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August 15, 2020 - Methodist Childrens Home Society,
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MCHS HERstor

Posted On : 3/16/2020

Since the founding of MCHS in 1917, women have been at the forefront of our history. MCHS was founded by two extraordinary women and over the next 103 years, women have helped carry out their vision and mission.

Methodist Children’s Home Society was founded in 1917 when Detroit factories were busy producing material for the conflict in Europe. Many families moved into the metropolitan area from all over the country, leaving behind their extended families. When a disastrous influenza epidemic hit the city, children whose parents died were often left without friends or relatives to care for them. Many children were discovered by members of the Order of Deaconesses of the Methodist Church when making their rounds in the residential sections of Detroit’s industrial areas.

Anna Kresge, wife of Sebastian Kresge of the S.S. Kresge stores, was concerned for the growing number of displaced children. Together, with Sophie Sprague, Superintendent of the Deaconess Home, and members of the Women’s Home Missionary Society, Mrs. Kresge persuaded Presiding Bishop Theodore Henderson of the need for a haven for children without families and children receiving inadequate care in their own homes.

Mrs. Kresge and Mrs. Sprague purchased a small house in Highland Park and arranged care for ten children. In 1922, a larger home was built on a farm in what is now downtown Farmington. In 1922, Frances Knight was appointed director and the agency became a charter member of the Child Welfare League of America.

Ms. Knight envisioned a community designed to meet the social, emotional, academic, physical and spiritual needs of children. The basic concept of the director’s plan called for small cottages, each housing seven boys and girls ages 4-12, living with house mothers and fathers in a family setting. In 1927, Mr. Kresge authorized a substantial grant from the newly established Kresge Foundation for the purchase of twenty-eight acres of land and the construction of the first buildings that would comprise Methodist Children’s Home Society’s “Children’s Village” in Redford.

Behind the scenes, house mothers provided care and nurturing to the children living on campus. They played a vital role in caring for children and creating an environment of love, compassion and hope. House mothers looked after the children as a parent would, completing homework and teaching them the skills needed to be successful in the world.

It was the progressive initiatives of Anna Kresge, Sophie Sprague and Frances Knight that laid the strong foundation of Methodist Children’s Home Society. Their will to lead an organization during a time when women were fighting for suffrage is inspiring, proving that women can thrive through adversity. Today, MCHS continues to have a strong presence of women in leadership and throughout its staff.

MCHS 2020 Annual Dinner

MCHS 2020 Annual Dinner

Posted On : 3/13/2020

Our 2020 Annual Dinner was a night full of spirit as we cheered on the many volunteers, donors, staff and foster parents that make our mission possible! More than three hundred guests arrived at The Henry-Autograph Collection where they enjoyed dinner, entertainment from Kym Brady “The Urban Violinist,” and an impactful program highlighting the winners of our 2020 Mission Possible Awards: Frank DeNardo and Wendy Robinson of the Lisa DeNardo-Pete Polk Memorial Foundation, foster parents Catherine and Jay Siegler, volunteer Tracy Malloy, and MCHS team leader Joseph Cunningham. Guests left the event feeling pumped about our mission and the upcoming groundbreaking of the Fostering Leadership Academy, the first true trauma-informed charter school in the state of Michigan, which will be located on the MCHS campus.

Click here to view photos from our 2020 Annual Dinner!

What To Expect At Annual Dinner

What To Expect At Annual Dinner

Posted On : 2/13/2020

Blog: What To Expect At Annual Dinner

Our Annual Dinner is the perfect event to kick off your spring season! This year, we’ll be cheering on our home team to celebrate the upcoming ground-breaking of the Fostering Leadership Academy, the first trauma-informed charter school in the state of Michigan. The purpose of this event is to thank our generous supporters, announce our 2020 Mission Possible winners and celebrate the exciting year to come. 

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for guests who wish to partake in cocktail hour. Guests will be able to enjoy our silent auction and 50/50 raffle, browse original art by our children, shop MCHS merchandise and mingle with fellow MCHS supporters! Money raised from our auction and raffle will go towards our fund to provide school supplies and uniforms for students of Fostering Leadership Academy. Our program will begin at 7 p.m. and will include inspirational messages, video tributes and highlights of our Mission Possible awardees. 

You don’t want to miss this event! CLICK HERE to purchase your ticket! If you have questions, contact Development Officer Rachel Evans at (313) 683-9587 or revans@mchsmi.org.

CLICK HERE to view photos from our 2019 Annual Dinner. 

