Tuttle-Newton Home: Supporting the needs of children and their families

The Means Report

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Originally the Augusta Orphan Asylum until 1915, the Tuttle-Newton Home’s mission changed from that of an orphanage to that of a resource to help children and families in time of need. David Hogg, the president of the Tuttle-Newton Home, shares the history and work of the home, and how you can make an impact on the people they help.

Brad Means: David, thank you for what you do for our community, and we really appreciate you being here with us today.

David Hogg: Brad, thank you, and the Means Report for everything you all do, it’s an honor to be with you today.

Brad Means: You know, David, I was doing some quick research on the Tuttle Newton Home and was quite surprised and impressed to learn that it started in our community back in 1852, basically as an orphanage. Is that what it is today? Does it even remotely resemble what it was when you all started?

David Hogg: Brad, that’s a great question and it has evolved greatly since then, but our history does go back to 1852, at which time we were chartered as the Augusta orphan asylum. And we actually had an orphanage where we had custody of children in 1915. The name was changed to the Tuttle Newton Home to honor two of our primary benefactors, Mr. Isaac Tuttle and his stepson, Dr. George Newton. And then in 1946, the actual orphanage closed, and at that time we transitioned ourselves into a licensed child placing agency. And we’ve been doing that ever since. Two other interesting pieces of our history are that Tuttle Newton Home actually paid the first child welfare worker to come to Augusta. And that was probably back when the orphanage was operating. And then another piece of our history as we actually purchased a home for child enrichment so that they could begin their services in 1978. So we’ve got a long history working with children that need support in our area.

Brad Means: We try to give our viewers a chance, David, to envision what people look like who need the Tuttle Newton Home, who use your services. And I guess the question would be is there a typical client or does it just run the gamut?

David Hogg: It’s a wide range, Brad, and I will tell you that as we’ve evolved, today we are fortunate that we’re able to operate and cover all of our administrative expenses as an organization with resources that we have. We also ask for grants to help go directly to some of the clients that we serve. And so today we really offer a wraparound service to children who need really anything for any type of support that we can offer. And I guess it’s unique to us that we don’t just offer one type of solution. We have our executive director, Emily Boils, who has been with us for 32 years. And she has just a massive amount of experience in working with children to help them get on the right path.

Brad Means: Well, so let me ask you this. I mean are we talking about kids who come in from the streets of Augusta? Is it somebody whose parents just lost their jobs and they don’t have a roof over their head anymore? Is it abused children? Is it all of the above?

David Hogg: It’s all of the above, and I go back to Emily, Emily has a vast network of professionals out there that are working with families. And so the best way for us to describe it is we typically help a family that that would be classified as the working poor. So many times, it’s a single parent situation and they are unable to provide, let’s say tutoring services to a child who’s falling behind in school. And we get referred to that family and we help them with things like tuition and tutoring and things of that nature.

Brad Means: What about emergency shelter? If somebody needs a roof over their head while they’re trying to figure out their school situation and mom and dad, their job situation, can they stay at Tuttle Newton?

David Hogg: We do not provide any type of housing, however, we provide resources to obtain housing. So this goes back to our roots as an orphanage. I mean, I think our objective is to help the child in any way we possibly can. And if we can provide resources to get them the necessary services to move them forward and advance them, that is what we do. And I will tell you, it’s unique to Tuttle Newton, that we are able to follow that child and that family, and that is what Emily does by following up. I mean Emily has done all types of things to help some of these children and families to include making sure that they get up and go to school every day.

Brad Means: Has the pandemic sent a lot more people to your doorstep?

David Hogg: It’s changed some things for us. It’s broadened some of the services that we provide resources for. I will tell you that, like I said, I think there’s a tremendous need out there. I wish we could meet it a hundred percent, but we’re doing the best we can with the resources that we have. But yes, the pandemic has certainly changed the way that we do things, we’ve had to help help people with housing, loss of job, and that sort of thing can totally disrupt the family. And really our charge is the children and is to make sure education is the centerpiece. I mean we want to make sure that they are getting educated and they are in school and we’re providing whatever they need for that to continue.

Brad Means: Do you have a good relationship with DFACS and other agencies or those folks separate from what y’all do?

David Hogg: They are separate from what we do, but we have a great relationship with them, and as I mentioned, as part of our history, we actually paid the first child welfare welfare worker to come to Augusta many, many years ago. And so we, through our network of social workers, we do come into contact with all of the agencies, and, you know, we are able to help with cases as we have availability. And you mentioned the pandemic, that really did change things for us, and we have seen a tremendous increase in need.

Brad Means: You know, I found it encouraging when you talked about the accountability, that’s a part of the services Tuttle Newton provides, making sure those kids are where they’re supposed to be and doing what they’re supposed to do. So my question is how long are they in your system? How long do they have to answer to Emily and her team before y’all can finally say, okay, you’re on your own two feet now, is there an average?

David Hogg: That’s an excellent question, and we actually have a, what we call a short-term situation and a longterm situation. And so our goal is to get into a long-term situation with a family and children, because we can have a greater impact, but that evolve into various things. And Emily in her role serves as another parent or a parent in a lot of cases to these children. And they come back to us after they’ve become independent, gotten an education and gotten out there in the workforce. They come back to us and tell us great stories. And that is the essence of our organization. As a director and someone from the community that’s involved in this organization, it is a great feeling when you see the impact that you’re making on some of these families. So we have some short-term need clients, but we prefer longer term. And we prefer to be in there for the long haul. I mean, we have children that we pay a private school tuition for.

Brad Means: Take a look at the ages of your clients, David, I wonder, is there a limit where somebody would age out of the ability for assistance, the opportunity to get assistance from you all? Cause you say children and education and I picture school aged kids. Can you help people with the college application and entrance process?

David Hogg: We are really more involved with, I would say younger, younger children who are potentially going to have some type of event that occurs that gets them out of the education system or prevents them from getting there. The last thing we want to see is someone drop out. So I think it varies, but I think the core of our clientele would be children from elementary through high school, and college. We’ve got kids that are in college currently. And they will tell you that Emily continues to check on them.

Brad Means: Oh man, I bet they’re grateful for that. I have one more quick question for you and it’s just how we can help you. What can the community do to keep the amazing services that the Tuttle Newton Home provides going strong?

David Hogg: Well, we’ve been real blessed with a lot of great, great history and great trustees, but I would say that we typically rely on support from our trustees. We apply for some local and some statewide grants, but I would just tell you, if there’s a viewer that says, gosh, I’m interested in this, just contact our office and speak with Emily. Our job as trustees of the organization, it’s been around since 1852, our job is to make sure t’s around for another a hundred years and a hundred years after that. So we have to evolve and we have to look at things with an open mind and try to ensure that the organization stays here and continues helping children.

Brad Means: Well, I’m sorry to interrupt you. I know we talked about the difficulty and challenges of Zoom and Skype, and sometimes it makes it tough to cut into somebody’s comments. But David, I think you summed it up beautifully and I can’t thank you and the entire team at Tuttle Newton for what you do for this community. And we do hope we can help you go strong for many years to come.

David Hogg: Thank you, Brad, and thank you again for having us. It’s an honor to be with you today.

Brad Means: Same here, David Hogg, president of the board of directors of the Tuttle Newton home in Augusta.

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The Means Report first aired in January of 2009 offering coverage that you cannot get from a daily newscast. Forget about quick soundbytes -- we deliver an in-depth perspective on the biggest stories. If they are making news on the local or national level, you will find them on the set of The Means Report. Hosted by WJBF NewsChannel 6 anchor, Brad Means, The Means Report covers the topics impacting your life, your town, your state, and your future.