Children's Home Society of Minnesota was established in 1889 to provide homes for children who had none. More than 110 years later, Children's Home Society of Minnesota is the largest statewide nonprofit, nonsectarian provider of services for children and their families in Minnesota. Committed to advocating for children, the agency identifies areas of greatest need for children, youth and families, and works in partnership with the community to meet those needs.
Children's Home Society of Minnesota was founded as part of a nationwide movement to get orphaned children out of institutions into loving families. Recognizing that orphanages were not a solution to the problem of homeless children, leaders in child welfare created a system to empty the institutions and find parents for these children. Their work began in New York and spread to Minnesota through the efforts of Reverend E.P. Savage.
Reverend Savage enlisted the support of religious and civic leaders throughout the state. He established an organization to house children temporarily until permanent, adoptive homes were found for them. Dr. Cyrus Northrup, President of the University of Minnesota, was chosen to head the new organization. First named the Children's Aid Society, it later became Children's Home Society of Minnesota and today is named Children's Home Society of Minnesota.
During its first 50 years, the agency's leaders instituted new methods of care for homeless children. They built important safeguards into the adoption process to protect children and assist parents, including selected intake, medical care, intensive home studies and thorough record keeping.
As adoption flourished, the agency expanded to keep pace. In the 1940s, when the need for institutional care of older children declined, the state assumed responsibility for housing homeless children through the use of temporary foster homes. Children's Home Society of Minnesota worked with the state to move the children out of foster homes and into permanent families.
In the late 1960s, the agency broadened the scope of its services to children and families. A highly respected, well-established adoption program provided the foundation for growth in pregnancy counseling, residential treatment, international adoption, and post adoption counseling and education. Children's Home Society of Minnesota developed a continuum of care to help children of all ages with a broad spectrum of needs. These programs focused in particular on the needs of those considered at risk - abused and neglected children, teenage mothers and their children, and adolescents in conflict with their parents and the society around them.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Children's Home Society of Minnesota continued to meet the need for new and innovative services. The agency developed comprehensive child care centers and family life education services, a teenage pregnancy prevention project in the schools, a day shelter for underprivileged inner-city school children, a 24 hour crisis nursery program to prevent child abuse, therapeutic services for older children in foster care, and weekly support groups for unmarried teenage mothers.
The 1990s presented another period of change for the agency. What began as a small adoption center in St. Paul has become one of the largest child and family service agencies in the country. Children's Home Society now concentrates on three core service areas. They are:
Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Services, including six Crisis Nursery sites that service Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Isanti, Ramsey, Washington and Wright Counties, based on a volunteer shelter home model, the Family Mentor Program, and parent education and support. – less–ZoomInfo