About: Our History

Circle of Care has provided help, healing, and hope to children and families in crisis since 1917. Our name, locations, and programs have changed over the years. However, we have not changed our focus — caring for children, youth, and families in crisis in Oklahoma.

Over 100 years of service

We began as a children’s home on November 22, 1917, when the East and West Conferences of the Oklahoma Methodist Episcopal Church, South, filed articles of incorporation for the Oklahoma Methodist Orphanage. At that time, the orphanage was located seven miles north of Oklahoma City in Britton, Oklahoma.

On March 25, 1942, the Britton facility was closed and 57 children boarded two buses and headed for their new home in Tahlequah which became known as the United Methodist Children’s Home. Over the next 60 years, we have expanded our offices, programs, and services across the state.

Historical Locations

Boys Ranch, Gore, OK

The United Methodist Boys Ranch was started by Henry Burrow, a United Methodist who envisioned a ranch where boys from broken homes and delinquents from the streets might have a full opportunity to grow into manhood — mentally, physically, and spiritually qualified to take their proper place in the world. The Boy’s Ranch officially began serving boys in 1963 on the west side of Lake Tenkiller and a few miles north of Gore, Oklahoma. Now, the ranch serves as a location for foster care sibling homes.

 

Children's Home, Tahlequah, OK

In 1938, as the Oklahoma Methodist Orphanage began to outgrow its older facilities, a conference committee conducted a state wide search for a site to build a new facility. After the selection of 220 acres in Tahlequah, OK, a campaign was launched to build a fully equipped campus. By spring of 1942 the new campus was ready.  In 1942, the Britton facility was closed and sixty children made the bus trip to their new home in Tahlequah, and thus the Children’s Home was born. Today, the campus serves as a transitional living program for youth who have aged out of foster care and lack the support needed to transition into adulthood.

 

Frances E. Willard Ministry Center, Tulsa, OK

In 1917 the Frances Willard Home began to serve Tulsa girls who were orphaned, abandoned, or neglected and had nowhere else to go. The specific location of the Frances Willard Home moved several times over the years, moving to its present location north of the Gilcrease Museum in 1958. That same year, the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference assumed ownership and management of the home and has been in continuous operation since that time. When the girls from Tulsa were transferred to the Children’s Home in Tahlequah in the early 2000’s, the Frances Willard Ministry Center was repurposed as a retreat center internally and externally and a home for the Tulsa Child SHARE (foster care) program. In September, 2008 Circle of Care opened a new program, Pearl’s Hope, at Frances Willard thanks to a generous bequest given to the United Methodist Foundation. Pearl’s Hope is a residential transitional living program for women seeking to regain custody of their children and rebuild their lives.

Then and Now

Until 1977, the three residential homes all operated independently with their own boards of directors and administrators. In 1977, the homes became part of the United Methodist Child Care Agency, although they retained their own separate boards. That agency was later renamed Children, Youth and Family Ministries and, in turn, became the Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care, Inc. in 1994. Currently, all programs of Circle of Care are governed by one board and the President/CEO. In 1999, Circle of Care opened a fourth campus, the Holsinger Home in Enid. In 2016, a 20 acre tract of the Oh Be Joyful Farm with two homes was generously donated to Circle of Care by Brad and Becky Johnson. Today, our facilities in each operate multiple programs serving children, youth, and families through counseling services, foster care services, and transitional living programs.

Currently, all programs of Circle of Care are governed by one board and the President/CEO. In 1999, Circle of Care opened a fourth campus, the Holsinger Home in Enid. Then, in 2016, a 20 acre tract of the Oh Be Joyful Farm with two homes was generously donated to Circle of Care by Brad and Becky Johnson.

Today, our facilities in Tahlequah, Gore, and Tulsa each operate multiple programs serving youth and children, including the Independent Living Program. While Circle of Care historically operated residential programs, it added community-based foster care services about 15 years ago.

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