Family & Children’s Center is a non-profit human services agency that has been building strong families and healthy children in St. Joseph County since our founding in 1882. We are dedicated to strengthening the holistic health of the young families through Healthy Families, Brain Train, and parenting programs. Our mission is to build strong families and healthy children.
Family & Children's Center's present structure as an affiliation of nonprofit organizations began taking shape in the 1980s. In 1987, Family & Children's Center reorganized into separate corporations, with Family & Children's Center Inc. serving as the parent organization.
In the early 1970s, Family & Children's Center's focus evolved from the custodial care of previous decades to more specialized casework and treatment within a continuum of care philosophy.
In the early 1960s, out-of-home care for children was taking on a different character. More and more children were being placed with Family & Children's Center as a result of behavior and emotional problems.
The second half of the 20th century brought more organizational changes and the first use of the Family & Children's Center name. In 1956, the Children's Aid Society merged with Family Services of St. Joseph County and two years later, in 1958, adopted the name Family & Children's Center, Inc.
The home reorganized as the Children's Aid Society of Indiana. Through generous donations, the Society was able to purchase 16 acres of land at the corner of Lincoln Way and Logan streets in Mishawaka.
The local chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union founded the Orphan's Home Association of St. Joseph County. The home provided temporary shelter to orphaned or unwanted children while suitable permanent homes were being sought for them. The Orphan's Home provided care for children who arrived from cities on the East Coast on "orphan trains." During its first 18 months, the home served more than 80 children.
In 1884, the home became part of a state network and became known as the Northern Indiana Orphans Home, serving six counties in northern Indiana.