In 1883, two Presbyterian women in Charlotte, North Carolina founded the Presbyterian Orphans Home, now called Barium Springs. As needs grew and space did not, the Presbyterian Synod purchased acreage for the Home in Barium Springs, N.C. The land they purchased was the site of the legendary, healing “Barium Springs.” After purchase of the land, Presbyterian Children’s Home moved to Barium Springs.
In 1914, almost 100 miles away in the small mountain community of Banner Elk, N.C. the Presbyterian minister, Edgar Tufts was working diligently with his local church to establish a home for orphans in the rugged mountain areas, and Grandfather Home for Children was born.
Both of these historic agencies functioned primarily as orphanages until the mid-1900’s. Children coming to these homes were mostly orphans who would stay for long periods of time. Many came as infants and stayed until graduation from high school or college. Both homes were self-sustaining farms where the children learned trade skills and assisted with daily chores.
In the 1950’s, needs for an orphanage decreased, partially due to peacetime and advances in medical technology. Instead, children needing care had one or both parents still living; but suffered from abuse and neglect. Not only did these children need a place of refuge but they also required treatment and therapy. Services expanded after 1970’s to focus mainly on the needs of children were classified as “troubled” or abused. Between the 1970’s and early 2000’s both Barium Springs and Grandfather Home for Children experienced expansion of services to better meet the needs of children at the time. These expansions included foster care and adoptions services, educational services and therapeutic services for children who had suffered complex trauma.
In April of 2014, the two organizations merged in an effort to have a greater impact in helping children and families across the region. The name chosen for the newly formed, merged organization was Children’s Hope Alliance. This name allows everyone to understand our deeply rooted mission, to provide hope and healing for hurting children and families. The future of Children’s Hope Alliance is bright, our stability lies in our deeply-rooted mission and a willingness to attend to the special needs of each generation.