by Sandi Austin
After 60 years of helping troubled children rebuild their lives, Mountain States Children’s Home remains a vital provider of physical, education, spiritual and emotional wellness. The Home’s services also expanded and changed throughout the years to meet the challenges of a complex society in which these children must develop into adulthood.
Over the years, MSCH has experienced a large increase in the number of applications for children that require a deeper level of care. Sadly, because of space, many of the children are turned away, presenting a critical need for MSCH to expand to help meet the needs of those disadvantaged children who have no other place to go.
When asked how MSCH learns of children in need of their care, public relations spokesperson Phil Crews responded, “It’s usually not through government agencies. We try to head the children off before they get into the system. It’s usually relatives, single parents or parents having difficulties with their kids that come to us.”
He went on to explain that the children, basically ages 11 through 17, are already in trouble, sometimes because of abuse and their reaction to being in that situation.
There is a strict criteria that must be met through an interview process with house parents, the school and administrators of MSCH. This may include the child’s history and how much the family is able to pay, although some children have been accepted, whether the family was able to pay or not.
“To make sure potential new residents pose no danger to the other kids, we mainly watch for sexual perpetrators,” Crews said.
When accepted into one of the homes on the property, a child joins up to 11 people in a residential home – other client children, the houseparents and, in some cases, their children. Everyone is expected to do their share of household chores.
“Doing these household chores can be for the first time for some of these kids,” Crews added.
Mountain States Children’s Home has a seventh through 12th grade school on campus where the children are taught the value of academic achievement and the study skills that prepare them for re-entry into the mainstream school and society as a whole.
“Longmont Christian has offered scholarships to our kids,” Crews said. “When they do well behaviorally and academically, the kids can move on to Longmont, which also offers the godly teaching that we like to offer them.”
Running the Mountain States Children’s Home is not without its challenges, as Crews described in a list of needs. One of the residential homes is sitting on moving soil and needs repair. The Home’s current vans are old, so there is a need for an upgrade to keep their transportation safe for the children. The office space needs to be expanded to accommodate the growth they would like to have in the future.
MSCH also has a campaign going on for a transitional living program, which will serve the older clients (18-23) who have “aged out” but could still benefit from MSCH’s continued support as they adjust to the world outside.
“We found property nearby that will work out really well for accommodating our aging out children,” Crews said. “We can’t continue building on our current property now and those older children can’t be living with the children they were with. We have a group from HomeAid who actually want to build our next home on that property. They heard about us, we talked, and we are going through the building permit process for House #6.”
With the transitional living program, the children who have aged out and have a job or are taking college classes will be helped with tuition, housing allowance or transportation.
“That is likely more than they’d have when out on their own,” Crews said. “We can continue to help them as they take steps forward in their adult lives. We want to be here for the kids for a long, long time.”
Please remember Mountain States Children’s Home during our January Compassion Offering. They do amazing work! Next week, we’ll have one of their many success stories to tell, so be watching the Pulse!
With four residential homes on the property, there are currently 24 client children housed.
Photo Source: MSCH Facebook Page