read More
Today we do it with charts, graphs and datapoints, but for a century we have repeated the same frustration in our annual reports.
In 1915, Rev. R. W. Vaughan, Superintendent of Louisiana Methodist Orphanage, reported,
"The most serious condition that confronts us is the constant and ever growing demands on us to take more children. We now have our full capacity, and until we are to build and equip another building, and secure a larger income for our maintenance, it will be quite impossible for us to take more children into our home. The fact that we have been compelled to refuse a home to over 350 children this year, many of whom were as needy as any we now have under our care, is a most distressing fact."
In 1936, he reported,
"Many appeals have come to us during the year to take needy children, and while we have taken as many as we could, without crowding, and as many as we could properly care for, quite a number remain on our waiting list that we are not yet able to provide for."
Rev. Vaughan repeated a similar plight in 1938. At the time of his report, there were 169 children living at the Home.
"Many appealing cases have come before us during the year, but we have been able to receive only a few. We are crowded at present. It is hard to turn away homeless and needy children. It is a pity we do not have room and means for caring for more."
In 1939, Mr. S. D. Pearce who was President of the Board of Directors of Louisiana Methodist Orphanage reported,
"We have all we can now comfortably shelter, with a large waiting list at our door crying for admittance. It will take considerable money to supply this need, and it is a matter for liberal-minded Methodists to keep in mind until a decisive movement to that end is made."
Mr. W. A. J. Lewis, President of the Board of Directors, reported in 1976,
"There is a great demand for services like ours to adolescents in Louisiana, and the resources are few. We cannot now serve all who are referred to us: 37% of all requests for services last year were turned away due to lack of space."
Today we tell the same story.
Mr. Terrel Deville, the President and CEO of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, Inc. (we’ve grown) reported,
"During 2009, Louisiana United Methodist Children & Family Services, Inc. (LUMCFS) received a total of 1187 referrals for placement in our residential programs … LUMCFS served a total of 290 individual youth in our residential programs."
Annual report after annual report during the Home’s first 100 years contains the same frustration. There are always more children who need care and whose parents or guardians turn to the Home for that care than we have been able to serve.
What do you do when there’s no more room in the inn? You become proactive!
Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to meet more of the overwhelming demand for services:
We are expanding our ability to provide services.
We are building new facilities designed to care for children with the most severe needs. You can see the photos of the Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana which is being built in Sulphur, Louisiana. We opened the Methodist Home for Children of Greater New Orleans in Mandeville, Louisiana. These two programs, located in different regions of Louisiana, give us the ability to provide intensive care for children much closer to their families in South Louisiana.
We’ve opened Family Plus offices across Louisiana.
The Family Plus program works to prevent residential placements by providing assessment and treatment services for families who seek care from the Home. We strongly believe that placement in residential care must always be a last resort and have opened Family Plus offices in Monroe, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Alexandria and Natchitoches.
From two of our Family Plus offices (Monroe and Shreveport) we also offer intensive, in-homes treatment to prevent the out-of-home placement of teens. We offer MultiSystemic Therapy (MST) to help families gain control of crisis situations, create structures to build family strengths, and maintain children where they need to be: at home with their family.
Family Counseling Center
Our Family Counseling Center in Ruston provides outpatient treatment services for children, couples and families.
We frequently host professional seminars and invite mental health professionals to participate in training provided by experts in the field of child and family care.
We Share Our Expertise
We share what we’ve learned during the last 100 years. At any given time, we have staff members who are serving as consultants to community organizations, religious groups, governmental agencies, child care agencies and professional organizations. We do this because we believe prevention is always better than a cure.
At Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home we are not afraid to try new things. And we do it knowing that some new things will not work as planned. We develop and implement new treatment programs and, if they work, we continue them. If they don’t, we learn from the trial and use the knowledge in our next efforts.
If it will allow us to accomplish our mission, we’re willing to change. A classic example is that the Home is no longer an orphanage. We’re a residential treatment facility providing a continuum of care to meet the needs of children and families across Louisiana. Our services are offered over the entire spectrum of need from family counseling to intensive residential care for violent children.
In fact, when you study the Home’s history you find that innovation and experimentation have provided opportunities for growth into new methods of caring for children and families. Imagine how astonished those who cared for children at the Home in the past would be if they could visit now!
The charts, graphs and statistics in the annual reports of services tell us we’re impacting more lives each year than ever before. And we do it knowing that at the end of the year our annual report will reflect the same historic frustration: "We couldn’t meet all of the needs."
So we redouble our efforts, care well for those we serve, and work to discover even more effective methods of caring for Louisiana’s children and families.
Rick Wheat, President and Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services