Who We Are

A History of Hope

Since its founding in 1924, Murphy-Harpst has provided hope and healing for Georgia’s most vulnerable children. Sarah Murphy and Ethel Harpst, two Christian women with similar passions to provide a safe and loving environment to hurting and disadvantaged children, led separate homes in Georgia throughout the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Our Founders

Ethel Harpst

Ethel Harpst

Ethel Harpst arrived in Cedartown, Georgia, in 1914, appointed by the Methodist Women’s Home Missionary Society to do missionary work. During Harpst’s early years in the settlement house, she taught children and adults to read and write, coordinated church services, and cared for the many children in need after one or both of their parents succumbed to typhoid fever, tuberculosis, or influenza. As the number of children needing care continued to grow, Harpst traveled to raise funds to build a larger children’s home. As a result of her fundraising efforts, the Harpst Home was established in 1924 and was able to expand throughout the Great Depression.

Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy

While attending Spelman College, Sarah Murphy had a divine vision to help people from poor, rural hometowns like her own. In the early 1920s she started an independent school in Grady, Georgia, where impoverished Black residents paid 50 cents per month for their children’s education. After Sarah and her husband took in an orphaned newborn and five siblings, another baby was left in a basket, and more children showed up needing a home. The Murphys soon had 18 children to care for with $25 per month. Eventually, they were providing food, clothing, and shelter for approximately 50 children.

100 Years of Care

Over the last 100 years we’ve provided hope and healing to thousands of Georgia’s children. Today we live out the legacy of faith and care established by Ethel Harpst and Sarah Murphy, making room for the most vulnerable children across the state. Learn all about our history of hope and healing.

Residents, 1984


Murphy-Harpst is recognized by some of the most respected and capable organizations in the country for providing advanced, evidence-based care for vulnerable children.

Kiwanis Club of Cedartown
Kiwanis Club of Cedartown
Kiwanis Club of Cedartown
Kiwanis Club of Cedartown
Kiwanis Club of Cedartown


Murphy-Harpst partners with organizations across the state who come alongside us financially, in advocacy, and by providing volunteer support. We could not impact children as well as we do without wonderful partners who support us in so many ways everyday.

United Women of Faith
The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
Kiwanis Club of Cedartown

Meet Our Team

Scott Merritt

President & Chief Executive Officer

Diana Baber

Chief Operating Officer

Kitty Longshore

Chief Financial Officer

Tammy Meeks

Vice President of Human Resources

Scott Fuller

Vice President of Advancement

Cindy Simpson

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Karen Gibson

Director of Residential Services

Tonia Little

Principal, York Academy

Jennifer Eubanks

Director of Nursing Standards

Agnetta Delancy

Director of Specialized Foster Care

Tiffany Thompson

Director of Clinical Services

Dr. Tony Simmons

Director of Spiritual Life

Melodnie Walker

Director of Transitional Living

Jessica Morgan

Director of Recreation Therapy

JoAnn Wright

Dietary Services Manager

Jason Murphy

Admissions Manager

Steve Hicks

Facilities Manager

Ashley Browder- Simmons

Training & Compliance Specialist

Gary MacDonald

Stewardship & Advancement Manager

Karlie Clifton

Director of Corporate & Community Engagement

Our Board

Martha Carroll

Retired School Administrator

The Westminster Schools

Annalisa Bloodworth

Vice President & General Counsel

Oglethorpe Power

Jule Peek, Jr.

Attorney and Partner

McRae, Smith, Peek, Harmon & Monroe

Brad Brown

Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management

Trinity School

Scott Campbell
Vice Chair

Attorney and Partner

Shiver Hamilton, LLC

Rev. Richard Chewning

Elder, North Georgia District

South Georgia Conference, Global Methodist Church

Bruce Elder



Scott Elder

Alston & Bird


Andy Kincheloe

Vice President

Commercial Operations and Strategy

Scott Merritt

President & CEO

Murphy-Harpst Children's Centers

Rev. Dr. Kevin Murriel

Senior Pastor

Cascade United Methodist Church

Gwendolyn Mitchell-Byrd

Telecommunications Executive & Business Strategist

Steve Powell

Owner and Builder

Steve Powell Homes

Linda Young

Retired Education Administrator

The Preschool at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church

Ex-Officio Members

Haejin Ban

National Board Member

United Women in Faith

Deloris Carhee

National Board Member

United Women in Faith

Stephanie Dressler


North Georgia Conference United Women in Faith

Rev. Dr. Beth Sanders

District Superintendent, North West District

North Georgia Conference United Methodist Church

Anita Neal

District President

North West District United Women in Faith

Child feeding a horse

Protecting Children Across Georgia

Murphy-Harpst provides a variety of services across the state of Georgia to protect our most vulnerable children. Find out about all of the different programs that make up the Murphy-Harpst continuum of care.