We Are Essential

Posted On : 4/4/2020

In a matter of weeks, life as we know it has turned upside down. The COVID-19 global pandemic has spread like wildfire and in turn, quickly upended our daily routines. We’re sheltering in place, schools are closed, grocery stores are bare and streets are empty. At MCHS, now more than ever, our work is essential. Deemed an essential organization by the state of Michigan, the ongoing direct care, health and safety we provide to nearly 60 boys on campus continues to be our number one focus. And while many MCHS staff are fortunate to work from home remotely, our youth specialists and direct care staff continue to commute to work, day in and day, out because we are essential. 

MCHS staff are essential in providing love and restoring the hope to nearly 60 boys in our residential program, ages 5 to 18 — all of whom are in foster care as a direct result of the severe neglect and abuse they’ve survived. For our children, life has consistently been inconsistent. For them, MCHS became their rock, offering stability and comfort in knowing that they are safe, cared for and protected by our dedicated staff. We are essential. 

Information about the outbreak changes rapidly, day-by-day. As an organization, we recognized our responsibility to launch an emergency plan, protecting not only our youth but our employees as well. For the dedication and undying care our team members give to our youth, we recognized that as an organization, they deserved a comprehensive plan to protect and support them through this unprecedented time. When we put our staff first, they can put our children and foster families first. They are essential. 

We took the following necessary measures to reassure our direct care staff of their value to our MCHS. To support our staff through this pandemic, we:

  • Provide bonus pay (time and a half) to our essential team members on our residential staff. 
  • Provide and enforce daily health screenings for employees that are required to work on campus.
  • Provide all non-residential employees with the tools needed to work from the safety of their homes. 
  • Created our Employee Emergency Assistance Fund for any team member who may need financial assistance due to COVID-19 medical reasons. 

Our staff is essential to the mission and livelihood of MCHS. Because of their hard work and dedication, we continue to lead child welfare in Michigan as the premier residential agency. We lead by serving those who serve. We are essential.

Communicating With Your Child About COVID-19

Communicating With Your Child About COVID-19

Posted On : 4/2/2020

As the country and our state adjust to the new normal during the COVID-19 outbreak, our children are also adjusting to multiple stressors. The pandemic has undoubtedly created anxiety, changed the way we work and educate our children, all while practicing social isolation. There are no sporting events to attend, no playdates with friends and grandparents are off limits to protect their health. While children may not fully understand the impact of the outbreak, they certainly feel the physical, emotional and mental shifts we have made to ensure health and safety. Here are a few ways to speak to your children about what’s going on.

Stay Calm

The main role a parent or caregiver can play is in staying calm and offering reassurance. Children respond to not only what you say but more importantly, what you do. Make time to talk with a child on their level. Make sure the information is appropriate to their developmental level and easy to digest. Information at a level beyond what the child can understand will add to the anxiety. Be sure to answer a child’s questions to the best of your ability, remaining positive and upbeat. 

Limit Their Exposure

Limit the amount of information regarding COVID-19 a child is exposed to. It’s important to explain to children that some information may be based on rumors, not on facts. Reaffirm that you are available to be their main source of information and are available to talk through what’s going on. Turn the television off can be a good starting point. 

Practice Good Habits 

Help a child feel in control and  provide examples of things they can do to limit their exposure and stay healthy. This includes how to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. Pick a favorite song that lasts 20 seconds and sing together while washing. Also, teach a child how to sneeze or cough into a tissue or the elbow of their sleeve instead of their hands or the air. Let a child assist with cleaning toys, game controllers and door handles with wipes that remove bacteria. Finally, remind children to keep their hands away from their mouths and face. By following simple health precautions paired with social distancing, a child will be helping in the most effective way to limit exposure to COVID-19. 

Ask Questions 

For older children, asking questions is the best conversation starter. Find out what they already know about COVID-19 and help them separate the facts from rumors. Teenagers tend to worry more about their friends, older relatives and their safety. Make sure they have ample time to interact with older relatives and grandparents whether through telephone calls or video options like Facetime or Zoom.   

Monitor Their Health

As a parent or caregiver, you should continually check for signs of illness. Just because someone may get sick, it does not mean that they have COVID-19. Let children know that you will make sure to get them the care that they need, regardless of what illness they have. Call your healthcare provider and follow the instructions they provide should any family member present symptoms. 

Overall, as a parent or caregiver, your most important role is to remain calm and reassuring, the rock that a child needs to depend on. Address questions and fears honestly while staying positive. Try to keep the information simple and clear and remind children that medical authorities are doing their best to keep everyone safe. 

Foster Care Q&A Recap

Foster Care Q&A Recap

Posted On : 5/12/2020

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! Yesterday, MCHS  CEO Kevin Roach along with Director of Licensing Danielle Stevens and Director of Child Welfare went live on Facebook to answer your questions about Foster Care! In case you missed it, read our blog recapping the great information they provided! 

Is it still possible to become a licensed Foster Parent during the COVID-19 pandemic?

