What is the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home?

The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home was established as an orphanage in 1908 by Florida Methodists, and by the 1950’s had changed its major emphasis to caring for abused, abandoned, neglected or dependent children. Boys and girls are accepted without regard to race, creed or national origin. The staff is composed of competent and dedicated professionals who share responsibility for caring for the children 24 hours a day. The beautiful 100-acre Enterprise campus is located on Lake Monroe, 30 miles north of Orlando and one mile east of the DeBary/Deltona 1-4 exit #108. With the Enterprise campus as focal point of activity, the Home assists children in other facilities, in independent living, in foster care, and those in vocational and institutions of higher education.

Why do children come to live at Florida United Methodist Children’s Home?

Children come to us because of sexual abuse, other physical abuse, or abandonment; because of family breakdown due to divorce, drug abuse, illness, or the death of a parent; or because of other traumatic issues being experienced by the child. There may be neglect, or conflicts that have made a normal family life impossible. Many referrals come through United Methodist clergy, while others come from family, schools, courts or other agencies. Each child is evaluated to see if the program of the Home can be of help.

What is the life of a child like at the Home?

Children live in one of fourteen homes, which are grouped by sex and age. Each home has a capacity of eight to ten residents and their home parents. No more than two children share a room. Meals are prepared by members of the home as a “family” group, and menus are supervised by a dietician to ensure that a wholesome, nutritionally balanced diet is available. The children share in chores in the homes and are responsible for their own rooms. Some young people are eligible for campus jobs and work experiences beyond campus.

What religious opportunities are available?

Religious life is vital to the program of the Home. Children and house parents regularly attend Sunday morning Chapel and weekly in home Bible studies. A full time chaplain is part of the Home’s staff. Many of the children participate in the Sunday morning service through leading worship, sharing in special music, or serving as ushers or acolytes. Young people use their tithes and offerings to support mission projects beyond the campus; by responding to the needs of others, the children learn to care for themselves. Our ministry is always ready to offer the youth opportunities to commit themselves to a God who loves them and seeks to guide them to a full life.

Where do the children attend school?

Our campus residents’ ages range from 5 to 17, and they are enrolled in FUMCH private school or in public school grades kindergarten through high school. A highly trained educator, who is a staff member, evaluates each incoming child to make the proper placement in school. Tutoring is available to help each student, and home study time is a regular part of each school day. Students have access to computers and educational software in each home.

Are residents provided the opportunity to attend college or university?

Opportunities are available for young adults who qualify for higher education to attend Florida colleges and universities. Many residents receive advanced training in vocational skills in place of formal higher education.

What recreational activities are available?

In addition to the regular school programs the young people have many opportunities on campus. Trained staff persons supervise our recreational activities. An essential part of the recreation program is our Certified Ropes Course, which helps youth to develop self-esteem, improve self confidence and learn to trust themselves, their home mates and adults. Many residents participate in the camping program of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, which provides spiritual and recreational opportunities, as well as the chance to make new friends. Individual home “families” take trips off campus for recreation or entertainment events.

What does the Home do about health care needs?

The Home has a registered nurse on staff, and area doctors and dentists are available as needed. The nurse keeps track of health records and immunizations, and monitors any prescribed medication. Physical examinations are required before placing a child at the Home, both for the well being of the child and for the health and safety of those already on campus.

Is therapy available to the residents?

The Bruton Counseling Center provides a wide array of clinical services to address the needs of each young person. Trained therapists work regularly with each child to implement a plan of care. The residents are provided individual and group therapy. Family therapy is also available. Numerous therapeutic opportunities include Chapel, music, education, recreation, life skills, hobbies, and crafts.

How long do children stay at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home?

The length of stay for a resident will vary, depending on the needs of the children and families in our care. The extensive counseling services of the Home available to children and their families have helped the Home to be responsible in reducing the time necessary for a child to remain in our care. Each child is an individual, and the time in residence will be influenced by the complexity of the problems they and their families face and the progress they can make in dealing with those problems. The best interests of the child are always of primary concern to the program of the Home.

What are the qualifications of a houseparent?

The Children’s Home looks for house parents who have a genuine concern for the well being of children and youth. “On the job” training and supervision are provided by highly qualified staff members. It is helpful to have couples as house parents, but house parents include single and married persons who range in age from young adults to those of mature years.

What is the Independent Living Program?

The mission of the Youth Independent Living Services is to facilitate young adults’ transition to adulthood, teaching them life skills such as budgeting, meal preparation, employment preparation and retention, wellness, and many more topics, increasing their emotional intelligence to enable their successful achievement to life outside of the Children’s Home. Our program areas include transitional living, women and children shelter program, emergency alumni assistance program, continuing education program, career development, and driver’s education.

What is the Foster Care Program?

Specially trained foster parents work with the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home staff to provide a nurturing, family oriented environment for children in need of a substitute family. The foster parents, with the guidance and support of the Children’s Home staff, assist the children in developing basic life skills and values necessary to become contributing, productive adults. Most children in foster care have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused and/or neglected. They may act out their feelings in unacceptable, often destructive ways. Foster parents provide love, care and a safe environment for children who have suffered many losses. The Children’s Home offers a continuum of support services including providing baby and youth equipment, educational toys, books and clothing for the children. We also offer therapy behavioral management and 24 hour on call assistance.

How is the Children’s Home funded?

Each year, on average, about 70-75% of our total funding comes from private sources. Strong church support enables the program of the Home to maintain its ministry as a significant Christian outreach committed to the well-being of children, youth and their families.

Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be a foster parent if I’m not married and don’t make a lot of money? I don’t even own my own house.

Just because you don’t own your own home and don’t make a lot of money doesn’t mean you can’t provide a loving home for a child.

I have a full-time job and can’t stay home all day with the children, does that mean I can’t be a foster parent?

No, it doesn’t. Many foster children attend daycare – funds may be available to help cover this expense.

My children are grown and out of the house. Am I too old to be a foster parent?

There is no age requirement other than you must be at least 21 years old.

I don’t have any children of my own, can I still be a foster parent?

Yes! Many of our foster parents do not have children of their own.

Would I have to provide medical insurance for a foster child in my home?

Children in foster care are provided Medicaid. Foster parents do not pay any of a child’s medical expenses, other than over-the-counter medicines and supplies.