Murphy-Harpst Children's Centers, Inc.

Life and Hope for Children

aka Murphy-Harpst   |   Cedartown, GA   |  www.murphyharpst.org/support

Mission

To provide a safe and nurturing environment where severely abused and neglected children and teenagers can thrive and heal toward a goal of re-engaging with society and leading productive lives.

Ruling year info

1987

President and CEO

Mr. Scott Merritt

Main address

740 Fletcher Street

Cedartown, GA 30125-3249 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

58-1543388

NTEE code info

Group Home, Residential Treatment Facility - Mental Health Related (F33)

Foster Care (P32)

Animal Related Activities N.E.C. (D99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Children arriving for treatment at Murphy-Harpst have suffered from neglect and physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and trauma, and as a result, have experienced a range of complex behavioral and mental health issues. Consequently, many have failed in numerous schools and foster care placements and been declared unmanageable and in desperate need of professional help. Without support, these children are more likely to experience physical, developmental, behavioral, and mental health challenges. They are at greater risk of being less educated, homeless, substance abusers, suicidal, incarcerated, unemployed, unskilled, and more likely to continue cycles of abuse. We recognize the disadvantages faced by these children and commit to providing the therapeutic care needed to help them heal and recover so they can return home and engage in meaningful and productive lives.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Residential Services

Residential services support children age 12 and older who do not require acute hospitalization but need 24/7 intensive treatment due to severe abuse and neglect. The trauma experienced by these children causes severe emotional and behavioral issues that make safe living in home settings unattainable until intensive therapeutic services are provided. Many have experienced numerous failed foster home placements and psychiatric hospitalization because of the likelihood of harm to themselves and others. Services are provided on a beautiful 160-acre campus, located in Cedartown, Georgia, and include a Room Board and Watchful Oversight (RBWO) program with a Maximum Watchful Oversight (MWO) designation, clinical therapy, recreation/experiential therapy, education, spiritual enrichment, medication management, case management, nursing care, social skills training, transitional living services, and can participate in a GED and/or work program. The spacious grounds and peaceful setting help facilitate residents' feeling of protection and trust in their surroundings. The campus has enabled us to develop an array of effective outdoor education and therapy offerings including a high and low ropes course, equine-assisted therapy, and most recently, an outdoor garden and greenhouse. Treatment enables children to progress through personalized treatment programs and transition successfully into the community through less restrictive placements including foster care, adoption, group homes, and state-approved family placements. Results, which we've achieved each year, are for the majority of residents to progress successfully through residential placements in less than 6 months to 2 years.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Specialized Foster Care provides family placements with a high-level of clinical support for infants and children removed from parental custody due to abuse and neglect. Staff train parents to meet the needs of these children and provides round-the-clock support in the event of an issue or emergency. Parents are provided with a 24/7 helpline with one of our staff workers on call, and each family has unlimited and direct access to the Director of Foster Care. Placements are often a step-down from residential care allowing children to re-integrate into the community while continuing a high level of support.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Murphy-Harpst's clinical care/community services program is a campus-based and community-based program enabling children to progress from residential treatment to successful placements in the community (e.g., foster care, adoption, group homes, or approved placements with family members) where they can lead productive lives. Specific activities include clinical evaluation upon admission to determine the level of functioning, analyze the components of behavior or mental health issues that are causing the most distress, identify goals and the most beneficial types of treatment, and provide a baseline for the measurement of progress. The clinical evaluation culminates in a treatment plan and the organization of a treatment team for each child. Individual and group therapies are provided by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists employed full-time by Murphy-Harpst. Individual therapy helps children take steps in understanding their behaviors, overcoming guilt, developing a positive self-image, and forgiving others. Group therapy helps children learn new behaviors, identify with others, and trust their peers. Community services are offered through the outpatient clinic and provide children in residence with continued support while reintegrating back into the community.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Murphy-Harpst’s Transitional Living Program (TLP) is a campus-based program meeting the needs of older adolescents, ages 16-21, preparing to transition into adulthood and independent living. Adolescents in this program have varying degrees of behavioral and/or emotional problems that interfere with growth, development, and overall functioning in key areas of life such as peer relations, school, and family. The program places adolescents on an educational and/or vocational track with the supervision of a therapist and is designed to provide real-life job search and career development experience (e.g., filling out applications, collecting references, and interviewing). Behavior permitting, these adolescents are able to get jobs in the community, and many attend high school or college off campus. In 2018, at the request of referring agencies, we added an on-site GED program to The TLP program, which helps children earn a high school equivalency certificate and become eligible to apply for jobs, educational programs, or training programs. The TLP program also teaches adolescents important life-skills (e.g., cooking, money management, and time management) enabling them to become self-sufficient.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Recreation Therapy/Experiential Therapy is a campus-based program and results-proven component of comprehensive mental health treatment particularly successful in helping heal at-risk children. Recreation therapy provides opportunities for goals in a child's individual treatment plan to come to fruition during a variety of supervised activities. Recreation therapists deliver programming promoting healthy living, skill development, and physical activity as part of overall health and important underlying factors of a strong self-esteem, appropriate social interaction, and positive body image. Activities include team sports, exercise, animal-assisted therapy, swimming, art, music, and other physical activities designed to strengthen the body and social, emotional, and cognitive areas our children may be delayed in.

