They welcome children from broken family systems and envelop them in love, respect and acceptance. They provide counseling, education, medical care and spiritual enrichment, help them reunite with their families or find loving foster families, and guide them to high school graduation and beyond.
Since 1896, Epworth Children’s Home has served children and families through a safe, caring, Christian community on a historic 32-acre campus, without regard to race, religion, national origin or ability to pay.
Among its seven programs for children who have experienced abuse, neglect or loss is Epworth’s Foster Care Program (epworthchildrenshome.org/what/foster-care-program), providing comprehensive training tools and ongoing, evidence-based, 24/7 support to qualified foster parents, so they can make a difference in a young person’s life.
The need for foster parents is urgent. In South Carolina alone, nearly 2,000 more homes are needed for children traumatized by life circumstances. If you have love in your heart for children consider becoming a foster parent. Welcoming a child into your home temporarily can have a transformative effect on their life.
Epworth recruits, trains, advocates for and supports foster parents, walking with them through every step of the process. They help dispel myths about foster parenting – that you can’t be single, or live in an apartment, or have a preference about the age, sex or circumstances of the child entrusted to your care.
A leading foster care advocate says too many prospective foster parents shy away because of the temporary nature of the arrangement. “Don’t let the fear of loving a child who might leave deter you, let the fear of a child not knowing love drive you,” says Jason Johnson.
The need is particularly acute for foster families that will take in teenagers and multiple siblings. But foster care recruitment coordinator Haley Huff says parents that accept children are often shocked at how much happiness rebounds their way while providing a loving, nurturing environment for them. They discover how welcoming their biological children are of the child, and how much they learn about themselves.
Nationally, a mere 2% of children in foster care graduate from high school and attend college, but children from Epworth’s program have graduated from Columbia College, South Carolina, Spartanburg Methodist College, Winthrop and Benedict with bachelor’s and master’s degrees…in just the last five years.
You don’t have to be a foster parent to provide an immense impact in the lives of these children. There are myriad volunteer and donation opportunities at Epworth that can work with the strengths, skills and resources of nearly anyone. Epworth’s services are not possible without the support of people like you.
Volunteers offer child care to foster parents, cook meals for foster families and make available in-kind donations, like tickets to events, gift cards, birthday cakes and household services like lawn care. Others volunteer to collect donations or organize Epworth’s resource closet for foster and kinship families.
Visit Epworth’s volunteer page (epworthchildrenshome.org/support/volunteers) to learn more or sign up.
If you prefer to make a monetary donation to this important work, it will be gratefully accepted. Secure, online credit card contributions can be made at epworthchildrenshome.org/give, or you can mail a check or money order Epworth Children’s Home, PO Box 50466, Columbia, SC 29250.
Says Rev. John E. Holler, Jr., president and CEO of Epworth Children’s Home. “Help us break the cycle of abuse, neglect and shame, and replace it with the opportunity for self-respect, responsibility and productivity.”