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Our mission is to work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.
Behind this mission lie three core beliefs: First, all children and youth need connections to adults, preferably family members, who believe in them and will remain connected throughout their lives. Second, education, appropriate social behavior, and job skills are essential to functioning independently in society. And third, everyone has strengths and the desire to make his or her life happy and fulfilling; with support and the tools to overcome obstacles, most can and will succeed.
In 1851, a group of philanthropists concerned about the growing problem of homeless immigrant children living on the streets of Manhattan founded The New York Juvenile Asylum. This institution cared for more than 1,000 boys and girls, providing housing, education and work skills. Admission statistics over the years mirror the waves of immigration to the United States. By the turn of the century, the organization’s property in Washington Heights, which had been purchased for $33,000 in 1854, had risen in value to more than a million dollars. The Board of Directors made the decision to sell this property and purchase a 277-acre farm in Dobbs Ferry, NY to build one of the first therapeutic communities in the United States. The new site was designed to create a home-like environment with cottages grouped in neighborhoods and a central quad for academics, work and recreation. The design won a gold medal for architecture at the 1906 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The move to Dobbs Ferry heralded new ideas about the care and treatment of children. The number of children was reduced to 300 and the method of care was modeled on family life, with married couples and matrons living with the children. To reflect this new era, the name was changed to The Children’s Village. In 1927 The Children’s Village became the first residential treatment center in the country to establish a psychiatric clinic on its campus. During the 20s the Village also started the first national social work training school, which eventually became part of the New York School of Social Work. Today, The Children’s Village continues to operate a residential school on approximately 180 acres of the original site. But at the same time, CV has greatly expanded its services to children and families throughout the New York metropolitan area. Programs include an achievement-focused residential school for children from 6 to 18 years of age, a shelter for immigrant youth, a runaway and homeless shelter, adoption and foster boarding homes, group homes, street outreach, a drop-in center for out-of-school youth, and numerous programs that provide support to families struggling with emotionally troubled children and teenagers.
- Lisa M Gill, Ph.D.
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