United Methodist Family Services

In 1900 a charter was granted by the state legislature for the Virginia Annual Conference Orphanage. The farming community included a school, print shop, and dairy. Growing out of that original organization, United Methodist Family Services now delivers services from seven locations, helping three thousand children and families annually. The organization states as its mission, to touch a life and create a future through a ministry of innovative services to family, children, and communities. United Methodist Family Services is founded on eight core values, including compassion, customer service, innovation, spirituality, partnering, cultural competence, stewardship, and professionalism. The organization is lead by a board of directors, many or whom received either a bachelors or masters degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University. United Methodist Family Services has seven locations throughout Virginia, with Richmond serving as a central office. The Richmond branch also provides the widest range of services. Richmond offers treatment foster care, special needs adoption, international adoption, adoptive family preservation, in-home family services, mentoring, counseling, and residential treatment. United Methodist Family Services also offers a number of speakers who advocate for the organization at churches and civic organizations. In 2006, United Methodist Family Services provided direct services to 666 individuals and 271 families. Approximately 5,000 other lives were touched through family counseling, family interventions, and adoptions.

United Methodist Family Services is a non-profit human services organization. While it is legally separate from The Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and is administered by an independent board of directors, the two have a long history together. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, emphasized social justice in his ministry, and United Methodist Family Services reflects this heritage. The organization espouses a holistic approach, which focuses on the intellectual, physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of every client they serve. United Methodist Family Services serves not only Methodists but also individuals and families of all cultures, races, and religions. In fact, most clients of United Methodist Family Services are not affiliated with the United Methodist church.

The organization is supported by the State of Virginia as well as through donations of time and money. The United Methodist Family Services’ Annual Giving Guardian Parent Program allows the organization to obtain unrestricted funds from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, and organization. Annual Fund gifts are especially important because they provide types of funding that the state cannot supply. The Annual Giving Guardian Parent Program allows the organization the organization to provide spiritual nurture through chaplains who cannot be state funded.

United Methodist Family Services provides a wide range of adoption services. In facilitating adoption between birth parent and adoptive parent, counseling to the birth parent, post-placement services for the adoptive parent, finalization, and continued support from the organization’s Adoptive Family Preservation are provided. Special needs adoptions include a home study, family match, and a nine-week pre-service training followed by post-placement services, finalization, and continued support from the organization’s Adoptive Family Preservation. International adoption services include a home study, pre-adoptive education about children and international adoption issues, resources and referrals, post-placement services, and continued support from the organization’s Adoptive Family Preservation.

The United Methodist Family Services Treatment Foster Care Program began in 1980. The program provides a therapeutic, structured environment providing placement for emotionally, behaviorally, physically, or medically challenged youth. Treatment foster parents go through rigorous training to be part of the professionally supervised team. Sibling groups, youth transitioning from more restrictive treatment environments, developmentally delayed youth, medically fragile youth, youth in a disrupted adoption, and pregnant youth are all provided services. Families participating in the program are supported by visits from the organization’s social workers, monthly support-group meetings, ongoing training, behavioral management consultation, 24-hour crisis intervention services, and respite services.

United Methodist Family Services-Richmond offers residential treatment on a 33-acre campus. The Residential Treatment Program addresses youth development, mental health treatment, and case management for adolescents in a residential setting. The youth in the Residential Treatment Program attend a fully accredited, year-round school called the Charterhouse School. Youth, ages 11-18 in residential treatment most often are struggling with mood, anxiety, adjustment, and developmental disorders. The program is designed to prepare the youth to return to either independent living or living with parents, other family members, or treatment foster families. A subsequent program services youth 13-17 years old who have acted out with sexually harmful behaviors, most often related to physical or sexual abuse. Through United Methodist Family Services they learn to take responsibility for their abusive behavior and cope with past traumatic experiences. The treatment focuses on 13-17 year-old males and their strengths, feelings management, empathy and compassion for self and others, healthy sexual development, and appropriate self-care. The program also involves relapse prevention and aftercare.

United Methodist Family Services
Richmond Campus & Richmond Regional Center
3900 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230
Telephone: 804-353-4461

Interview with a resident
Organizational pamphlets
Email exchange with members of the Board of Directors

Profile prepared by Kristen Smith
October, 2007