Our Story

“I want every stranger
in Buckhorn
to see that cross first,
and, if he is discouraged or sinful,
to know that there is hope for him there.”

Harvey S. Murdoch, Founder of Buckhorn Children & Family Services

Our Story

Where hope is still a shining beacon in the dark.

Since 1902, Buckhorn Children & Family Services (BCFS) has provided help and support—and paths for rebuilding lives—to thousands of troubled children and families across Kentucky. A refuge in the heart of Central Appalachia for nearly 115 years, BCFS fulfills its mission—to provide a sanctuary of health, healing, and hope—by serving hundreds of kids and well over one thousand families each year. From the mom looking to save her child from substance abuse with addiction recovery and self-harm to the teen searching for safety from unimaginable abuse and neglect to the child needing a forever home, BCFS is there.

At its inception, BCFS was built to serve the isolated, mountain community of Buckhorn, Kentucky and consisted of a Christian “college” for grades K-12 called Witherspoon, a Presbyterian church, and an orphanage. This community, extraordinary in its time and location, shaped and radically changed the lives of thousands of Appalachian young people.

Later in its history, BCFS shifted its focus to the care and treatment of Kentucky’s most at-risk kids,

a purpose still in keeping with our founder’s deep desire to help those whose needs are greater than our own.

And now, the need for BCFS is more urgent than ever.

Kentucky has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect deaths in the nation, and recently, the number of Kentucky children removed from homes because of abuse and neglect has reached unprecedented levels.

Buckhorn Children & Family Services
Buckhorn Children & Family Services
Buckhorn Children & Family Services
Buckhorn Children & Family Services
Buckhorn Children & Family Services
Buckhorn Children & Family Services
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Today, as a private, nonprofit agency, BCFS has expanded its reach to other rural and urban areas, providing residential treatment, therapeutic foster care, addiction recovery programs, and in-home family services. Our service array, commitment to best practices, desire to respond to the highly specialized needs of Kentucky youth and adults, knowledge of cultural diversity, and willingness to go the extra mile set us apart from other organizations.

At BCFS, we do not see a “problem child or adult” when we look at these individuals. Instead, we see a child or adult in desperate need of the transformational love and compassion of Christ.

BCFS never gives up on a child, because we know that sometimes, the change our world needs is a child we save.

“Under His wings you will find refuge.”

Psalm 91:4

The kids we receive on our campus come from fragmented families and are often exposed very early in life to drug addiction, domestic violence, and poverty. They come to us as their first experience with residential treatment, and they also come to us after many failed placements. They are challenged with mental disorders, developmental delays, and educational shortfalls. Through the continuum of care offered by BCFS programs, these kids find the much needed safety, structure, guidance, and sense of belonging they need to learn trust, respect, responsibility, and, most of all, hope.

Currently, at BCFS, over 200 of Kentucky’s toughest, most at-risk kids find a community in which to heal and a place to call home.