Wellroot Restores Children and Families From Trauma
When it comes to child welfare, what breaks your heart? Is it teens aging out of the foster care system or perhaps children looking for their forever home?
Fortunately, for children and families in crisis, Wellroot Family Services, formerly known as The United Methodist Children’s Home, is here to help!
“We are dedicated to healing children and families through Christ’s love and have an array of programs to provide support,” said Allison Ashe, president and CEO of Wellroot. “We were founded 150 years ago after the Civil War as an orphanage. We served children on campus in Decatur until the past decade when the universe of child welfare shifted, and research has shown children do better in homes than in congregate care. At that time, we shifted to foster care. In addition to our foster care services, we are paying attention to the research on what kids need to thrive and are working to keep children with their birth families whenever safely possible.”
One of Wellroot’s greatest needs is finding families willing to serve older kids and sibling groups. “Kids who went into care as 10- to 12-year-olds have spent a lifetime feeling unloved because they never found a placement,” Ashe said. “These young adults end up in our Transitional Living Program and live in an apartment where staff is available 24/7. We provide love and mentorship and count on churches and volunteers to help them realize their full potential as they transition into adulthood.”
Wellroot’s Independent Living Program serves young adults who no longer require 24/7 supervision but still need a case manager to follow them as they take that final step to independence. Wellroot’s Family Housing Program supports young families at risk of losing their children by providing temporary housing, help with finding employment, and parenting and life skills training.
“We have worked hard to help churches successfully wrap around children,” Ashe said. “And as we add preservation programs to keep families together, we’re looking for churches to successfully wrap around birth families as well.”
In 2020, Wellroot selected the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, which partners with Wespath Institutional Investments, to manage and grow its multi-million-dollar endowment fund.
“We were impressed with three things. 1. The rate of return the Foundation and Wespath provide for its clients. 2. We appreciate their knowledge, the accessibility to information, and how the Foundation and Wespath puts the financials into a language everyone on our board could understand. 3. We are growing our funds through socially responsible investing with an organization that shares the same principles and values we do,” Ashe said. “We’re being the hands and feet of Christ in the world. We need to be good stewards of the money and get the highest return possible so we can serve as many children and families as possible.”