Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

1993 to 2002

Why Did the Children's Home Close 10 Cottages?

Update of status of Child Care finances 1992


By Ron Argo, Child Care Program Director
First printed in the "Baptist Messenger" April 22, 1993

Several rumors have been circulating recently around the state concerning child care. One rumor was that we are going out of business. Another said we are no longer doing foster care. A third rumor said we were selling all of our group homes. A response is appropriate. Let me share with you where Child Care is and where it is going.

On January 22, 1993, I received our 1992 actual expenses and income totals. In 1992 the budget for child care was $4,412,251. Actual expenses for 1992 were $4,126,221. You can see that we were $286,030 under our budget. The problem was that we projected an income of $3,700,422 and only received $3,537,098. Figure 1 shows the various sources of our income. If you take our actual expenses from our actual income, you can see that we spent $589,123 more than we received.

We then looked at the budget for 1993. Our 1993 budget expenditures are estimated to be $4,787,425.

Our revised estimated receipts are projected to be $3,911,704. Therefore, our 1993 budget needed to be reduced by $875,721 or to say it another way, we need to reduce our 1992 expenditures by $214,517 (1992) expenditures of $4,126,221, less 1993 projected income of $3,911,704.

Why is the financial situation so bad all of a sudden? The truth is that this problem didn't occur overnight. We're reaping the results of the last 10 or more years. The economy is bad. Interest is down on the money we receive from our endowment funds. People are not as concerned about the needs of others. Child care is more expensive. Children have more complex problems today. Originally we were "Child Care," then became "Special Care" and now we are a part of "Family Care."

Two actions by the Board of Directors, releasing funds designated for capital expenditures to be used for operational expenditures and use of the interest on the money from the sale of the old Children's Home from Child Care to Family Care wherever it's needed, should have made us cautious in our spending. All of these answers are correct. Each answer plays a part in the problem we now face.

Since 1980 Child Care expenses have increased from $2,197,764 to $4,126,871 per year. Also we have added five group homes, two Hope Pregnancy Centers and a maternity home. The number of children in our care has not increased dramatically because the more difficult child today requires greater attention. Every one of our fixed expenses have increased, just as your personal expenses have increased.

Let me share with you our income since 1980. Figure 2 shows our Cooperative Program gifts since 1980. Cooperative Program income has been relatively flat for the last several years. Figure 1 represents our Annual Mother's Day Offering for Child Care. You will note that gifts from the churches are not the only figures included in the offering. Gifts that come into the executive office, estates, grants, royalties and leases are just a few different sources of income received in our Mother's Day Offering. Notice how our gifts from the churches have remained about the same for the last several years? Our expenses have not. So what do we do? After meeting several times with the campus administrators and with the approval of Dr. William G. Tanner, it was determined that several steps would need to be implemented.

First, no additional children would be placed in Foster Care. We will continue to serve the children who are presently in our Foster Care Program, but will not add others for a period of time. Second, if something breaks, and we can do without it, we will. If necessary we will try to patch, mend or repair it, but not replace it unless absolutely necessary. Capital expenditures will be held to a minimum. Third, when workers resign we will not replace them. Through attrition we will reduce our staff by 25 percent - 30 percent. This means that when houseparents leave due to burn out, retirement, or another job opportunity, the cottage will close. Children in that cottage will be placed in one of the other cottages.

Eventually at least eight cottages or group homes will close. The most expensive and difficult cottages to operate are the group homes because of distance, social services, school services, medical services, isolation, etc. Therefore, the group homes become the logical choices when there is a need to close cottages or there is a vacancy. Attrition will apply to all positions in child care, not just houseparents unless this action affects our license. The reason for reducing staff and services is not because our ministry has changed. This action will make us financially stable.

We must be good stewards of the offerings we receive. We cannot spend more than we receive. As with your home, business or church budget, you realize that you must live within your means. If you don't, then you acquire a debt and have to work your way out of it. Child care is not in debt, nor do we need to be.

So why hasn't someone told us this? We are telling you because we are dependent on your prayers and financial support. Child Care will be stronger because of this adversity. God will bless us if we continue to hold our hand to the plow. We must re-focus on what we are doing now and what we can do in the future. We're counting on your help.


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