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We can each make a difference.

We support those who do.

For more than 100 years, the Wilmington Trust corporate family has been privileged to work with, and support, individuals and organizations committed to providing quality of life and opportunity to all members of our communities. In our second century of serving clients, our commitment to improving the lives of our neighbors remains steadfast. We are proud to support and join in celebrating the 125 th Anniversary of Children and Families First

Š 2009 Wilmington Trust Corporation.

Foreword Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected president . . . Construction began on Chicago’s first skyscraper–10 stories . . .Susan B. Anthony addressed the House Judiciary Committee, arguing for a Constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote . . . Ringling Brothers Circus premiered . . . Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented “flaked cereal” . . . Alaska became a U.S. territory . . . In the first fight with boxing gloves, Jack Dempsey won the middleweight title . . .

The year was 1884, and the U. S. continued to struggle with the lingering effects of the Panic of 1873, an economic disaster that produced at least one positive result: the growth of charitable organizations. Locally, three organizations–The Friends Benevolent Society, The Provident Society, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society– combined to form the Associated Charities of Wilmington. Their purpose: “To insure that all who have fallen into distress and are willing to work, shall be wisely helped to regain selfsupport, and those who are involuntarily in need of support shall be promptly relieved.” The next year, Associated Charities incorporated, opened an office on East 7th Street, and, despite protestations from many citizens who thought it “unchristian” to pay someone to do charitable work, hired John Massey as superintendent at the princely salary of $1,000. From that tiny acorn sprouted a giant oak. Through various mergers with other charitable organizations over the past 125 years, that oak has become Children & Families First – a non-profit social services agency whose branches have touched every corner of Delaware, improving the lives of those in need.

Celebrating 125 Years

Throughout the First State, Children & Families First fulfills its mission to help families develop solutions to meet challenges and embrace opportunities. Services are offered to help individuals across their lifespan and include parent and provider education, workplace services, elder services, foster care, adoption, home–based counseling, programs to prevent teen pregnancy, a residential treatment center for teens and programs that work with at–risk pregnant women to ensure healthy babies.

This book celebrates the 125th anniversary of Children & Families First. But more to the point, it celebrates the people who have made the agency the success it is today. In these pages, along with significant dates in our history, you will find observations and memories from many of those who have been associated with C&FF. Their passion, enthusiasm, and empathy are the driving forces behind our work, and we are indebted to all of them. Foreword by Bob Yearick


2 photo by Elisa Komins Morris

photo by Joe del Tufo

Leslie Newman Ellen Levin

“One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” –Chinese Proverb


ith strong roots in the late 19th century and sturdy branches extending into the 21st century and beyond, Children & Families First has provided cooling shade to countless Delawareans over the past 125 years. In 1884, concerned members of the community came together to meet the needs of their neighbors, and now in 2009, the names and faces have changed, but our work continues. However, what w we do today would not be possible without the vision and commitment of the many people who came before. Remarkable individuals – young and old, rich and poor, black and white, and everyone in between – have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of children and families in need. Along the way, an inspiring legacy has been created. This commemorative booklet showcases our history, and the incredible dedication of all of the organizations who have come

together under the Children & Families First umbrella. Our rich history is a testament to the leadership provided by the Boards of Directors and staff, as well as the energy provided by volunteers, community groups, donors and other supporters. But most of all, our longevity bears witness to the centrality of family in society. In the words of B. Ethelda Mullen, an early and long-time agency leader, “The family with all its strengths is still the root of our civilization. Here is where life begins….” On behalf of all the children and families that we have served throughout the past 125 years…families who have overcome sometimes unimaginable challenges….families who have found opportunities in the most unlikely places….and on behalf of all of the children and families we have yet to meet, we offer our heartfelt thanks.

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate this momentous occasion. T With your support, we will continue to provide welcoming shade for generations to come.

Leslie Newman, CEO

Celebrating 125 Years

Ellen Levin, Board Chair


1884 Following the Financial Panic of 1873, factories and shops around the country close…banks are distressed…thousands are unemployed…In response, charity organizations spring up, providing assistance to the needy. In Wilmington, the Friends Benevolent Society offers food and clothing to the needy and the Provident Society hires women to sew when their husbands are out of work.

