our history

We’ve been serving Maryland’s vulnerable children and families since 1920! Join us for a trip down memory lane. 

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1920

Founded

State Mission Board seeks to establish Baptist Children’s Home of MD. Rather than building another orphanage, spice entrepreneur Willoughby McCormick favors in-home placement and becomes trustee president. Women’s Advisory Board formed. Agency renamed Baptist Children’s Aid Society of MD in 1924. Despite financial struggles, 225 individuals helped in first 10 years. McCormick family gives large legacy gift.

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1930

Services for Any in Need

Services expanded to non-Baptist children. McCormick dies in 1932, succeeded by M. A. Long. Widow Helen Cobb McCormick becomes first female trustee in 1934 and later elected board President.

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1940

Children’s Aid Club Formed

Maryland Bureau of Child Welfare contracts with the agency to provide caseworkers to certify foster and adoptive parents. Over 1,000 responses to Baptist Children’s Aid Club soliciting $1 per year membership. Board President Helen Cobb McCormick dies in 1946 and Hamilton C. Davis elected trustee president.

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1950

Decade of Growth

Of the 66 children under care, 4 are in schools, 4 in foster homes, 48 with their mothers, and 10 with other relatives. 1950 agency expenses exceed $17,000. In 1953, Rowland McD. Ness elected board President; Women’s Advisory Board expands to 50 members. 1957 MD Dept. of Public Welfare evaluation: ”BCAS renders helpful service to Maryland children through counseling, referral and provision for special needs.” 

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1960

Need for Child Placement Falls

With 67 children under care, 1960 expenses exceed $25,000. In 1961, BCAS relinquishes license as child placement agency “due to lack of need.” Agency focuses on providing other family support services. In 1964, agency hires Thelma Culbreth as first executive secretary with formal training in social work.

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1970

Sponsorship Program Begins

No longer a child placement agency, BCAS now supplements basic government support by providing in-home services to children and families referred by pastors. Sponsorship program begins, linking children in need with sponsors who send regular BCAS contributions to purchase gifts, clothing, and necessities. 130 children provided Christmas gifts, 37 sent to summer camp. In 1977, Orville Tarner elected board President.

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1980

First Executive Director

Working with 55 Sponsorship children, BCAS renews 60-year commitment to keeping kids in families. Robert L. Moore elected president in 1980; Rev. Robert Gerstmyer hired as agency’s first executive director in 1981. Agency name changed to Baptist Family & Children’s Aid of MD (BFCA). In 1987, agency’s work folded into state convention structure as Family-Ministers Support department. Arla Ely elected board President in 1988.

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1990

Foster Care and Additional Programs Added

BFCA reverts back to agency status, relocates, is re-licensed as child placement agency and begins treatment foster care services under MD Dept. of Human resources. Agency renamed Baptist Family & Children’s Services of MD. By 1993, with 32 CHOSEN placements, expenses are $1.3 million. New programs include: in-home services, emergency respite and Families Together. In 1997, Sandy Wehunt elected board President.

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2000

McCormick Family Life Institue is Started

BFCS programs now include: McCormick Family Life Institute, Baptist Family Counseling, CareNow Family Preservation Program, and CHOSEN. New agency and program logos adopted. Mother’s Day Offering now promoted by BCM/D for BFCS, with 71 churches participating. 

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2010

Independent, Interdenominational Agency

BFCS Programs now include: CHOSEN Treatment Foster Care, Safe Families for Children, and Therapeutic Family Services. Agency also partners with churches and businesses to provide school supplies, Christmas gifts, and Thanksgiving meals to families in need. With 42 children placed in CHOSEN homes, 2010 expenses exceed $2.6 million. Bob Gerstmyer retires in February 2012 after 30 years as Executive Director. Debbie Marini, former CHOSEN Clinical Director, becomes the new Executive Director. In 2014 the board of trustee’s recommendation is approved by the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware to become an independent agency and the name changed to Building Families for Children. 

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2020

100 Years of Service

Damon Thompson, current Executive Director, ushers the agency into it’s 100th year of service! BFC celebrates providing critical services to 20,000+ individuals over the years, and continues the mission “To share the love of Christ by helping Maryland’s most vulnerable children thrive in families.”

Historic Documents

Flip through this small sample of the many, many historical documents we have!