YES! We have transitioned our licensing on-boarding process to be administered virtually. We are still hosting foster care orientations via video conferencing and working with those interested in fostering to complete their application process. 

What does it take to become a foster parent?

A family should have a loving and open heart! Familles should be willing to learn how to best provide for the needs of children coming into care. Once a family has become licensed, they must have the proper provisions in place in order to care for their foster child including clothing, proper transportation equipment and adequate living space.  

What are the first steps I should take if I’m interested in becoming a foster parent?

The first step is to do your research and decide which agency you would like to work with. Consider the location of the agency and the support they provide to their foster families. You can call MCHS to inquire about our process and register to attend an orientation session. Our foster care orientations are strictly information sessions for interested families to ask questions and learn more about MCHS and the foster care process. There is no commitment when attending an orientation. After orientation, if you are still interested in fostering, you will pair with  a licensing specialist who helps you through the application and home-assessment process. 

Who can be a foster parent? 

At MCHS, we service families from all backgrounds! MCHS does not discriminate against interested foster parents based on age, socio-economic class, race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or occupation. We only require that interested foster parents be at least 18 years old and that parents take a physical exam to show that you can care for a child. 

What if I’m interested in fostering, but my spouse is not?

We encourage couples who are interested to be in agreement before fostering. If you are interested in fostering, but your spouse is hesitant, we are willing to have a conversation with you to answer any questions you both may have and to remove any barriers that may be stopping you from fostering. If you have existing children in the home that express any conflict with potential foster children, we are also willing to meet with them to ease any anxiety they may have about foster care. 

Are there costs associated with becoming a foster parent?

There are no costs associated with becoming a foster parent! It is free to open your home and heart to a child today. When you do become licensed, the state of Michigan does provide a daily rate of care to provide for the foster child. For children ages 0-12, families receive $17.24 per day per child, and children 13 and older receive $20.59 per day per child. 

How does MCHS support it’s Foster Families?

MCHS takes pride in supporting our foster parents through their application process and beyond! We offer many opportunities for training and support to our foster families including gifts, trunk-or-treat, holiday celebrations and more. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have begun to offer our training and support groups virtually to remain connected to our foster families. 

If you’re interested in taking the first steps towards becoming a foster parent, or if you have any questions, contact our Child Welfare team at (313) 531-6190. Remember, there is no wrong question! 

If you would like to watch the Foster Care Live Q&A session, CLICK HERE

Weathering The Storm

Weathering The Storm

Posted On : 5/21/2020

We’ve Weathered This Storm Before. Together, We’ll Do It Again.
We’re Still Here. We’ll Always Be Here. We Need You.

More than a hundred years ago, Methodist Children’s Home Society was founded in Detroit as a home to orphaned children, right at the beginning of the Spanish Flu pandemic. In a short matter of months, the Spanish Flu began to ravage the world, including 675,000 Americans. 

From crisis and calamity emerges the true heart and soul of any individual and any organization. As a society, the Spanish Flu pandemic unveiled the flaws in our society and the severe need for social services in our communities, particularly for children and families. Today’s pandemic continues to show.

Our founders came forth with the true spirit and mission of MCHS, creating the very foundation that we are building upon today.

The true legacy of COVID-19 is unknown as its wrecked devastation and loss on our communities. As an organization, we have taken the necessary measures to ensure continued safety for our children, families and staff. From the very beginning, our priority has been — and always will be — the health, safety and well-being of our community. 

We thank our staff and our foster families for jumping into action when COVID-19 hit our community. They are heroes in every sense of the word. 

Yet, we can’t do it alone. We need your help. 100 years ago, in the midst of one of the battles the world had ever seen, our community came together to start MCHS. We weathered the storm. We’ll do it again. Yet, we need you.

Please support our children, our families, and our staff. Every dollar helps.

Because of you, we’re still here. And we’re not going anywhere!

To support MCHS by donating to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, CLICK HERE.

Detroit Office – New Community Programs

Detroit Office – New Community Programs

Posted On : 4/9/2020

We are excited to share that our Detroit Resource Center is expanding and launching new programs in 2020! Over the past year, our team has grown and served more than 500 unique families through our satellite office at the Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit. 

We knew we had to be present and proactive in our most at-risk areas, tackling the issue of child abuse and neglect before it occurs, before children come to us. Through child abuse prevention programming and a fully stocked Resource Center, we began to see the immediate impact we had on hundreds of local families.

But how could we further, and more effectively, reach the struggling citizens in our area? In acquiring Community Social Services of Wayne County late last summer, we knew we had tapped into great potential to reach so many more demographics – including senior citizens. Senior citizens make up nearly 13% of Detroit’s population and the numbers continue to grow. 

