The Children's Aid Society
My favorite song in the world: "They help me with my homework when I'm stuck, they help me when I'm down and out of luck...blah, blah....I'M REALLY GLAD THEY MADE THE CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY"
The Children's Aid Society is a lifeline and a safe haven to New York City's children and families most in need of assistance. We carry out our mission through a broad range of essential health, education and social services. Click here to learn more about the objectives of The Children's Aid Society.
The Children's Aid Society, founded in 1853, serves more than 150,000 children and their families each year, often helping them overcome tremendous odds. Our network of more than 100 cutting-edge programs and services provided at over 40 sites in and around New York City supplies a full spectrum of support. Our nationally recognized programs are models of social service practice and have impacted national child welfare policy.
2 March 1853, New York Daily Times, pg. 4:
A New Thing.
The circular of the Children's Aid Society will be found in another column, and we desire to call especial attention to it.
Into what channel good people might pour their beneficences, and have them reach these peculiarly needy ones, it was not known. We think that this new Association is the desideratum. It proposes to establish, in sundry parts of the City, religious meetings, of the same order as the Boys' Meetings, now for some years in existence, and whose good results are already recognized by the most faithless that have given them any attention.
2 March 1853, New York Daily Times, pg. 8:
To the Public - Children's Aid Society.
This Society has taken its origin in the deeply settled feeling of our citizens, that something must be done to meet the increasing crime and poverty among the destitute children of New-York. Its objects are to help this class, by opening Sunday Meetings and Industrial Schools, and, gradually, as means shall be furnished, by forming lodging-houses and reading-rooms for children, and by employing paid agents, whose sole business shall be, to care for them.
As Christian men, we cannot look upon this great multitude of unhappy, deserted, and degraded boys and girls, without feeling our responsibility to God for them. We remember that they have the same capacities, the same need of kind and good influences, and the same Immortality, as the little ones in our own homes. We bear in mind that One died for them, even as for the children of the rich and happy. Thus far, alms-houses and prisons have done little to affect the evil. But a small part of the vagrant population can be shut up in our Asylums; and judges and magistrates are reluctant to convict children, so young and ignorant, that they hardly seem able to distinguish good and evil. The class increases. Immigration is pouring in its multitudes of poor foreigners, who leave these young outcasts everywhere abandoned in our midst. For the most part, the boys grow up utterly by themselves. No one cares for them, and they car for no one. Some live by begging, by petty pilfering, by bold robbery. Some earn an honest support by peddling matches, or apples, or newspapers. Others gather bones and rags in the streets to sell. They sleep on steps, in cellars, in old barns, and in markets: or they hire a bed in filthy and low lodging houses. They cannot read. They do not go to school, or attend a church. Many of them have never seen th Bible. Every cunning faculty is intensely stimulated. They are shrewd and old in vice, when other children are in leading-strings. Few influences, which are kind and good, ever reach the vagrant boy. And yet among themselves they show generous and honest traits. Kindness can always touch them. The girls, too often, grow up even more pitiable and deserted. Till of late, no one has ever cared for them. They are the cross-walk sweepers, the little apple-peddlers, and candy-sellers of our City; or by more questionable means, they earn their scanty bread. They traverse the low, vile streets alone, and live without mother or friends, or any share in what we should call home, They, also, know little of God or Christ, except by name. They grow up passionate, ungoverned; with no love or kindness ever to soften the heart. We all know their short, wild life; and the sad end.
These boys and girls, it should be remembered, will soon form the great lower class of our City. They will influence elections; they may shape the policy of the City; they will, assuredly, if unreclaimed, poison society all around them. They will help to form the great multitude of robbers, thieves, vagrants and prostitutes, who are now such a burden upon the law-respecting community.
In one Ward alone of the City, the Eleventh, there were in 1852, out of 12,000 children between the ages of five and sixteen, only 7,000 who attended school, and only 2,500 who went to Sabbath School; leaving 5,000 without the common privileges of education, and about 9,000 destitute of public religious influence.
In view of these evils, we have formed an Association, which shall devote itself entirely to this class of vagrant children. We do not propose in any way to conflict with existing Asylums and Institutions, but to render them a hearty cooperation, and, at the same time, to fill a gap, which of necessity, they have all left. A large multitude of children live in the city, who cannot be placed in Asylums, and yet who are uncared for and ignorant and vagrant. We propose to give to these, Work: and to bring them under religious influences. A Central Office has been taken, and an Agent, CHARLES L. BRACE, has been engaged to give his whole time to efforts for relieving the wants of this class. As means shall come in, it is designed to district the city, so that hereafter every Ward may have its agent, who shall be a friend to the vagrant child. "Boys' Sunday Meetings," have already been formed, which we hope to see extended, until every quarter has its place of preaching to boys. With these we intend to connect "Industrial Schools," where the great temptations to this class, arising from want of work, may be removed; and where they can learn an honest trade. Arrangements have been made with manufacturers, by which if we have the requisite friends to begin, five hundred boys in different localities, can be supplied with paying work. We hope, too, especially to be the means of draining the City of these children, by communicating with farmers, manufacturers, or families in the country, who may have need of such for employment. When homeless boys are found by our agents, we mean to get them homes in the families of respectable, needy persons in the City, and to put them in the way of an honest living. We design, in a word, to bring humane and kindly influences to bear on this forsaken class - to preach in various modes the GOSPEL OF CHRIST to the vagrant children of New-York.
Numbers of our citizens have long felt the evils we would remedy, but few have the leisure or the means to devote themselves personally to this work, with the thoroughness which it requires. This Society, as we propose, shall be a medium, through which all can in their measure, practically help the poor children of the City.
We call upon all, who recognizes that these are the little ones of Christ - all who believe that crime is best averted by sowing good influences in childhood - al who are the friends of the helpless, to aid us in our enterprise.
We confidently hope this wide and practical movement will have its full share of Christian liberality. And we earnestly ask the contributions of those able to give, to help us in carrying forward the work.
Subscriptions will be gladly received by the Cashier of the Metropolitan Bank, at RANDOLPH's Boot Store, No. 683 Broadway, or by either of the undersigned...
Office, No. 683 Broadway, corner of Amity street, second floor. (After the first of May, in the new Bible House.) - MARCH, 1853.