In NBA’s early years, serving children in crisis was mostly manifest through housing and caring for orphans. As time marched on, society progressed and “family life began the rapid, spiraling changes that affected American society and NBA in drastic ways.” Federal aid programs permitted more families to support children at home. Simultaneously, the birth rate dropped and the demand for adoption increased.
“As a result, the numbers of children in NBA facilities decreased. Instead of dormitories, what was needed in this new era of child care were more specialized services and staff workers with professional skills, to ‘help put back together children’s lives that had fallen apart’… The changing clientele–victimized children of emotional upheaval–required skilled evaluation and treatment as the psychology of child care took on a more professional aspect.” (Inasmuch, p139-143.)
Several historic Disciples children’s agencies–such as Tennyson Center at Colorado Christian Home, Cleveland Christian Home, Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Child Saving Institute, and Christian Services for Children in Alabama–continue in relationship with NBA and other emerging and established Disciples-related health and social service ministries today, serving in areas such as family preservation, therapeutic foster care, adoption, emergency services, and treatment and support related to mental illness, abuse, and neglect.
Visit NBA’s Partner Directory to learn more about Disciples ministries serving with children, youth, and young adults today.