History

EmberHope Youthville was founded as an organization committed to caring for homeless, needy, and orphan children. Our agency has evolved into a 501(c)3 non-profit, faith-based agency committed to developing innovative programs that inspire change in at-risk youth and families.

In the early 1920s, the Methodist Church recognized the need to build a residency to care for homeless, needy, and orphaned children. This residence became a reality when funds from Mr. Edward P. Libbey’s estate and the city of Newton purchased 30 acres to build the Kansas Methodist Home for Children.

Libbey Hall, named after Mr. Libbey, was opened in 1929. The building included dormitories, offices, a kitchen, and a library. A few years later, a barn with stables housing cows, horses, and chickens was built to help the campus become self-sufficient. Over the next nine decades, six more residential cottages were built, along with a school and a chapel.

In 1960s, the agency’s name was changed to Methodist Youthville. The agency also started to focus on providing services to adolescent youth with emotional or social adjustment problems. That same year, our agency expanded into Dodge City. The agency also began operating group homes all over the state of Kansas.

In 1972, the agency, now named United Methodist Youthville, started operating a family foster home program in the Newton community.

In 1996, Kansas became the first state to fully privatize its adoption, foster care, and family preservation services. Our agency began serving youth and families as part of the Region 5 foster care/reintegration contract in Sedgwick County.

Over the next several years, our agency grew. In 2007, we acquired Family Consultation Services and began providing outpatient mental health services. Through a parenting support and foster care state contract, we opened an office in Washington state in 2011 and expanded our foster care program into the state of Texas in 2013.

After eight decades of providing quality services to children in foster and residential care, United Methodist Youthville was renamed EmberHope in 2013. This new name better encompassed our expanding services in mental health services, foster care, and residential, as well as the launch of STRIVE, an independent living program.

In 2018, the agency underwent another name change as it moved back to the original Newton campus, operating now as EmberHope Youthville. The name change reflected the return to our historical roots, while still continuing to provide a variety of services.