Home for abused and neglected children opens in Harrisburg

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HARRISBURG - A charity group opened the doors to its newest children's home Sunday in Harrisburg.

The Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home facility includes five homes that house children who have been removed from their living situations due to abuse or neglect. The organization celebrated the opening of its fifth home with a ribbon cutting ceremony and housewarming party Sunday afternoon.

"It helps take the lives of these kids, you know, who didn't start out very well and it helps get them a better ending," founder Larry McDaniel said. "I often tell these kids I cant go back in time and get you a new beginning but we can do is work together and get you a new ending."

McDaniel founded the organization in 1991 with his late wife Cathy. Up to eight children will move into the new home.

"They're put in a home setting with a home-parent, mom and dad and their kids, and they get to live out what is a functional family experience and live in a functional family environment," McDaniel said. He said forming relationships is the in first step for kids needing to make changes in their lives.

"The challenge is it's really a 24/7 proposition," McDaniel said.  "Normally when you're raising your children you have, you've raised them since birth and you have relationships with them. In a setting like this the home parents have to work very hard to try and develop those relationships."

Brian and Mandy Wallace moved from Springfield with their three children to take on the role as House Parents.

"I think it'll be a challenge, but we're always excited for a challenge," Mandy Wallace said. "We've been through a lot. We're ready."

"We went through a pretty length interview and background process," Brian Wallace said. "It's a well thought out interview process. They do an excellent job of making sure whoever is going to be in the house is well-qualified."

The children who will move into the new facility did not attend Sunday's celebration. Once they move in, there is no set time limit for them to stay. McDaniel said the organization works hard to keep siblings together and tailor the care to each child specifically.

"We help them get all the way through high school and off to college, trade school, career, military, whatever it is they want to do. We help them get headed in that direction," McDaniel said.

McDaniel said he expected them to move in over the next few weeks.