Missional Strategies: Children's Home Binghamton, NY

Missional Strategies: Children's Home Binghamton, NY


Most of us assume that safety for children is a given right. That is not always true. At the Children’s Home in Binghamton, NY we offer safe environments and opportunities to help children and families learn and develop skills they can apply to give them that safety. Using a strength-based family centered approach, we work on enhancing the safety, stability, and well-being of every child.

The Children’s Home was begun in 1912 by the Deaconesses of the Wyoming Annual Conference, serving needy and abandoned children and their families. In 1918, after outgrowing their original facilities, the Children’s Home moved to its present site in Hillcrest, New York. In the 1960s we became licensed by the Department of Social Services to become a residential treatment facility for children with emotional and mental disorders.

We are currently licensed by the Department of Social Services, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York Statement Department of Education and Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. During this past fiscal year, the Children’s Home was re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation. This is important and significant as it demonstrates our commitment to the highest professional standards of care. The accreditation process is long and arduous and nothing is taken for granted.

Over the years we have undergone many changes including becoming licensed to serve children referred by local departments of social services and school districts. Our funding sources are largely through state and local government contracts. In the past decade public policy has shifted away from caring for children in larger institutional settings to smaller settings. The Children’s Home has adapted to that model.

Today, the Children’s Home provides a continuum of daily care for approximately 500 children in residential and foster care as well as children living at home with family members, through 15 programs and additional support of educational, medical, religious and recreational services.

  • Residential living center
  • Preventive and after-school  programs
  • K-12 NYS accredited school on Hillcrest Campus
  • Therapeutic recreation including a full Wilderness Adventure Program
  • Family support programs and conferences
  • Almost 300 staff includes: board certified psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychologists, on-site health services, certified Special-Education teachers, master’s level social workers, family life specialists, spiritual life director.
  • Opportunities for residents to volunteer in the community
  • Opportunities for community members to volunteer

For children with social or emotional disturbances, structured age-appropriate treatment, living, learning, and recreation programs are offered on the main campus, in group homes, and in supervised independent living apartments. Children and young people are given the opportunity to master the skills of daily living and reunite with their families, to live with foster families, become adopted, or move on to live on their own.

How to Become Involved:

  • Be a “Friend to a Child” mentor who meets regularly with a child.
  • Be an assistant in a classroom, or a recreational assistant.
  • Be a tutor for reading, math or music.
  • “Adopt” a program and become part of an extended family to a group home or cottage.
  • Talk with us about your group doing a special project.
  • Collect labels from Campbell’s products for our school.  Go to the website www.labelsforeducation.com and follow the instructions.
  • Join the Greeting Card Club.  Send children cards every month.
  • Hold a fundraiser on the Children’s Home’s behalf.
  • Join in our Holiday Giving Program
  • Sponsor a child, general gifts, or stocking stuffers.
  • Collect items for Welcome Baskets or Incentive Store. Go to our website (www.chowc.org) for lists of items needed.

One of the most important questions in life for any child (whether or not they are in our care) is the question of “Who Am I?” It is especially poignant for us to help the kids in our care to develop their own sense of identity along with a sense of security and belonging. We do this through positive interactions with peers, at school, in residential/home life and through the many activities we provide at the Children’s Home locations and within our own community.

Our volunteer opportunities provide ample ways to help shape a child’s identity while helping us carry out our mission of enhancing the safety, stability and well-being of the children, families and communities we serve.  Please see the side box for a way you can become involved.  We are greatly appreciative of the faithfulness of the many individuals, Women’s groups, Sunday Schools and churches that have supported us over the years not only at the holidays, but also on a monthly basis..

The Children’s Home preventive programs, including day treatment, after-school programs, and a home visitation program, are designed to provide a comprehensive array of services for families and children. The programs are designed to strengthen families, improve parent-child interaction, promote self-sufficiency, and help raise healthy children through the provision of services by our program staff. The after-school programs are highly effective in keeping children connected to their families and communities. As the state and counties move away from placement in residential settings, our agency is seeing the focus on preventive and community-based services expand.

As the need for preventive services increases, the rates have not, leaving a financial gap and budget shortfall in programs where demand is high. In an effort to continue to provide the best possible services for the populations we serve, we endeavor to meet these challenges. We are positioned to weather financial challenges through long term budget planning, our continuum of care that addresses needs for children in residential, foster care and preventive services and careful use of our resources. We will maintain the staff needed for health and safety. We have stayed in business for over 100 years, and are positioned to stay a viable source, and in some cases the only source, of treatment for children and families in Broome and surrounding counties.

All funds received from individuals, churches, corporations and foundations enable us to bridge the gap between the contracted rates received from the state and county and what it takes to run successful programs.

Contributing to this article: Arna B. O'Neill Sr. Administrative Assistant Office of Community & Donor Relations