In March of 1969, a serene 175-acre farm in Wooster became known as the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) when members of the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ movement learned of a boy with no safe place to call home. Initially licensed as a foster/group home serving three to five children at one time, CCHO now has five cottages on its campus that are home to as many as 36 at-risk kids at once, confused and broken children who just need to know that they are loved, they are valued and they are safe.
The first residential cottage was built in 1975 to serve 10-12 teenagers in addition to the married couple who worked as live-in houseparents. That same year, the original office building was built, a space that has since been remodeled multiple times to meet the ever increasing and changing needs of the administrative staff. Cottage #2 was built seven years later, Cottage #3 opened in 1983, the Kids Cottage was built in 1991 and Cottage #4 opened in 2003.
In 1995, CCHO introduced Poplar Ridge Stables, an equine therapy program that not only teaches the children the importance of responsibility and care for the horses, but also provides a number of physical and emotional benefits for riders who suffer from ADD/ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, sight and speech disorders, and a number of other health diagnoses.
CCHO became licensed as an adoption agency in 1997; in 2006, the organization received COA accreditation; and in 2009, Intensive Residential Treatment Program and Certified Trauma Therapy began.
With support from dozens of churches, community organizations and a host of caring individuals along with the hard work of more than 150 employees and oversight from our Board of Trustees, CCHO exists to help people experience their worth in Christ as a licensed Child Care Agency by the Ohio Department of Human Services. We are grateful and humbled by the work God has done through CCHO, and we can’t wait to see what He does over the next 50 years!
50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry
We have been blessed beyond measure to serve the children and families God has placed in our care for 50 years. Please revisit an incredible five decades of ministry with a look at our 50 Stories for 50 Years of ministry series below.
Amidst the heartache of grief and loss in the foster care system, our staff at Encourage has had the opportunity to witness the joy of adoption with many families throughout the last year. In fact, 12 children will finalize adoptions this year.
Katie needed to feel safe. She needed to feel loved. Thanks to donors like you, Katie found the support, therapy and love she needed at CCHO. She was baptized during her time at CCHO, and today she lives with a new foster family. Katie wanted to say “thank you” for all you’ve done for her!
I was told that this was a place where I would feel loved not just by the staff, but by God. Individual therapy sessions, group therapy, wish circles, rules to be followed (and broken at times), boundaries to be aware of, sharing a cottage with eight teenagers. Some days — many days — it was more than I could handle.