The Children's Home of York was founded in 1865 when area leaders united to care for local children left homeless in the aftermath of the Civil War. For generations "the Home" was simply an orphanage - a haven to thousands of children experiencing difficult times. Although the York community is dramatically different than it was 147 years ago, some things remain the same. Children still experience personal trauma, family problems, abuse, and neglect - and the Children's Home of York continues to be a civically driven community leader with an unwavering commitment to providing support for children in their time of need.

Today's Children's Home is still about helping children... and it's still about home, but their mission, definition, and daily operation has profoundly evolved. Instead of caring for children in an orphanage, today's Children's Home provides trauma-informed care through a variety of community-based programs so that children can learn the skills they need to be a part of a strong, healthy family.

Children's Home of York works to keep families together in their own homes and offers other programs that enable children who are in care to reunify with their families. When reunification is not an option, they help find loving, forever families for boys and girls through foster care and adoption. In addition, they offer Independent Living Skills training for adolescents who are preparing for life on their own.

Their diverse family of programs now includes BRIDGES, a year-round day treatment and school program, which operates directly across the street from where the old orphanage once stood. They developed the Girls' Center and Tindall House Programs, which are trauma-focused residential treatment programs; STRIVE, which is a recovery program for adolescent boys who are addicted to drugs or alcohol; IL at George Street, a home where teen boys learn independent living skills; a community-based Diagnostic Evaluation service that helps people of all ages; SouthEast Treatment and Reentry Team (START), a program that works with teen girls in residential placement through their transition to their home community; and a Permanency Program, which offers a full range of Adoption Services, Specialized and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care, and Kinship Care.

This Children's Home of York also partners with other local agencies to provide innovative programming such as the Family Innovative Supportive Housing (FISH) Program. A collaborative effort between the Children's Home of York, Y Community Development Corporation (YCDC), and the York County Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF), FISH provides housing and support services to families with children who are homeless or near homeless with the goal of preventing children from entering out-of-home placement.

Children's Home of York recently announced their newest project - the York County Strengthening Families Program. Strengthening Families is a FREE program designed to help all families - whether they be single or married parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, foster or adoptive parents or anyone responsible for the care of children aged 10 - 15 years old. Families in the program meet once a week for 7 weeks and begin each evening with a family mea. The program hosts a series of sessions that teach valuable skills to improve the family connection. Through this proven program, parents learn effective ways to show love and set limits, how to remain calm during stressful times, and how to keep their children out of trouble. Pre-teens and teens learn to better appreciate their family, how to deal with peer pressure, and gain an overall better understanding of the importance of following rules. The program also provides free childcare for younger siblings and even gives incentives to award participation.

What was once an orphanage is now a fully licensed and accredited agency that provides a broad continuum of services to improve the lives of children and families for the better. One more thing that hasn't changed over the years is that Children's Home of York continues to succeed because of the collective efforts of their staff, referring agencies, generous contributors, permanency program families, and volunteers that include a dedicated Board of Directors. If you are interested in learning more about the Children's Home of York, visit www.childrenshomeofyork.org -- and for a more in depth introduction to their newest program, watch the Connections video and visit www.yorkcountystrengtheningfamiliesprogram.com.