In 1884, Wilmington is a growing and prospering city, but fluctuations in employment mean that the need for charity is constantly changing. As such, there is a need for well-organized, citywide service. In October, the first meeting is held to consider the consolidation of charitable activities to avoid duplication of effort. It is decided then to organize the Wilmington Associated Charities, to include the work of the Friends Benevolent Society, The Provident Society, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. On December 22, an office is opened in Wilmington at No. 5 East Seventh St., and John Massey of the Philadelphia Organized Charities is hired to be the Superintendent.

Celebrating 125 Years

Original Officers Mr. John H. Adams, President Mrs. A.D. Warner, Vice-President Mr. Daniel W. Taylor, Secretary Mr. Edward T. Betts, Treasurer About 1884: * First Oxford English Dictionary published * Huckleberry Finn published * Cornerstone laid for the Statue of Liberty * Washington Monument completed

The cover of the Associated Charities By–Laws, 1884; Collage of pages from the Associated Charities By–Laws and Superintendents Report Book


1880s Friendly Visitors, typically wives of respected local businessmen, provide services to the poor of Wilmington – dispensing coal and grocery orders in return for labor. In the first several years of its existence, Associated Charities serves nearly 1,000 applicants per year. Over time, this number fluctuates relative to the local economy. A Sick Diet Kitchen is opened to provide milk and soup for the sick. Visits to the Almshouse find children living in unsuitable conditions. Sick children are removed to hospitals and other children are placed in the agency’s Children’s Home. Laws are changed to prohibit children from being placed in the Almshouse. A library is started at Ferris Industrial School, which had recently been dedicated. Representatives of Associated Charities give talks to new mothers on the care of their babies.

Mrs. A. D. Warner, one of the founders of the Associated Charities

Children & Families First

In 1888, the office moves to 837 Tatnall Street. A day nursery is opened to provide care for small children while their mothers work in the sewing room. Mothers and children participate in free summer outings, the early precursor to “Country Weeks.”

In 1889, Associated Charities opens a wood yard to provide work to men. Laundry work for women is started, providing clean towels to local offices as an entrepreneurial enterprise.

Industrial Revolution: The 1880s form the core period of the Second Industrial Revolution. Development and production of electric lighting is underway, and steel-frame construction of skyscrapers happens for the first time. The United States experiences a large economic boom, due to the mass expansion of railroads – workers lay 73,000 miles of railroad track throughout the decade. As the Prohibition Movement gains prevalence, a liquor-free drink is brewed, now known as Coca-Cola. Thomas Edison invents the first-ever movie. U.S. Population: 50,200,000 Life Expectancy: 47.3 Female, 46.3 Male

Image courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library

Celebrating 125 Years


1890s Associated Charities starts its Country Week program, whereby mothers and children stay with local farmers to escape the city for fresh air. At Christmas, the agency distributes bountiful baskets filled with holiday supplies.

1894 sees a hard winter, with applications for

assistance jumping nearly 30%. According to The First Fifty Years: The Family Society, 1884-1934, “All committees performed splendid service and the spirit of cooperation and confidence in the principles of the Associated Charities was greatly increased.” In 1896, Associated Charities moves to 602 West Street, where it remains for the next 42 years. The agency founds a Penny Provident Fund to

encourage small savings among the people it serves. By 1899, ten savings stations have been opened with a total of $937 in deposits (which would be valued at approximately $24,000 today). In addition to work provided in the sewing and laundry rooms, and the wood yard, Associated Charities begins the cultivation of vacant lots, both to employ men and to teach home gardening skills. Sixty quarter-acre lots are cultivated throughout Wilmington, providing vegetables for 240 families.


Tough Times: The Panic of 1893 sets off a widespread economic depression in the United States that lasts until 1896. In 1896, gold is discovered in the Klondike, beginning a western gold rush. The settlement house movement takes off, based on Jane Addams’ Hull House in Chicago. H.G. Wells creates modern science fiction with his book War of the Worlds. U.S. Population: 63,000,000 Life Expectancy: 44.5 Female, 42.5 Male


1900s By 1900, industrial conditions have improved but the work of Associated Charities continues to expand. The Penny Provident Society has opened five stations in public schools. Associated Charities opens a lunch room in a former high school to demonstrate that school lunches can be self-supporting –a precursor to public school cafeterias.

