Children’s Home rejoices in 19 salvations
By Brian Koonce
BRIDGETON – Just like the rest of the nation, the trustees of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) are keeping a close eye on Wall Street. But despite an up-and-down roller coaster economy, they’re still optimistic, looking forward to an increased budget – as well as increased ministry – in 2009.
Among the sea of numbers trustees pore over, they found one particular line worth rejoicing over. So far this year, 19 children have made professions of faith. That includes nine this quarter, which matched 2007’s year-long total.
“This is why I chose to be a part of the MBCH,” said Trustee Ron Robinson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Van Buren. “We’re making a difference in kid’s lives [as a children’s home], but for 19 kids, we’ve made a difference for all eternity.”
Although this year’s economy has been a little rocky, MBCH CFM (Children and Family Ministries) is on pace to serve three percent more Missourians than last year. “Days of Service Delivery,” the CFM’s way of measuring residential service to families, is up 20 percent. That includes 548 requests for residential services and 702 requests for community-based services.
Another challenge they are facing is a set of new rules the state is imposing on care contracted out to the MBCH. Instead of paying a set amount for each child served (about 20 percent of the CFM budget), MBCH workers are now required to account for all their services provided in 15-minute increments, which they must turn in to the state. The state will then determine how much they will reimburse the MBCH.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what God is going to do,” Robinson said. “It could greatly affect how we do ministry, the number of children we’re able to minister to, and our income.”
Through August, revenue for the MBCH parent corporation is down 11 percent, or $350,000 behind 2007’s year-to-date receipts. Investment income, budgeted to be $130,000 of the Children’s Home’s income, is down 77 percent, from $92,000 this time last year to just $21,000 this year.
However, expenses are also down 10 percent for the same time period. Russell Martin, the MBCH’s executive vice president and treasurer, noted that distributions to the MBCH’s agencies have already been made for the year.
“Cash-wise, we ended August in a pretty good position,” he told the board.
Signaling their confidence, trustees unanimously approved the MBCH’s $3.78 million budget (a seven percent increase over 2008) and approved the MBCH’s Children and Family Ministries’ separate budget for $11.6 million.
If the revenue projections hold true, all ministries areas of CFM will benefit from the 12 percent increase, including a brand new proposed ministry for the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled.
The line item for foster/adoptive recruitment and training would jump 74 percent, to just under $1 million. CFM also provides long-term residential care for children age 6-18, 30-day emergency care for children ages 6-14, pregnancy counseling and a transitional living program for both girls and boys ages 16-21, family counseling and foster/adoptive placements. Next year plans call for starting intensive in-home services which, along with family reunification services, may bring in more than an extra $500,000 in revenue.