Children’s home sale nears end

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From staff reports

Concordia College Selma will soon expand its campus across Franklin Street, purchasing the United Methodist Children’s Home property between Franklin and Broad streets.

“We have been in negotiations with Concordia College for several months and I believe we are in the end stages of that,” said Jill West, chief development officer for the United Methodist Children’s Home.

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Within a month, the Children’s Home will sell the 35-acre property that includes cottages, a large office building, chapel and tennis court, West said. The property has been appraised at $3.5 million.

Concordia College officials were unavailable for comment.

“For the Children’s Home, the benefit is that it was no longer usable for the current environment of child care,” West said. “Most child care agencies are moving away from the institutional look of an agency, so we really weren’t getting children referred to us in Selma. The benefit, to us, is to be able to utilize the funds from the sale and to put it into more child care around the state.”

The organization will continue to serve the children of Dallas County, placing children in small homes in neighborhoods instead of a large agency.

“Our ministry is not closing,” West said. “We are continuing and growing, and this is an opportunity to reallocate funds back into child care and not property payments. It’s important for our donors and supporters to know that.”

The office headquarters will move to Montgomery in the near future, West said. All Selma positions will transfer to the new offices.

“It will give us a more central place and accessibility to our other programs,” West said. “But, for now, it is still located in Selma until we are able to secure that property.”

Founded in 1890 as the Alabama Methodist Orphanage in Summerfield, the offices moved to Selma and changed its name in 1911.

Children’s homes are also located in Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Florence, Scottsboro, Troy, Dothan, Andalusia, Milton, Birmingham, Crestview and Jasper.

The Children’s Home works with child welfare agencies, churches and extended families to provide care for abused and neglected children. It offers residential programs, foster care, family preservation, support services, adoption and spiritual life support.

The organization is a part of the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Youth Services.

Concordia College Selma is a Lutheran-based four-year college and one of 10 institutions in the Concordia College University System.

Other locations are in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Bronxville, N.Y.; Irvine, Calif.; Mequon, Wis.; Portland, Ore.; Riverforest, Ill.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Seward, Neb.