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Children’s Home expands foster care services with second satellite office

Children’s Home expands foster care services with second satellite office

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Children’s Home expands foster care services with second satellite office

By Derek Maul | Feb. 16, 2010 {1141}

TAMPA — Around 50 advocates for children flooded the central courtyard at Temple Terrace United Methodist Church Jan. 20.

Mike Galloway (left), St. Clair Moore (center) and Cedric Davis prepare to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home’s satellite office at Temple Terrace United Methodist Church. Galloway is president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Home, Moore is pastor of the Temple Terrace church, and Davis is family development specialist supervisor for the new office. Photo by Derek Maul. Photo #10-1405.

They were gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new office for Open Hearts Family Services, a ministry of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. It’s the second satellite office for the Children’s Home, expanding its foster care services into Hillsborough County.

“This initiative came as a result of strategic planning process over 18 months,” said Mike Galloway, president and chief executive officer for the Children’s Home. “We’re planning for our second century of care.”

Established in 1908 on Lake Monroe in Volusia County, the Children’s Home was founded on the understanding that, together, churches can do more.

“We have almost 250 children literally living with us on campus and in homes,” Galloway said. “Then we have two child-care centers, and we counsel with families throughout the state.”

The organization’s foundational mission, he said, is a natural consequence of being United Methodist and seeking to serve Christ.

“Methodist churches are really eager to help families be healthy,” Galloway said. “(The Children’s Home) came out of the desire of the church to serve families and children. No single church can meet those needs. But it’s the connection of Methodism that’s so unique and makes this kind of expansion possible.”

“All children are born with the opportunity to be the people God intended them to be,” he added. “God has a plan, and it’s up to us to provide the opportunity. We’re committed to the whole person — and once they’re part of our family they’re always a part of our family. “

Vision meets need

Galloway’s “Second Century of Care” vision led the Children’s Home to imagine what could be accomplished for children via satellite programs beyond the residential hub at Enterprise.

“Our first satellite opened in Orlando in 2009,” said Miranda Levy, the Children’s Home’s public relations coordinator. “And now we’re partnering with Hillsborough Kids here in Temple Terrace. We have a contract, a family development specialist supervisor and an office location.”

Mike Galloway offers his remarks during the opening ceremony. Photo by Derek Maul. Photo #10-1406.

Hillsborough Kids Inc. serves as the lead agency for community-based care in Hillsborough County.

The new office will recruit and license foster families in order to increase the number of quality foster homes available in the county, in part so more siblings can be placed together. It will also complete relicensing home studies, ensure collaboration between foster parents and birth families, and provide foster families with 24-hour crisis counseling.

Children served by the program have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect and other child protection reasons. Although the goal is to reunify families, some children will be placed for adoption.

“The need is huge, especially for sibling groups,” Levy said. “We’re concentrating on teens and siblings. I believe we could have 10 (foster) families by the end of the year.”

The Children’s Home is currently looking closely at the potential for additional satellite care programs in the Miami area and north Central Florida. But for now the focus is on Hillsborough County and the new Temple Terrace office. It’s a location Galloway described as ideal.

“We saw the need for more foster programming in this area, this church said we could have space, and the location is central,” Galloway said. “There’s no question God led us here.”

The principle of partnership with United Methodist churches, he said, also made the Temple Terrace church a strong choice as the second satellite.

“Churches buying in is the basis of what we do,” Galloway said. “We realized that most of the families we serve are in Central Florida. And we take very seriously both the needs of children and our partnership with churches. Today’s ribbon cutting included representatives from Temple Terrace UMC, other local churches, the public sector and volunteers. It’s a strong collaborative process.”

Cedric Davis will work from the new office as family development specialist supervisor. Davis has several years of experience in the field, including work with the Department of Children and Families in Tallahassee.

Children from the child development program at Temple Terrace United Methodist Church pray during the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Derek Maul. Photo #10-1407.

“My dreams are to open up Hillsborough County and have as many positive, great homes as we can,” said Davis, who has worked with the Children’s Home since October. “There’s been a lot of positive feedback from the community. People want to support the mission and get involved.”

Davis said he sees his role as both ministry and social work. “I believe it’s important for anyone to be involved with kids,” he said. “We want to share God’s love with families and kids; that’s the main thing we’re doing here. Any way we can save families. Prayer is very important; it’s always number one.”

More information about Hillsborough Kids Inc. and the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home is available at and, respectively.

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News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011,, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Maul is an author and freelance writer based in Valrico, Fla.