The United Methodist Home for Children, Inc. (UMHC) began in 1917 as an orphanage in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (eight miles from the State Capitol in Harrisburg). The Home quickly filled to capacity and, in 1926, local Methodists moved the Home to its current location, which was then a working farm at the end of Mechanicsburg. For years, the Home operated the farm as a way to teach residents’ job skills, personal responsibility, and help to cover operating expenses.
By the 1970s, society had changed dramatically, and the national system to care for orphaned and abandoned children was being replaced by foster care and adoption.
By the 1970s, society had changed dramatically, and the national system to care for orphaned and abandoned children was being replaced by foster care and adoption. Social service agencies proliferated as the number of affected children and at-risk youth increased.
Through the years, hundreds of young people have called the organization “home” at one time or another in their lives. Some of the records have been lost, so it’s impossible to provide the number, but the basic goals have remained the same for the kids:
- To develop life skills, healthy coping mechanisms, and good learning habits.
- To prepare them for greater responsibility as they grow and approach adulthood.
As childcare services evolved through the decades, UMHC has kept pace with new delivery models, programs and staffing to meet the changing needs of young people. UMHC remains a widely-respected program for troubled youth by providing quality services from a collaborative, trauma-informed approach to care.
However, as with many government programs, reimbursement contracts do not cover the full cost of care. Today, thanks to the continued generosity of thousands of donors, the United Methodist Home for Children provides a safe haven for scores of adolescents (ages 12 to 20) whose families are shattered by substance abuse, domestic violence, or other situations. So long as neglected or abused kids need a safe and caring place to rest their heads and feed their body, mind and souls, the need for this youth-centered ministry will continue.
Mission of the United Methodist Home for Children, Inc.
The overarching Mission of the United Methodist Home for Children, Inc., (UMHC) is to provide community-based care services to youth and families in need in central and southeastern Pennsylvania. Youth ages 12-20 receive safe housing, emotional and educational support, food, clothing, medical and behavioral healthcare, counseling, and more in a family-like atmosphere that inspires them to hope, heal, recover, and grow. UMHC is a private, non-profit agency licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and a member of the Pennsylvania Council of Children Youth and Family Services.