Located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, United Methodist Home for Children (UMHC) is an organization that shares a deep tradition of faith and passion for serving children and families through the social justice ministry of the United Methodist Church with BCC. In January 2019, UMHC became United Methodist Home for Children, a Board of Child Care program. See a visual timeline of the two organizations’ shared history and purpose here.
UMHC is located on a quiet, beautiful campus in Cumberland County just Southwest of Harrisburg. It is easily accessible by both the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), I-83, and I-81. The campus offers both residential and educational programing to youth residing in PA.
The residential program is available for males and females, ages 12 through 20. Residents live in one of six cottages on campus, which have anywhere from 6 to 10 residents in each. Everyone has their own individual bedroom along with a shared, fully stocked kitchen, living room, and laundry room. The campus also features two indoor basketball courts, soccer fields, a bike loop, classroom spaces and many other amenities.
Each cottage has a supervisor as well as assigned direct care staff who are with the residents during their daily programming. There is also an awake overnight staff in each unit should any of the youth need anything. During a resident’s stay, we handle all local transportation needs with our own cars and our own staff.
Care starts with admission, when a team of professionals meet with the resident, parents, and county caseworkers or probation officers to develop an Individual Service Plan (ISP) with projected length of placement, specific goals, and visitation plans.
Childcare workers carry out the plan, make adjustments when needed, and coach age-appropriate life skills. Case managers meet regularly with youth to discuss their progress. The program utilizes behavior modification, reality therapy, and cognitive behavioral techniques as the basic therapeutic approaches. Regular evaluations are provided to parents and county agencies. Youth who are in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services or more comprehensive evaluation, diagnostic assessment, or treatment are referred to the appropriate behavioral healthcare providers and we take care of transporting them there for those appointments.
Residents attend public school in the West Shore School District. Those who need it attend learning and emotional support programs provided within the District. Staff encourage youth to earn a place on the honor roll, participate in school activities, or join other athletic and extracurricular events. The kids also have opportunities to attend community events, exercise, and take part in recreational programs to enhance their physical and emotional growth.
FAMILY INVOLVEMENT & VISITS
The definition of ‘family ‘varies greatly from child to child. We define family as anyone who cares for the well being of the youth in our care. Depending on the discharge plan and treatment progress, weekend home visits can be scheduled for the residents. At admission an approved contact list is created and those individuals are welcome to call the cottages to speak to residents. Certain hours are provided for these calls to help staff coordinate schedules (teenagers are busy and we want to make sure they’re home when you call!).
Our team works closely with the youth to determine who their sources of support are and make sure they are part of the treatment team. Each youth in care has an Individual Service Plan (ISP), and the ‘family’ is invited approximately every 90 days to progress meetings. Youth who successfully progress through their treatment plans have campus home visits scheduled (we provide transportation to and from the home).
Increasing self-esteem, physical health and gaining the trust of peers and adults is the goal of structured sports, fitness and club activities. Our indoor gymnasium, soccer fields, and basketball courts are used every day by residents and staff.
Community-based services are made available both on campus and, if therapeutically appropriate, off campus as well. These are completely optional for the residents to attend. You can read more about spiritual life programing at BCC here
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our incredible volunteers provide the ‘touches from home’ to the youth living on the Board of Child Care. Everything from sending birthday cards, baking cookies, and knitting scarves, to sponsoring Christmas presents. Click here to learn more.
Youth living on the Mechanicsburg campus are referred by PA county children and youth agencies or family courts. Please click here to look up the admissions representative for this location.