Children’s Home & Aid partners with children, youth and families whose potential is at risk to create hope, opportunity, and bright futures.
All children, youth and families thrive in strong communities.
Serving Children And Families Since 1883
Reverend Martin Van Buren Van Arsdale, a Presbyterian minister, stepped to his pulpit in a small town near Vandalia, Illinois and preached about rescuing neglected children in 1883.
That day, Reverend Van Arsdale and his wife, Isabella, brought a young girl into their home to care for her because her mother was in crisis and unable to provide for her needs. This marked the beginning of what is today known as Children’s Home & Aid.
Initially, Reverend and Isabella Van Arsdale housed the children in their own home while they located suitable placements. However, as he traveled around the state explaining his work, Rev. Van Arsdale began to organize local advisory boards in each community where a child was placed. During the first year, 52 children were placed and 52 advisory boards were established. These advisory boards became the future Children’s Home & Aid regional boards and auxiliaries that continue to carry his legacy forward today.
There is a home in a good family for every homeless child and woe to me if I do not find it.
– Reverend Van Arsdale, founder of Children’s Home & Aid
Children’s Home & Aid remains committed to improving the lives of children and families throughout Illinois. As a leading social service agency, Children’s Home & Aid serves nearly 40,000 children and families in need each year. It delivers over 70 social service programs throughout 40 Illinois counties. Although it has grown significantly over the years, Children’s Home & Aid remains dedicated to Rev. Van Arsdale’s idea that all children should grow up in an atmosphere of love and stability, and should be helped to reach their full potential.
Since 1883, Children’s Home & Aid has been a leader in responding to the changing needs of disadvantaged children and families in Illinois. For more than 135 years, Children’s Home & Aid has paved the way by establishing best practices and shaping laws in child welfare, early childhood and juvenile justice. Today, Children’s Home & Aid is recognized as a leading provider of quality programs and services to children and families in need.
A Short Video History