March 18, 1979 - An article describing the activities children in the Home can experience: a wide variety of crafts, scouting, Big Brothers and Sisters, sports and Marine Corps ROTC. The children at this time range in age from age six to 18 and attend Forest Park Elementary, Wilson Jr. High and South Side Hide School. (In the 50s, the grade school children attended Eugene Field School.) The home retains a large library containing books, games lounge areas with stereos and color television for the children. Outside entertainment was much the same as for children living in private homes: movies, dates, dances, meetings or pizza outings. The home even had a horse for riding. At age 18 the children either married or they were assisted in finding jobs and/or apartments. The adult success rate was the same as for other children.
Orphans were not the only children living in the Home at this time. Societal changes brought not only orphans but neglected, underprivileged children and juvenile delinquents. Even with great conditions, segregating the problem children from others was impossible and vulnerable children were under the negative influence of problem juveniles.
A March 31, 1983 article describes an increase in personnel to include house parents, housekeepers, etc. The home had 53 children with room for 12 more, but the institution ran several thousand dollars in the red for that year. A number of children were sent to locations in other counties but county commissioners approved a juvenile probation officer and juvenile judge so that more could be kept at the Delaware County Childrens' Home. It was also mentioned that a sprinkler system was going to be required at a cost of about $100,000 to the county. This seems to be the beginning of a long series of problems with the now aged orphan home building. At this time Sally Stonebraker is the director.
From this time forward a series of articles details problems the old building suffers, the high cost of repairs and the need to segregate children with a variety of problems needing special attention. Problems such as asbestos, an old boiler that eventually became a serious fire threat and generally crowded conditions became insurmountable. Tax increases were not enough to solve the problems of the old building and the children. Repairing, patching, adding on, remodeling and the like failed to keep up. Talk of a new home came to the front with no opposition.
By September of 1993, the old Delaware County Childrens' Home had become the Youth Opportunity Center which consisted of 8 residential and 2 special needs cottages; each cottage held 12 children. The old building was scheduled for demolition October 25, 1993.
To take a virtual tour of the Delaware County Youth Opportunity Center as it is today: VIRTUAL TOUR
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