While the sale of the former United Methodist Children's Home site dominates conversation in Worthington, UMCH Family Services leaders are hoping people don't think they're going away.

While the sale of the former United Methodist Children's Home site dominates conversation in Worthington, UMCH Family Services leaders are hoping people don't think they're going away.

The children's home itself is no longer active, but UMCH Family Services has continued to operate from its facility at 1033 High St., serving families and children in several central Ohio communities. The agency also has a Reynoldsburg office.

In 2014, UMCH Family Services worked with more than 1,000 children, finding foster care and "forever homes" for those in need and working with other families to ensure that their children are able to stay in their homes, according to information from Sean Reilly, executive director.

The sale of UMCH Family Services' 42-acre site in Worthington has been the subject of discussion in recent years. At this point, developer Lifestyle Communities has agreed to purchase the site and showed residents a preliminary plan for a proposed 571-unit mixed-use development in June.

Reilly said that with all of the commotion about the sale, he and others with the organization hope people realize they're not leaving.

"It's really important to us that the community knows that we're alive and well and still operating from this campus and serving more families than ever before, even though we're selling a piece of property," he said.

Rather than leave after the sale, the organization would operate from a building within the new development -- likely in the planned office area.

The sale of the property, he said, would be a major milestone for UMCH, which has been in Worthington for more than 100 years.

"This sale is going to do wonderful things for this organization," he said. "The proceeds will create an investment fund that will allow us to continue for the next 100 years."

Reilly said funds would be invested in technology, staffing and underwriting costs for families who can't pay for the agency's services.

As the organization moves toward a more mobile staff that can branch out in the community, Reilly said, added technology will be more important than ever.

"The reason we can have staff out in the world is because they have access to as much technology as we can give them," he said.

Worthington City Council President Bonnie Michael said she "personally and professionally" supports UMCH Family Services' mission and is happy to have them in Worthington.

"They have been a great community partner for over 100 years," she said. "They've been a very active member of our business community, and we realize that they're currently in transition."

Reilly said that in his four-year tenure, the organization has streamlined its operation, added more access to care for families and worked to forge partnerships with community centers and schools.

He doesn't want that work to go to waste with people thinking UMCH is closing or moving.

"We don't want the sale to be confused with or mistaken for the fact that we're closing," he said. "We are simply selling a piece of property."