To be sustainable, a change had to be made.
It would not have been good stewardship of
our resources to stay in Troy.
FORMER PRESIDENT/CEO // Paul Miller says today that one of the greatest accomplishments of the organization during the time of his employment (1972–2012, as well as a summer in 1971 during graduate school) would be the growth to a more multi-faceted approach to caring for children and families. In the eyes of the state's Department of Human Resources, it became important that ABCH was seen as more than just a residential care program.
He would recruit the first foster home for the ministry in 1975, have a significant role in the ministry's integration, and oversee the beginning of a state-wide counseling ministry in the late 90s. As current Church Relations Officer, Steve Sellers says, "That man is a prayer warrior." Not only would Paul lead out through his expertise and background, he is also known to have arrived early in the morning and be on his knees in prayer for the people in the ministry.
CAMP OF CHAMPIONS // Unique to ABCH is Camp of Champions, an annual summer camp held just for ABCH children in care, parents, and staff! 1992 marks the first year of Camp, and it will be held every year at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega, with one exception in 1997 because of the organization's move.
PROPOSAL TO MOVE FROM TROY // Paul Miller presents before the Alabama Baptist Convention in November. He brings forward the proposal to move the administration office to Birmingham and to close the Troy campus. His proposal is approved, and the plan to make the transition is underway.
FROM TROY TO BIRMINGHAM // The central administrative office and staff is moved to Birmingham, and the Troy campus is closed after 74 years. Though the move was a difficult one, it was necessary as state legislation was preventing any child from being placed more than 50 miles from their home of origin, limiting the effectiveness of the Troy campus.
SECOND MATERNITY HOME // Also in 1997, a second maternity home is opened in the Birmingham area.
(Click on photos below to enlarge and/or read full captions)
NEW CAMPUSES OPEN // 1999 is another big year for ABCH! Oxford and Dothan locations are opened, further extending the reach of the ministry in its care for children and families around the state. The Oxford location includes an emergency shelter, "The Friendship House," as well as social services, and Dothan opens a campus home and also provides social services. In Birmingham, the new and current administrative office is finished.
TECHNOLOGY & MINISTRY // With each passing year, ABCH becomes more multi-faceted in its approach to care for children and families.
As technology changes, ABCH begins to adapt the ways it communicates to reach as many people as possible. Whether through print materials, the web, or video, the ministry seeks to actively involve all Baptists in Alabama in the care of children and families.
COUNSELING SERVICES // In the mid 90s, an ABCH counseling ministry takes shape. A counselor is brought to the Birmingham area to begin work there in 1995: our current President/CEO, Rod Marshall. The need for the ministry to invest even more in counseling becomes apparent over the next several years. At a strategic planning meeting in 2001, the leadership discussed making its counseling department a stand-alone ministry with a separate name, and Pathways Professional Counseling is born.
A primary reason for the name change is the concern that some who needed the services our counselors could provide might not come to us because they may feel their needs were not related to the care of children. Counseling became a significant part of our ministry to help children avoid placement and to strengthen families and marriages.
FAMILY CARE BEGINS // In Alabaster, our previous maternity home becomes the new Family Care home. Family Care is designed to assist struggling single mothers and their children.
GROWING TO MEET GROWING NEEDS // In 2006, ministry leadership establishes a comprehensive plan for growth that ABCH operates under for the next five years.
The "Priorities for Growth" plan includes a "Top 10 by 2010" outline to impact multiple areas of the ministry. Among some of the focuses created and achieved are:
- Foster care growth from 50 to 85 homes
- Family Care units double from 8 to 16
- Counseling sites grow from 27 to 38
- Implementation of a new IT plan for the ministry
- Implementation of a new organizational corporate model
Putting these plans in place not only meets current needs, but helps set the stage for all the ministry faces in the years to come.
MONTGOMERY OFFICE OPENS // Our newest location for serving children and families opens in Montgomery. The office provides a foster care ministry, educational seminars on child and family issues, and counseling services.
FAMILY CARE IN GARDENDALE // The Gardendale group home becomes the newest Family Care home.