The first senior-focused program to emerge from our satellite office is the Silver Center! The Silver Center is an engaging conference call class providing senior citizens with information regarding current events and leisure topics to keep them engaged. Isolation and immobility are major factors plaguing the elderly population. Silver Center provides them with a sense of community within the safety of their homes. The weekly Silver Center conference call classes are particularly helpful during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic, especially threatening to seniors and individuals with pre-existing conditions. The program is public and free for adults 60 and older in Southeast Michigan.

For information about how to access the Silver Center, CLICK HERE

What’s On Kevin’s Bookshelf?

What’s On Kevin’s Bookshelf?

Posted On : 4/28/2020

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month! Check out our list of powerful and informative books to learn more about child abuse and prevention. 

A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera I. Fahlberg

Children in a foster care placement are in need of support and stability. This classic text offers information and advice for professionals and caregivers on how to help these children, who often have attachment difficulties. Vera I. Fahlberg, M.D. shares her experience and expertise, outlining the significance of attachment and separation, the developmental stages specific to adoptive children and providing guidance on minimizing the trauma of moving. The book also features practical advice on case planning, managing behavior and direct work with children. Throughout are case studies and exercises that provide opportunities for further learning. A readable, compassionate and practical text, A Child’s Journey provides the foundation, the resources and the tools to help students, professionals, parents and guardians to support children on their journey through placement to adulthood.

The Book Of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children’s Lives by Richard J. Gelles

Using the true story of a murdered child as a point of departure, a leading expert on family violence argues that society’s first priority must be protecting children rather than preserving families. Richard Gelles was once one of the most widely published and vocal defenders of family preservation, the social policy of keeping troubled families together as a primary goal. He then ran into the  tragic case of David Edwards, an infant murdered by his mother after falling through the cracks in the child welfare system. David’s story convinced Gelles that the system must change. Nearly half the children who are killed by their parents each year are killed after they have come to the attention of child welfare agencies. These children must be protected by getting them out of harm’s way. That means a radically new child welfare system must be developed. The first priority must be to protect children rather than preserve families. This hard-hitting book critically examines family preservation programs and argues that they do not work. Gelles goes beyond mere criticism of the child welfare system into specific changes, such as eliminating mandatory reporting of abuse, giving better training to caseworkers, and separating the investigation of abuse from case management.

Turning Stones: My Days and Nights with Children at Risk A Caseworker’s Story by Marc Parent

Why does an infant die of malnutrition? Why does an eight-year-old hold a knife to his brother’s throat? Or a mother push her cherished daughter twenty-three floors to her death? Marc Parent, a city caseworker, searched the streets – and his heart – for the answers, and shares them in this powerful, vivid, beautifully written book.

For more information about Child Abuse Prevention, CLICK HERE

Celebrating One Year Of Service In Detroit

Celebrating One Year Of Service In Detroit

Posted On : 4/7/2020

We are excited to celebrate the first anniversary of opening our first satellite office at the Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit . On April 8th, 2019, we cut the ribbon and officially opened our Detroit Resource Center with programming centered around child abuse prevention. Our Detroit office is an accessible community space offering family support, education and basic infant supplies to at-risk families. This growing office has allowed us to increase our footprint and reach in our community, meeting families where they are. 

In its first year, 500 unique families have visited the Detroit Resource Center. Our families have access to essential infant supplies at no cost through our Resource Center. The Resource Center’s biggest focus is providing diapers but MCHS also provides wipes, infant formula, baby shampoo, etc. During the holiday season, MCHS also provided families with presents for each child. Over the past year, we have supplied more than 63,918 diapers to families in need, serving 1,404 unique infants. Additionally, we’ve had the opportunity to attend community baby showers, providing bundles of infant supplies to expecting mothers. We are honored to serve our community with essential supplies and help to raise healthy, strong families. 

In just 365 days, we have launched new and innovative programs, collaborated with community partners and increased staffing. In August 2019, MCHS team members partnered with Life Remodeled during its annual week of service providing more than 10,000 volunteers from Michigan and nationwide with information on foster care and adoption. In early 2020, our office launched new women’s empowerment programs. Our Women Empowerment Series provides monthly workshops focusing on topics to empower women including, but not limited to, financial literacy, job readiness, parenting skills and mental health. Complimentary, our Women’s Support Group meets monthly and provides women with an outlet to express their concerns and connect with other women in their community.  

Not only have we grown our programs, but we’ve also grown our footprint inside the Durfee Innovation Society. Now with a total of 11 offices, MCHS holds the most human service agency office space in the community-focused center. 

As the needs of our community continue to evolve, we are committed to providing families with the resources they need to thrive. We have had an amazing first year and are looking forward to providing new programs to extend our reach to every individual in our community. 

CLICK HERE, for more information about our Detroit office. 

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