We advance the well-being of children by investing in families to disrupt the systemic and multi-generational cycle of racial, social and economic inequality.
We envision an equitable world where all children and families thrive in strong communities.
Values (Our SCOPE)
- Strong Families: Family, in all forms, is the most important asset for child well-being.
- Community: Thriving families are part of a larger system of social supports which must be just, equitable and accessible.
- Opportunity: All children should thrive and opportunity should not be predicted by race or zip code.
- Partnership: All families have strengths, and our role is to partner with them as coaches, mentors and advocates to build on those strengths.
- Equity: Equity is foundational to our work, and we seek to disrupt and transform inequitable institutional systems so that people of all races, abilities, communities and identities have equal access to the resources necessary to thrive.
Children’s Home & Aid engages with nearly 30,000 children, youth and families each year in over 65 counties across Illinois, linking them to a network of resources. We are in the places where it’s proven to be the most effective: at home, in the classroom, and in the community. We are an agency that puts families at the center of every decision and believe that communities where we all work, play and live together can be strengthened through data-informed, collaborative and preventative solutions.
Our services include child welfare, counseling and treatment programs to parenting supports, childcare and early education. These services are individualized supports designed to address racism, equity, economic mobility and other potential barriers. Our focus is on the family, therefore our programs are designed to put their needs first so that they, and their communities, thrive.
Children’s Home & Aid was started in 1883 by Reverend Martin Van Buren Van Arsdale with the goal of helping all children to grow up in an atmosphere of love and stability. Since then, tens of thousands of children—when it was deemed their parents could not care for them—found homes directly due to the efforts of our organization and its committed partners.
Children’s Home & Aid helped create what is known as the modern public child welfare system. This system established, in part, foster care as the modern remedy for children whose families of origin could not safely care for and nurture them. We have shaped— for the better—the lives of many children and families over the span of 138 years with an unyielding commitment to serving the most vulnerable among us.
Our evolution as an organization has informed our mission and vision through the decades and now drives our contemporary aspiration to see every child, every family and every community thriving.
As we build upon the legacy of Children’s Home & Aid and look to the next chapter of our agency’s story, we recognize that foster care is no longer the right solution for today’s problems. The foster care system has disproportionately impacted families of color—transforming solvable challenges faced by families into life-altering crises from which too few emerge better off than when they entered.
Families understand what they need most. We are listening and are committed to addressing these challenges alongside the families of Illinois. Children’s Home & Aid is uniquely poised to help end the contemporary threat to child well-being that we helped create. We have a history of pushing boundaries, transforming systems and improving practice. This is a part of our DNA. We guide our strategies through research and intentional collaboration. By continually examining our work from different perspectives and having a growth mindset, we are open to adaptation and able to innovate more effective ways for solving today’s complex social issues.
There is hard work ahead as we strive to build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive future for Children’s Home & Aid and for the communities we serve, but that will not deter us from our goal. Throughout this process, we pledge to confront shortcomings, be transparent, and remain steadfast in our pursuit of bold change so that all children, youth, and families have the same opportunities for reaching their full potential.
To learn more about our organization’s impact, beliefs and approach, download Children’s Home & Aid’s Blueprint for Impact: Living our Values.
Our Strategic Plan
Our strategic plan, rooted in the guideposts of our Blueprint for Impact, centers everything we do around an intentional focus on prevention, family well-being and strengthening and a focus on racial and social equity. This is our pathway to creating brighter futures and opportunities for children and families to thrive.