For over 30 years, the Stoddard County Children's Home has operated through some very tough times and changes are inevitable. However, the one thing that remains constant is the need to provide a positive home environment for children that may not have the opportunity to receive the love and care they deserve.
Over the years, the Board of Directors have been selective about houseparents that are able to provide home-cooked meals, help with homework and give sense of family togetherness for the children that have been placed within our care. Advisors, the board and the houseparents are dedicated and passionate about protecting the lives and privacy of these children.
Children in the Home range in age from newborn to eighteen years. Each year, the home provides care to approximately 200 children. However, our license from the state of Missouri only allows ten children, at a maximum, at the home at one time. When a sibling group is removed from a biological family, they are not separated - sometimes causing us to temporarily exceed our maximum.
To maintain a sense of continuity for the children, we provide transportation to and from schools in the County at no cost to the schools, or the family. The children are also able to participate in school activities, as well as community recreation programs.
The State of Missouri does require the Home to operate as a licensed Residential Child Care Agency. This requires periodic visits from the Department of Social Services and regular inspections by the State Fire Marshall, as well as the Stoddard County Health Department, Bloomfield Fire Department and the Board of Directors. Safety drills are also performed to ensure the children are aware of the surroundings and know how to react in the event of an emergency.
The Home operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Without the generous support of people within our community, the Home would not be able to open our door to the children who need caring love and attention.
The Home operates just as any other "normal" home with utility, fuel, grocery and other bills that require payments. In addition, the Home also has additional expenses such as salary for the houseparents. The State of Missouri does provide limited assistance. However, that state assistance only accounts for a small amount of the operational income. Donations provide the main source of income for the Home.
The Stoddard County Children's Home Tribute Fund is a meaningful way to remember special occasions such as an anniversary, birthday or graduation. It also provides a lasting way to serve as a memorial for the loss of a loved one or honor someone special. These gifts are acknowledged per the donor's instructions. The donations are tax deductible.
Our only fundraiser is an annual letter that is sent in the fall of each year. Individuals, clubs, churches, school groups and businesses faithfully respond each year with their support, whether it be a cash contribution, or with basic products such as cleaning supplies, paper products, diapers, health and hygiene items, clothing, canned goods, twin sheets and towels. All donations, whether large or small, is gratefully appreciated.
The Stoddard County Children's Home began as an idea in 1979. Melvin "Churn" Williams, who at the time served as the Chief Juvenile Officer for Stoddard County, saw the need to provide an alternative home for abused, neglected and abandoned children misplaced due to family conflicts.
Individuals from various communities around the county gathered together to form the Board of Directors of the soon to be established Home. The volunteers were committed to providing a positive home environment for each child.
The new Board learned of a grant that was available through the County court system to purchase a home in the Stoddard County area for this type of project. In order to receive such a grant, the Board of Directors needed to raise enough funds to operate the Home for the first year.
Surpassing the original goal of $20,000, the Board was overwhelmed by the generosity of fellow community members and opened the Home for operation in 1980.
We have received grant funds to purchase a new minivan as well as a 12 passenger van to better transport the children.
The SEMO Food Bank has provided to be a bountiful resource. Wholesome foods, as well as basic items such as diapers and cleaning supplies are available for a small price.
Tutoring has been made available to the children who need additional assistance with their school work.
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