The United Methodist Children’s Home broke ground on a 9600 square feet residential facility on Thursday, August 22, 2019, with approximately 40 supporters in attendance.
This new Babies First Home will allow UMCH to do more to accommodate a steady demand of teen moms in foster care.
“It’s a special place where adverse circumstances meet God’s grace,” says Dr. Blake Horne, UMCH President and CEO. “While we extend this grace on a daily basis and residents are well cared for, the current home’s aging amenities just aren’t meeting a higher standard of care we strive to provide,” he adds.
The new facility will be capable of housing up to 10 moms and their babies. Each room will provide adequate living space, including a bathroom, and will house a mom and up to two children. The moms living in the home will include teens from both the North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conference areas.
“With the help of our architect, we’ve extensively planned out the layout and use of this facility, and we can’t help but think about the positive impact that will result for decades to come,” says Horne.
Babies First staff facilitate a variety of needs for moms and babies placed in the home. In addition to helping moms develop their mothering abilities, they transport them or their babies to doctor’s appointments, daycare as well as school or part-time jobs.
The current Babies First Home sits on nine acres along Schillinger Road in Mobile, an ideal location within a thriving area. In addition to UMCH maintaining a strong relationship with the high school these moms attend, daycare is conveniently located and all moms who desire employment are able to secure jobs quickly. Not to mention, the area has numerous medical facilities close by if an urgent need for medical care arises.
Caring for a child as a teen would be a seemingly impossible task for any young mom left to do it alone. Additionally, UMCH wouldn’t be able to provide this valuable care if it weren’t for its gracious supporters. “We welcome those interested in partnering with us. While being a partner of Mobile Babies First and UMCH means much more than a naming, placard or a brick, we strive to show due appreciation to any donor for their contribution,” says Horne.
Whether due to neglect, poor decision-making, or abuse, it’s common for adverse family living situations to become generational at some point along the line. However, according to Horne and his staff, it only takes one child to break the cycle, impacting their home and family’s trajectory for generations to come.
This safe environment for teen moms in foster care draws in placements from all over Alabama due to the limited resources in place for this segment of foster youth. The construction of the new Babies First Home is expected to be completed within a year and will help meet the demand for foster care in Alabama.