The Changing Needs of Children – 1951-1973
In 1951, the Methodist Children’s Home was housing the largest number of children and teenagers that it ever would, with records indicating just over 150 residents were living at the Decatur campus at the time. That same year, it was decided that the Home residents would no longer be receiving their education on campus but would move to attend Dekalb county public schools to provide a more robust education.
In 1969, Beverly Cochran came to join the Children’s Home as Administrator, which he would hold for over thirty years. Under his direction, the Home underwent a great many changes to better meet the needs of children and families in its community. “Mr. C,” as the children at the Home affectionately called him, was devoted to the residents. He knew the importance of home and was consistent in reassessing the community’s needs to best provide it.
During his tenure, the Children’s Home made a shift from focusing solely on the welfare of children to including family preservation services as well. The change was made so that the Children’s Home could help keep families together whenever possible. During this shift, the Home expanded to include foster family care and continued to house residents on campus. Introducing foster family care was both a way to keep up with the growing number of children who needed homes and provide a more intimate family setting. During this time, the Home’s family preservations services grew to include family counseling, parenting skill classes, and emergency financial aid.
The Home’s Board of Trustees decided upon these changes in the early 1970s to better meet the changing needs in their community. By 1973, the United Methodist Children’s Home had become one of the first faith-based, licensed foster care agencies in the state of Georgia, beginning our long history as one of the leading foster care organizations in Georgia today. We are grateful for the foresight and innovation of the Children’s Home leaders that has allowed Wellroot to grow into the thriving family services organization it is today.