Equine-assisted therapy is a key component of our recreation therapy program because it allows children to learn responsibility by caring for horses that often manifest similar behaviors to the children. Research and our experience show animals, especially horses, can be an excellent part of a child’s healing process.

In addition to essential mental and physical health outcomes, recreation therapy is important because for most of these children these activities were not previously accessible due to poverty, lack of family support, transience, problems in school, and/or extreme low self-esteem.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Educational services are provided to all residents to help maximize their full academic potential. Residents begin onsite schooling at the Glenn T. York Academy which is highly structured and supportive. Educational assessments and individualized educational planning meetings assist teachers to develop appropriate educational goals. The lead teacher recommends students for community school placement when deemed ready, and a school liaison assists students in making that transition. York Academy’s headmaster, Marvin B. Williams, is a retired superintendent of the Polk County School District and also comes to Murphy-Harpst with experience as a special education teacher, assistant principal of Westside Elementary, and past principal of Goodyear Elementary School, Perks Middle School, and Rockmart High School.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Murphy-Harpst’s goals and expected outcomes are aligned with its mission to provide a safe and nurturing environment where severely abused and neglected children and teenagers can thrive and heal toward a goal of re-engaging with society and leading productive lives.

Murphy-Harpst’s vision is to provide the very best continuum of care for children and teenagers through excellence in Services (Residential, Foster Care, Outpatient Community Services); Development (Funding, Advocacy, Volunteerism); Management (Staff, Land, Facilities); and Governance (Engaged, Diversified, Mission-focused Board).

Murphy-Harpst's overarching goal focuses on loving care and treatment that incorporates procedures to evaluate overall functioning; analyze behavior or mental health issues causing the most distress; and pursue levels of treatment tailored to the needs of each child using individual, group, and recreation therapies, and family therapy when possible, along with on-campus schooling. End results, which we have achieved each year, are for the majority of our children to progress successfully through treatment in less than 6 months to 2 years. All other priorities are designed to support this all-encompassing treatment goal.

Beginning in late 2017, at the direction of Murphy-Harpst’s board and management, a rigorous and comprehensive strategic planning process was initiated to guide program development and operations for the period 2018-2021. Individuals and focus groups were selected from a large cadre of stakeholders, including a Strategic Planning Steering Committee, past and current board members, past and current donors, payers and referral sources, staff, youth, families, and volunteers. A traditional SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities) was conducted with both board and staff members, in addition to more targeted and open-ended interviews, focus groups and surveys of a broader stakeholder group. Participation was excellent, and informative data were obtained identifying clear trends, opportunities, and developmental needs of the organization. The data support an ongoing critical need for the services of Murphy-Harpst in light of a growing state and national mental health and child welfare crisis. The resulting Strategic Plan, approved by the board in March 2018, is organized around four strategic priorities: 1) Board Governance, 2) Fiscal Integrity, 3) Operational Improvement, and 4) Brand Presence. The strategic plan was also informed by a comprehensive communications audit made possible by Leadership Atlanta during 2017-2018.

There are several internal and external factors that are contributing to the success of our goals:

1) Strong Staff:
In addition to our strong programs, we have a dedicated team of 132 full-time and 34 part-time employees passionate about helping at-risk children. These employees are hired based off their level of education, strong alignment with the organization’s mission and values, and their drive to grow in the field of social services.

2) 160-Acre Campus:
We maintain a beautiful, wooded campus with spacious grounds that facilitate a child’s feeling of protection and trust in their surroundings. The campus has enabled us to develop an array of effective outdoor education and therapy offerings including a high and low ropes course, equine therapy program, and most recently, outdoor garden and greenhouse.

