Letter from the President


Dear Thornwell Family,

You help spread the word! Thornwell Home for Children is your ministry serving children in need and their families and we are ready to help.  While you may be most familiar that we serve children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment, we also serve children from families in crisis.  Family crises such as death of a parent, divorce, serious physical or mental health issues of a parent/family member, homelessness, parental drug or alcohol abuse, parental incarceration, disrupted foster and adoptive home placements and serious economic hardship are among the many situations in which children and families need our help.

You may be surprised to learn that one of the fastest growing groups of children who need us are children being raised by their grandparents because their biological parents cannot or will not assume responsibility for their children’s care.  It is estimated that 5 million children are being raised by a grandparent(s) in the United States, and this does not include children being raised by siblings and other relatives. 

In Thornwell’s primary service area of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, 918,721 children under age 18 live in homes where the householders are grandparents or other relatives, with almost 335,000 of those children living in homes where grandparents are responsible for them. Of these children, 131,333 have no parents present in the home (2010 U.S. Census Bureau statistics).

In every church of every size at which I have spoken since coming to Thornwell last summer I have met grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.  They all love their grandchildren, but in many cases these grandparents don’t have the physical health or financial resources needed and their greatest fear is, “What is going to happen to my grandchildren when I am gone or am no longer able to care for them?”

Thornwell currently serves a number of children whose grandparents have turned to us for help.  Some of these situations only require short term residential placement for the child to give the grandparent time to address the issues that resulted in out of home placement or to find another suitable family member that can provide a safe and loving home for the child.  In other situations Thornwell may be called upon to provide long-term care for the child until they graduate from high school. 

Regardless of the reasons a child comes to live at Thornwell or length of a child’s placement, Thornwell works alongside these families, whether they are parents, grandparents, or other relatives, providing regular opportunities for family visits, family counseling and other support. 

You can help spread the word of the important ministry at Thornwell Home for Children.  As people of faith, we are called to do so for it is one way we help keep the promises of Baptism.  If you know of a child and family in your church, neighborhood, or community who may need our services, please encourage them to contact our Admissions Coordinator, Ms. Susan Mattison, toll-free at 1-888-310-9387. All calls and inquiries are held in strictest confidence.

For all God’s Children,
The Rev. Elliot M. Smith President