Our History

For over 90 years, EmberHope Youthville has been committed to caring for children in need. Now a 501(c)3 non-profit, faith-based agency, we’re proud to partner with the Great Plains United Methodist Conference as well as USD 373 and New Hope Shelter, Inc. to spark change in at-risk youth and families.

EmberHope Youthville began in the early 1920s with a gift from the estate of Mr. Edward P. Libbey. This gift, combined with funds from the City of Newton, enabled the purchase of 30 acres to build the Kansas Methodist Home for Children. In 1929, Libbey Hall, which included a kitchen, library, offices, and dormitories, opened for service. Over the next nine decades, six more residential cottages were added, along with a school, a chapel, and farm facilities.

In the 1960s, the agency received a new name—Methodist Youthville—and a new focus: serving adolescent youth with emotional or social adjustment problems. We also expanded into Dodge City, and began operating group homes throughout the state of Kansas. In the early 1970s, we began 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. At that time our agency, now known as United Methodist Youthville, began serving youth and families as part of the Region 5 foster care/reintegration contract in Sedgwick County.

Growth continued over the next several years. The 2007 acquisition of Family Consultation Services enabled us to provide outpatient mental health services. We also expanded to other states, opening an office in the Seattle area in 2011 and expanding our foster care program to Texas in 2013.

In 2013, after eight decades of providing quality services to children in foster and residential care, United Methodist Youthville was renamed EmberHope. This new name better encompassed our agency’s expanded services, as well as the launch of STRIVE, an independent living program. In 2018, the agency underwent another name change. Now operating as EmberHope Youthville, this name change reflects a return to our historical roots as well as our vision for the future.

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