3) Partnership with United Methodist Church / United Methodist Women national office:
While Murphy-Harpst is an independent non-profit accepting referrals regardless of religious affiliation, our organization proudly maintains its historical affiliation with the Methodist Church. Today, the United Methodist Women national office recognizes Murphy-Harpst as a National Mission Institution, and as a result, hundreds of volunteers from United Methodist Church congregations throughout North Georgia provide support and visit the campus regularly to assist with activities. Throughout the year, United Methodist Nomads Mission Volunteers share in assisting United Methodist Church partners (churches, camps, children’s homes, retreat centers, senior centers, and disaster relief agencies) with new construction, remodeling, and repairs. The United Methodist Church also designates several Sundays throughout the year as opportunities for recognizing and supporting partner agencies such as Murphy-Harpts. These are referred to as Special Offerings and include an offering used to fund the work of Murphy-Harpst.

4) Partnerships with Service Organizations, Colleges, and Universities:
We host volunteers from service organizations (Kiwanis International, Young Men’s Service Leagues) and interns and volunteers from regional colleges and universities (Alabama State University, Appalachian State University, Berry College, Clemson University, Eastern Kentucky University, South Georgia State College, University of Georgia).

5) Mission-Related Advocacy Groups:
We maintain strategic partnerships with mission-related advocacy groups, including Action Ministries, which helps remove barriers preventing thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty and realizing their potential; Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, which is a collaboration of agencies who network together to provide placement and support for at-risk youth; Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, which provides professional life plan and goal achievement coaching for at-risk youth; and Together Georgia, which is an alliance of children and family services providers.

In the last fiscal year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018), Murphy-Harpst’s outcomes included:

1) CAFAS Results and Average Length of Stay: The widely established Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), showed the majority of residents progressed in role performance in daily activities and school, behavior toward others, moods and emotions, thinking, and decreased self-harm behavior. Progress varied among residents due to widely differing goals and objectives as outlined in individual treatment plans. Through the use of clinical evaluations upon admission based on CAFAS and the formation of a treatment team and plan for each resident, we aim for the majority of residents to progress successfully through treatment in less than 6 months to 2 years. This past fiscal year, the average length of stay was 6.1 months.

2) State of Georgia Quarterly Evaluations: A measurable outcome from last year includes a quarterly comprehensive evaluation by the State of Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services' Office of Provider Management. Criteria include the overall well-being of children served in specific areas including safety outcomes, incident reports, placement stability, medical outcomes, and academic reports. Evaluations for Q1-Q4 of last fiscal year averaged 95.5% (an A).

Additional highlights as listed in our fiscal year 2018 Impact Report:

*59 counties served
*75 residents on campus at a time
*294 hours of individual equine therapy sessions
*15 kids with TLP jobs
*791 volunteers on campus
*2,967 hours of individual therapy
*139 off-campus trips
*41 children in foster care
*7 sibling groups placed in foster homes
*2,141 donors
*8 group therapy offerings a week
*85,709 meals served
*8 adoptions

Financials

Murphy-Harpst Children's Centers, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Murphy-Harpst Children's Centers, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 5/7/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Martha Carroll

Retired, The Westminister Schools

Term: 2019 -

Lou Cataland

JHM Hotels

Scott Brown

Georgia-Pacific

Barbara Brown-Cooper

Floyd County DFCS (retired)

Scott Campbell

Shiver Hamilton LLC

Martha Carroll

The Westminster Schools (retired)

Rev. Larry Caywood

Lindale UMC

Kim Collins

J. Collins Funeral Home

David Dorton

McKinsey & Company

Bruce Elder

MedQuest

John Ethridge

Smith, Gambrell & Russell

Morris Henderson

Keystone Financial Alliance

Rev. Dr. Coy Hinton

Canton 1st UMC (retired)

Rep. Trey Kelley

Georgia House District 16

Mike Maloney

Craftsman Chemical Corporation

Tripp McKenney

Omni Hotels

Myron Newman

TRI

Malloy Peterson

Selig Enterprises

Wilds Pierce

Georgia Northeastern Railroad (Retired)

Steve Powell

Steve Powell Homes

Richard Stoll

Cheeseburger Bobby's and Huey Luey's

Rev. Lawrence Young

Warren Memorial UMC

Cindi Hicks

Rome-Carrollton District United Methodist Women (Ex-Officio)

Linda Leachman

Murphy-Harpst Auxiliary (Ex-Officio)

Scott Merritt

Murphy-Harpst (Ex-Officio)

Rev. Dr. David Naglee

Rome-Carrollton District (Ex-Officio)

Sue Raymond

United Methodist Women (Ex-Officio)

Tryphenia Speed

North Georgia Conference United Methodist Women (Ex-Officio)

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/07/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/07/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.