P.O. Box 2727
Pensacola, FL 32513-2727
Mrs. Mary Hernandez
The Pensacola District
of The United Methodist Church
The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Monday, February 20, 2017
Here for You - Serving Jesus
Local UMCH Programs
The Gulf Coast Group Home
3441 Camelot Place, Milton, FL 32583-8427
Phone 850-995-9842 or 995-1396
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crestview Teen Center
120 Duggan Avenue, Crestview, FL 32536-4812
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
A Letter to Clergy of the Pensacola District
from Blake Horne, President/CEO, UMCH
January 13, 2014
Clergy of the Pensacola District,
As we begin a new year, I want to make each of you aware of an important development within the Pensacola District for the United Methodist Children’s Home. Beginning this month, our Crestview Group Home will begin a transition over the next six months from a residential program to a non-residential program for young people who are working to transition from foster care to independent young adulthood. Our Crestview location will be a Youth Empowerment Center focused on working with youth in the foster care system in Crestview and the surrounding areas where resources are limited. Staff will work with youth to set realistic goals, action steps to achieve their goals, as well as provide support through independent living skills training, educational advocacy, foster family support, Bible study, and other assistance as needed.
The reason for this change is very simple. Our Crestview home is currently operated under contract with Families First Network, a lead agency who both provides and outsources services for children in foster care in Okaloosa County. We have seen referrals from Families First Network to our Crestview home reduced drastically over the last 2 years. I want to personally assure you that the decline in referrals has nothing to do with the quality of care children have received at the Crestview Home. We have an outstanding staff assembled at the Crestview Home that have provided wonderful care for the children who have been placed there over the years.
The decline in referrals is due to changes in Florida legislation and philosophy regarding residential care. The State of Florida is penalizing the Community Based Care Providers who facilitate Child Welfare Services by creating financial penalties for keeping youth in group care settings. This has required us to re-evaluate how UMCH can best serve children and families in Florida’s current child welfare environment. Making this programmatic change will allow us to be better stewards of the resources that our United Methodist Churches provide on an annual basis, enabling us to serve more children and families in new and creative ways.
Please know how appreciative we are of your support. Should you have any questions regarding this transition or any other issue related to UMCH, do not hesitate to contact me personally.
Grace and Peace,
K. Blake Horne, Ph.D.
United Methodist Children’s Home | Ministry Headquarters
3140 Zelda Court | Montgomery, Alabama 36106
334.387.2112 | Fax 334.386.5358
1.800.239.3575 | www.umch.net
"Former Group Home Becomes 'One-Stop Shop' for Foster Teens' Growth, Development"
as reported in the Crestview News Bulletin June 9, 2014
CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Teen Center, opening Tuesday, will offer skills training, goal setting and ongoing coaching for foster children, along with support for their families. The new United Methodist Children's Home program, which replaces its group home service, aligns with foster care trends. The Florida Department of Children and Families is pushing to move foster children out of group homes and into individual households with a more family-like environment, Kristin Alberda, the UMCH program's vice president, said.
Three children were staying at the Crestview group home when the transition of services began in January, Alberda said. They have moved to independent living, in a group home or a foster home. Now, the center has a “radically different” mission, said the Rev. Tyler Fuller, of Niceville UMC. Instead of spending time and energy housing foster children, staffers and volunteers can invest in teenagers' emotional and life-skills development, he said. In addition, Rebecca Morris, UMCH vice president of external affairs, said the center will help families by allowing experienced and first-time foster parents to network.
Missions will include helping 80 children achieve educational, spiritual and personal goals in a “one-stop shop," staffers said. Youths will learn how to write resumes and job applications and will cultivate interviewing skills, according to a brochure. The center's supply closet includes donated school supplies, personal care and hygiene products, food, and clothing appropriate for job interviews. Program manager Mae R. Knox said she's happy to address the need in this area with hands-on elder youth empowerment program. "We will be continuing to solicit support from within the community," she said, "because it does take a whole village to raise one child."
Crestview Teen Center Opens for Foster Families
as reported by WEAR TV June 10, 2014
A new teen center in Okaloosa County is offering services to youth living in foster care and their foster parents. The Crestview Teen Center is on Duggan Avenue in Crestview. It used to be the location of the untied Methodist Children's Home. The group home use to house 12 teens at a time. Now, it's being converted into a Teen Center hopefully helping those in foster care. Those in charge of the center said over the years referrals to the group home dwindled because the state has decided to steer away from group homes and started cutting expenses.
"The Guru" as she called by the teens Mae Knox says leaving the group center behind and opening their doors to all teens in foster care from ages 13 to 22 will allow more help for the youth. They are focusing on youth from Okaloosa and Walton counties. "And to me that's where most of the help is needed. There's that's where there is a lack of transportation and sometimes we will be making home visits just to asses what's going on in the home and what might be needed."
The center will offer many programs from how to budget money to preparing healthy foods. "It's not only helping youth identify not only where they want to be, but how they're going to get there and them give them some accountability and some assistance," said Kristin Alberda, Vice President of Programs.
The center will also have a storage closet. Offering food, clothes, hygiene products, and school supplies to those in foster care and their foster parents. "We know that some of the youth we work with are going to be out on their own and still learning the budgeting process an so they may run out of money before the end of the month and maybe need some assistance with food and things like that," said Alberda.
For more information about the center visit www.umch.net.
Opportunities and Programs at the Crestview Teen Center
The United Methodist Children's Home opened its Crestview Teen Center on June 10, 2014, offering services to youth living in foster care and foster parents. Several new opportunities will be offered to help youth reach personal, educational, and spiritual goals. The following programs will be hosted at Crestview Teen Center, with a goal to serve 80 youth:
A Foster Parent Night Out will be hosted quarterly and churches are encouraged to volunteer to host these nights with food and activities for the youth. Foster parents can also benefit from the clothes closet and supplies closet at the Crestview Teen Center.
For more details or to volunteer, contact Rebecca Morris at Rebecca@umch.net.