Murphy Harpst


Where do Murphy-Harpst’s children come from?

All of the children who arrive at Murphy-Harpst for residential care are in temporary custody of the state as a result of being from abusive living situations. They come from across the State of Georgia.  Approximatley 50 percent in residential care are from the metropolitan Atlanta area.  Many have been in numerous placements in foster care before coming to Murphy-Harpst.  Such unsuccessful experiences for the children add to the trauma that they have already experienced.   They must receive therapeutic care.


What is the average number of children generally served at Murphy-Harpst for one year?

A total of 283 in 2014-15.


What ages of children does Murphy-Harpst help?

The residential program cars for children and youth, ages 12 to 21.  Our Therapeutic Foster Care Homes serve children and youth from birth to 21.  



What are some unique behavioral characteristics of children at Murphy-Harpst?

Because of the trauma they’ve suffered, many children respond to interaction with severe aggression or withdrawal.  When admitted to Murphy-Harpst, nearly all  are not capable of attending public schools.  Most are a few years behind academically and attend an on-site campus school, The Glenn T. York, Jr. Academy.  After arriving at Murphy-Harpst, some of the children horde their food for fear of going hungry.


What is Murphy-Harpst’s success rate?

In 2014-15, Murphy-Harpst transitioned 69% of the young people served into less restrictive environments such as foster care, group homes, adoptive placements, placements with approved family members, or independent living settings for older adolescents.

How long are children in residence?

On June 30, 2015, a total of  32% had been in residence for less than 6 months; 34% for 6 months to one year; 27% for one to two years; 7% percent for two years plus.


Where do children in residence attend school?

Today, nearly all of the young people admitted to Murphy-Harpst have been declared unmanageable in public schools.  As a result, they are far behind their peers academically.  In the 2013-14 academic year, most of the children were educated on campus in the Glenn T. York, Jr. Academy where classes are small and they receive individual attention.  This is a tremendus change from a few years ago when 50% of our young people were educated in Polk County Schools.   The York Academy is a beautiful new school that opened for the beginning of 2013-14 academic year. 

How does Murphy-Harpst determine success with children?

Murphy-Harpst works to undo the damage the children have suffered by providing a consistently therapeutic environment and Christian nurturing. Our definition of “success” is based on improved functioning scores, achievement of treatment goals, academic progress, child and his/her guardian satisfaction surveys, and discharge to an appropriate home-like environment.


How do you know a child is rehabilitated and ready for foster care?

Murphy-Harpst has a number of programs in place that help educate the children and their families (or foster parents) about the recovery process and assist as the children are reintegrated into the community.  Services and programs range from our Specialized Foster Care program that allows them to live with a family and attend community schools, to the Success and After-Care programs, among others.

What happens to the children that don’t receive help from Murphy-Harpst?                        

Without our help, many of these children could find themselves in state prisons or mental hospitals. Victims of severe abuse and neglect have higher rates of committing violent crime, suicide and drug and alcohol abuse, to name a few. In addition, at least 30 percent of abused and neglected children that haven’t received help will later abuse their own children, continuing the vicious cycle.


What does Murphy-Harpst need from the community to thrive?

Financial support.  Our greatest funding need is for therapy. To succeed, these children need around-the-clock care, which – while expensive – can mean the difference in whether or not they will be able to lead healthy, productive  lives. 

This is a list of our current needed items.

Where does my money go when I donate to Murphy-Harpst?

Unless otherwise designated, your gift (or donation) is used to help meet the cost of general operations for residental care and therapy.  This includes costs for total care and professional staffing that are not covered by reimbursements from government funding.  

How is Murphy-Harpst associated with the Methodist church?

Murphy-Harpst is in a covenant relationship with the United Methodist Women national office.      

How is Murphy-Harpst funded?

Children in residence at Murphy-Harpst have no financial resources, and most are dependent upon state and federal funding. Although Murphy-Harpst receives reimbursement from government sources, payment received falls far short of the costs required for care – roughly $20 more per day than we receive. Because private funding is so crucial to our children, we deeply appreciate the generosity of our donors.


Who started Murphy-Harpst?

Murphy-Harpst Children’s Centers was consolidated in 1984 from two homes established by Sarah Murphy in 1931 and Ethel Harpst in 1924 that served orphaned or neglected children.

Murphy-Harpst has protected a remarkable 283 children – 117 in residential programs, 76 in specialized  foster care and 90 in community or outpatient services in the 2015 fiscal year which ended June 30.



Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 30% more likely to commit violent crime.