Frequently asked questions
For several years we’ve witnessed the blessings of God in developing the ministry of New Song Mission. If you have questions about our work, our campus, or how you can help, please review this list of commonly asked questions. If you have more questions, please contact us - we are happy to answer them.
What experience does the administration of New Song Mission have in helping children?
New Song Founders, Bob and Lisa Schloss, have been personally and professionally involved for the last 24 years in helping children who are suffering. During this time they have served in the child welfare system, the courts, on a Child Protection Team, in the schools, and in the administration of a residential youth campus in northern Indiana which cares for up to 160 delinquent teens. In addition, Bob and Lisa were county foster parents for the Office of Family and Children in Whitley and Kosciusko Counties for seven years. These experiences gave the Schlosses an understanding of the pain that children experience due to abandonment, neglect, and poverty.
One of the most important things that the New Song administration has done is bringing in teams of other highly qualified professionals to help develop various aspects of the ministry. This includes a number of individuals who provide encouragement and support in various therapeutic areas involving children, such as child therapists and biblical counselors.
What are some of the statistics in Indiana related to abandoned and impoverished children?
Indiana has a large number of orphaned and fatherless children who are living in poverty. In fact, 35% of Indiana children are currently growing up in single-parent homes without their biological father, and 40% of all newborn babies are born out of wedlock. (Kids Count Data Center, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau) More than 16,000 children in Indiana have neither parent in the home and are living below the federal poverty level. (National Center For Children In Poverty, 2010) The results of living in such situations are very serious for kids:
- Male children born out of wedlock are 10 times more likely to become a chronic juvenile offender if born to an unmarried teen mother (Source: Maternal and Perinatal Risk Factors for Later Delinquency. Pediatrics 99 (1997): 785-790)
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control)
- 70% of youths in state institutions are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Justice, Weed and Seed, 1998)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools)
Abuse and neglect affect thousands of Indiana children, and multiple placements compound the problem:
- Each year in Indiana, about 17,000 children are confirmed to have been abused or neglected, and 12,000 kids live in out-of-home care in state-subsidized placements such as foster homes. Of these 12,000 children, 20% are waiting to be adopted. (Child Welfare League of America)
- One study concluded that 32% of foster care alumni “experienced 8 or more foster care placements throughout their child welfare career.” (The Foster Care Alumni Studies, Casey Family Programs, 2007)
- There is a direct correlation between the number of placements in foster care and troubles later in life such as mental health disorders, homelessness, incarceration, and unemployment. (Casey Family Programs, The Foster Care Alumni Studies, Why Minimize Placement Change? 2007); (Children and Family Resource Center, Instability in Foster Care, 2002); (see also the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, 2009)
Why did New Song choose Brown County?
The amazing landscape and natural beauty of Brown County makes it a wonderful place to raise children. The peaceful setting is an ideal location for kids to experience the healing power of nature, and the rugged terrain allows them to have exciting adventures in their own back yard.
With the beautiful landscape, it’s easy to picture kids playing in the hills, hollers, creeks and woods, fishing in the pond, or riding horses on the trails. The Brown County environment fits kids like a good pair of sneakers.
The ministry’s location in Brown County, between the two relatively affluent and populated communities of Bloomington and Columbus, has proven to be of incredible value. We now have nearly 4,000 supportive friends and volunteers from these and surrounding communities, and New Song has been embraced by many great churches in south-central Indiana and in other parts of the state.
In addition, Brown County is a great place for a children’s home ministry due to all of the creative, artistic folks in the community. It is very fun and therapeutic for kids to work with their hands, learning how to spin a pottery wheel or making something special out of wood. We will invite local artists to come out as volunteers and teach the children. Through sharing their talents they may help heal a child. Learn how you can help support New Song with your time and talents.
What type of children live at New Song?
As a privately funded ministry, New Song Mission cares for fatherless, neglected, and impoverished boys and girls from Indiana whose parents or caregivers are unable to raise them due to the parent or caregiver’s death, imprisonment, abandonment, or significant physical, psychological, emotional, or other debilitative issues. Many of these kids are fatherless and have significant educational needs. Children generally come to New Song between the ages of 5-15 years old, and the majority come to us from south-central and central Indiana.
How will children come to live at New Song?
Children will come to New Song with the voluntary consent of their parents, grandparents, or guardians. Children and families are referred to New Song from school teachers, counselors, pastors, medical professionals, social service agencies, and other sources. If children need help beyond the scope of what New Song can offer, the family will be provided a list of other reputable nonprofit organizations that may be able to help. There are a series of steps involved in the enrollment process in order to ascertain whether New Song is a good fit for an individual child.
How long will the children stay and how will their caregivers be involved?
