Florida Baptist Children’s Homes does a lot more than just give these children a place to live. We ensure that they get good medical care, nourishing food, proper clothes, and education. We give them counseling, lots of love, attention, and a positive lifestyle. We help them develop their skills. And we try to give them a childhood that’s as normal as possible under very difficult circumstances. But the most important thing we give them is hope: we teach them about Jesus Christ and how He died for them so that they may have Everlasting Life. In short, we provide for their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Florida Baptist Children’s Homes has six Residential Care facilities, commonly called “campuses” or “Campus Ministries.” They are located in Miami, Fort Myers, Lakeland, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Pensacola. Additional campuses are planned for Gainesville and New Smyrna Beach. All of our campuses provide social work services; we also have Social Work offices (Area Offices) in Bradenton, Gainesville, Milton (near Pensacola), Orlando, Panama City, and Plantation (near Fort Lauderdale). Our Lakeland campus features an Emergency Shelter.
“But you, O God . . . are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14
Our campuses serve school-age boys and girls in group-living, family-style residences, which we sometimes refer to as “cottages.” Typically, there are bedrooms for one, two or three children each, a family room, living room, kitchen and laundry room. Each residence accommodates up to eight children at a time, and each is staffed with House Parents.
Some of the children who live with us come from homes where: 1) they were victimized by neglect or by physical, sexual or emotional abuse, (2) they were caught up in a family crisis, dysfunction or turmoil, (3) they were abandoned or orphaned, or (4) their parents/guardians could not care for them, for any number of reasons.
Pictured above is the York Cottage in Tallahassee named for the benefactors who provided the financial support to build it. The cottage is designed to house eight children in a family style setting. It also provides separate quarters for house parents.
We carefully select our child care workers to be the right people doing the right things at the right time in the children’s lives. We look for role models — nurturing, compassionate men and women who will provide the children with Christian love and limits, all in a stable and safe home. We look for devoted, patient people who will be there for the children when they need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to grasp, a word of encouragement, a healing smile, hope for the future.
Florida Baptist Children’s Homes selects its residents based on their need, and our ability to help them. If we can’t help — if their needs are beyond our scope or capacity (examples: physical or mental handicaps, drug/alcohol dependency, delinquency, etc.) — we recommend other social service agencies or professional practitioners.