Taunton Family Children's Home
“Change a Child from the Inside Out”, a quote from the founder of the Taunton Family Children’s Home, Judge David Taunton precisely describes the philosophy of this haven for children in need.
A one in a million kind of place, the Taunton Family Children’s Home
Editorial by Patti Jewel
We visited this lovely and loving family community when traveling through this small town of Wewahitchka, Florida. Abigail Taunton graciously invited us to meet their family and see their home, learn their mission, and discover how they are changing the lives of children through love and support.
The Taunton Family Children’s Home is a haven for children who have no where else to turn. Abigail Taunton told us stories of parents who handed over their legal rights and walked away because they couldn’t manage their own lives. Rather than put the children through court and in and out of foster homes, the Taunton Family Children’s Home gives these kids another option and a chance at changing their own lives and living to their fullest potential.
The Taunton Home takes in children from anywhere and of all ages, races, and situations, and in many cases, becomes their full legal guardians. Some children stay only a short time while others grow up in the family community. The community is a large property with several houses, activity center, large lake, pool, playground and lots of space that provides a safe and happy environment. Each child is placed in a home with house parents, some of whom have been with the Taunton family for decades and have raised and changed the lives of countless children. These house parents devote their lives to the growth and well-being of their children. And the outcome shows in the bright futures of these kids and their success stories. With over 400 children who have been part of this family community, success stories are abundant. And these kids come back and support future generations which is a testament to the success.
While the story started with David Taunton who had a dream, big heart and a helpful nature, and whose wife, Abigail, shared all of those traits, the story now continues with Abby who is the soul of the family. While David passed away in 2019 and is sorely missed by all, his spirit lives on in this family and their mission. Abby now keeps the Children’s Home going strong with lots of support from those who are part of the family, from community members, and others who offer physical and financial support. You can help support the Taunton Family Children’s Home and these children, by visiting their website. And if you know of a child in need of a home, contact them to see how they can help.
Summer Camps and Retreats
The Taunton Family Children’s Home opens its doors for summer camps to come and spend some good times and outdoor fun in their community. They have several dorms and houses devoted to campers.
The main house offers a commercial kitchen and dining area and can accommodate 40 people. Additional cabins are available for larger or smaller groups.
It is also an ideal place for a meeting, conference, mission trip, Christian retreat and life events. Book early as the home and grounds are available on a limited basis.
The Lake & Grounds
If you look at the home on Google Earth, you will see a big bright blue lake that almost seems unreal and manufactured, like a water park.
But the bright blue color actually comes from digging deep enough to the layer of pure white sand that lies below. The family sells the sand to help support the home and the sand has helped restore some of the areas beaches. This lake has become a highlight of the grounds. Water activities and a huge water slide provide endless hours of fun. And there are mountains of white sandy beaches to play in and beach volleyball courts.
The grounds also include a large playground and lots of room for playing or exploring areas such as Robert’s Slough that runs along side the property and is great for fishing and canoeing. There is also a full size gym with basketball hoops and an open court for all kinds of indoor activities.
While it looks like a perfect place to play and have fun, it is not all just fun and games. The Taunton Family Children’s Home teaches children responsibility and self-discipline. Their primary goal is to help each child become the best person possible by taking ownership of their lives, their actions and their futures through guidance, mutual respect, kindness and love.
I was personally moved when Abby told me their philosophy about new children who they take in. When a child is brought to them, they don’t want to know all of the “bad” things the child has done, only the things that might be harmful to the child. Each child is welcomed with a clean slate. They accept the child as who they are the day the come to them and only care about what they do moving forward. The child’s past does not define them. What they can do with their future will. And the Taunton Family Children’s Home is the anchor that these children need to have the stability and support of a community that accepts them, treats them like family, and allows them to choose their best path in life and live up to their full potential.