Children will come to New Song generally between the ages of 5-15 and will be offered care, love, and guidance until they transition into college, a trade school, or a career. We strive to offer kids good, affirming, successful experiences so that they will feel at home and want to remain with us until they complete high school. We ask parents, grandparents, and guardians to place children with New Song for a minimum of one year, and we share that normally it’s best that the children grow up on campus until they are 18 or 19 years old. Some of the kids will return to the home of their parents or grandparents before high school graduation, and we will help the children with this transition. New Song encourages parents and grandparents to maintain a good relationship with the kids while they are in our care through phone calls, letters, and home visits, when appropriate.
Are there similar places to New Song?
There are many successful children’s home campuses throughout the country which New Song is modeled after. For a list of a few of these children’s homes, please contact us. New Song administrators have traveled to children’s homes in Oklahoma, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida, touring the facilities and talking with houseparents, administrators, and children. Like New Song, most of these ministries educate the kids on site, mainly because many of the kids are academically behind and in need of more individual help with their school work.
What are the New Song homes like?
Designed by Nashville resident and architects, Dave Kreie and Michael Chamblee, the 5,000 square foot homes are beautiful, country-style homes with big front porches and walk-out basements. Up to 8 kids can live in each home, with full-time house moms and dads caring for the children and youth.
What are the houseparent qualifications?
The supervision of the children is obviously very important to us for the safety and well being of the kids. Like normal families, the house moms and dads will be directly responsible for taking care of the kids, providing them with the love and guidance they need in order to grow into mature, responsible adults.
Houseparents are at the heart of the ministry. Before they are hired, houseparents undergo an extensive application process, including background checks, reference checks, and personal interviews. In addition, they must show that they are naturally gentle and loving people, that they have a high degree of patience, and that they can provide the structure that kids need. Some will be college educated, while others will have had great life experiences that have helped prepare them for houseparenting. In addition, houseparents complete a specialized, comprehensive houseparent training program before they begin caring for kids, as well as ongoing in-service training thereafter. Learn more about houseparenting at New Song.
How did you develop the master site plan?
All of the people who were involved in creating the master site plan are experts who have volunteered their professional services. These folks—civil engineers, architects, surveyors, landscapers, and builders—have donated several hundred hours of their combined time toward creating the site layout and the home design.
The master site plan was created with kids and families in mind. We tried to think of what would make for a happy, healthy, exciting environment for children, and considered this throughout the site planning process. In fact, a group of 15-20 young teens were interviewed during the site planning process to get their input. It was a great process and they had some very good ideas.
How are the kids educated?
Highly qualified educators teach the New Song kids in classrooms that are located in each of the homes. Eventually New Song students will be educated in a multi-purpose educational center that will be constructed on campus. Teachers will follow Indiana state standards for Math, Language Arts and Science classes, using our state’s Scope and Sequence for guidance. In addition, we will offer courses in the arts, drawing on some of Brown County’s creative residents to teach the kids painting, pottery, woodworking, and music. We hope to be able to provide work experiences for children in the area of raising livestock or participating in growing crops on nearby farms.
Is the Brown County community involved?
Several people from Brown County were involved in the designing of the campus and homes, and many more have helped with construction. Eight Brown County pastors have given us feedback and advice and endorsed the ministry in its early stages of development. New Song Founders, Bob and Lisa Schloss, have attended several Brown County churches, and many of the churches have been very supportive. Folks from Brown County provide regular volunteer assistance on campus.
Will the New Song kids be involved in the local community?
We hope to have our kids involved in community activities like 4H, Little League baseball, and local soccer leagues. Older kids will also help out in the community with Habitat for Humanity or by helping elderly neighbors with yard work. On Sundays, families choose their own church to attend in Brown County or in one of the surrounding communities. Interaction with the community is very important and healthy for kids because it helps them grow and mature, and so we seek to engage our kids in whatever community activities we can.
What is the religious background of the organization?
New Song Mission is a non profit, Christ-centered, non denominational ministry. The ministry is administered by a strong Board of Directors, all of whom are Christians who have had leadership experience in the areas of business ownership, education, pastoring churches, and financial oversight. New Song has several dozen supportive churches from different denominations, and many non-denominational churches as well. People from numerous churches and denominations are responding to the call of Christ Jesus to care for children who are suffering. We think it’s wonderful that folks are laying aside denominational barriers to unite over the cause of helping the weak and vulnerable children living in our communities.
How is New Song financed?
The ministry of New Song operates solely through the generous and sacrificial contributions of those who care about children. About 80% of our resources, including gifts of cash, services, or materials, come through gifts from individuals. Around 10% of our support comes from churches, while the other 10% comes from businesses, civic groups, and foundations. As a 501(c)(3) organization, all donations are tax deductible. We do not receive government funds.