Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home Welcomes First Children to New Residential Facility

April 12, 2022

Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services (LUMCFS) has officially opened the doors to the newly completed Methodist Children's Home of Southeast Louisiana.

The new state-of-the-art facility marks a milestone in a long journey that began in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina forced the closure of the Methodist Home for Children of New Orleans. LUMCFS purchased 126 acres in Tangipahoa Parish to rebuild and, in 2018, launched a hallmark capital campaign to establish a new residential treatment facility in southeast Louisiana.

LUMCFS celebrated "Move-In Day" for the staff and children in their care recently and the move was met with great joy.

"The absolute joy and excitement on our boys' faces when they walked into their new home was moving. Some have never had a bedroom of their own before coming into our care. They were excited about decorating their rooms and the hallways with superheroes or computer game figures," said Sarah Head, Director of Development and Public Relations at LUMCFS.

"They also toured the new classrooms with smartboards and colorful teaching tools, and on every hall, they found a recreation room with TVs, video games, and board games. The children explored the large dining hall where they were greeted by kitchen staff who will create homemade meals with love," added Head.

Before moving into their new home, the children were housed in leased space on the Northshore with little room to play. The new facility, east of Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish, includes a 32-bed dormitory, cafeteria, classrooms, 24-hour nursing clinic, administrative and clinical offices, a playground, and recreation rooms. The new, larger home allows the program to increase its capacity from 17 to 32 children with an active “care plan” for each child. With children completing treatment in four to nine months, the new Methodist Children's Home of Southeast Louisiana will care for up to 100 children per year in this first building on the campus.

LUMCFS has met $8 million of the $10 million fundraising goal, according to Capital Campaign Committee Chair Billy James leaving just under $2 million to raise in this construction phase. However, with much of the 126 acres still undeveloped, LUMCFS will not stop here." Head said, "Because it's so conveniently located among a large portion of the population, we see this facility developing into a southeast Louisiana hub – a campus on which the organization's many community-based services can be found alongside the Children's Home."

Plans include a regional Methodist Foster Care and Life Skills Training building, equine therapy center, and chapel.

In June, LUMCFS will host the official public grand opening of the new Children’s Home, taking a moment to celebrate the many generous donors and supporters who have made it possible.

"The Methodist Children's Home of Southeast Louisiana is a testament to the mission of the agency and the faith invested in us by our supporters," said LUMCFS Chief Executive Officer Rick Wheat. "We want all our donors to know that the impact of their gifts will multiply through the coming decades as we provide services on this new campus and use it as a base of operations for our care for children and families throughout the entire region.

“This is a milestone on our path into future ministry, and it was achieved through generosity inspired by love," added Wheat, "Our care for children and families would be impossible without our volunteers, donors, staff, and many stakeholders who help us. Every donation and act of kindness paves the path to a better future for Louisiana's children and families."
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