In 1901, the Lady Visitors undertake a special eort to learn more about the families that they serve, and are astonished to discover that 92% of registered families can neither read nor write. Associated Charities participates in an advocacy campaign that culminates in the passage of a compulsory school law in 1905, the beginning of improving educational standards in Delaware. In 1904, Associated Charities begins providing Visiting

Nurse services, hiring a professional visiting nurse to expand the scope of what could be provided by its Friendly Visitors. This is the beginning of the Visiting Nurses Association, which spins o in 1922, and is now part of Christiana Care Health System.

Image courtesy of Delaware Historical Society 10

Children & Families First

Emily Bissell, Member, Board of Directors

Concerns about the sspread of tuberculosis are on the rise. A free dispensary is opened ope in the Associated Charities building, and tuberculosis patients are taught how to provide personal care for themselves mselves in their h homes. In 1907, Emily Bissell, a member of tarts the th Christmas Seal program, and the funds raised the Board, starts from that first seal are used to help the Red Cross purchase 50 acres of land for the establishment of the Brandywine Sanatorium. Technological Innovations: The Industrial Age is in full swing – the Model T Ford makes its debut, and the Wright Brothers take flight at Kitty Hawk. However, social conditions are diďŹƒcult. The average family has no indoor plumbing and no car. About half of all American children live in poverty. Most teens do not attend school; instead, they work in factories or fields. U.S. Population: 76,200,000 Life Expectancy: 51.1 Female, 48.2 Male

Celebrating 125 Years


1910s In 1911, as a result of significant advocacy on the part of the Associated Charities and its supporters, Anti-Child Labor and Anti-Tuberculosis bills are passed in the Delaware General Assembly. The winter of 1914-1915 is one of increasing

unemployment and for the first time, Wilmington is faced with the problem of homeless men. That winter marks the first time that Associated Charities accepts public funds, to start a municipal lodging house. In 1916, Associated Charities opens their first children’s

camp, an outgrowth of the Country Week. Its goal is to give children an opportunity to play instead of work. Also in 1916, representatives of charity organizations meet to create a federation called the Children’s Bureau of Delaware, “to create a closer cooperation of the children’s agencies in Delaware and to keep in touch with what is happening in other states.” The initial members include Children’s Home, Peoples Settlement House, West End Reading Room, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Associated Charities. The Children’s Bureau quickly takes on a range of advocacy issues: child labor laws, juvenile justice, and the problems of dependent and delinquent children – leading to more stringent child labor laws and the appointment by the Governor of a Children’s Code Commission. 12

Children & Families First

In 1918, Associated Charities’ work continues to increase,

due in large part to the Influenza Epidemic and World War I. The agency names B. Ethelda Mullen its Executive Secretary, a post she holds for more than 30 years, bringing professional social work to the forefront of both the agency and the state. This same year, the Children’s Bureau hires a small staff to do case investigations for member agencies and to supervise children placed in institutions and homes, beginning its long tradition of providing professional services for dependent and neglected children. In 1919, Associated Charities purchases land in

World War I and the Flu Epidemic: The Model T Ford is introduced and becomes widespread. The Titanic sinks, with 1,500 lives lost. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated, leading to World War I. The 1918 Influenza Epidemic kills tens of millions of people worldwide. Prohibition begins in 1919 with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Only one-third of children are enrolled in elementary school, and less than 10% graduate from high school. Though efforts to pass a federal law prove unsuccessful, by the middle of the decade, every state has passed a minimum wage law. U.S. Population: 92,400,000 Life Expectancy: 53.6 Female, 50.2 Male

Hockessin for the Children’s Camp, and Children’s Bureau is incorporated.

Children served by Associated Charities; Ethelda Mullen, Executive Secretary; Children’s Bureau of Dealware logo

Celebrating 125 Years


From that acorn

SPROUTED a mighty oak...



1920s In 1922, funds from Wilmington’s first Flower Market

In 1926, men are invited to serve on the all-female board of the

are used to construct a building on the grounds of the Associated Charities’ children’s camp, which became known as Camp Wright.

Children’s Bureau. At first, it is recommended that men serve only in an advisory capacity, but soon, men become active, involved board members, a tradition that lives on.

In 1923, John T. Skelly, president of Associated Charities,

By 1929, changes in living conditions have forced many fami-

initiates a collaborative program with the local fire department to collect and recondition toys, which are then distributed to Associated Charities’ clients for Christmas. Then, in 1924, the Every Evening, a forerunner of The News Journal, publicizes the needs of 25 families identified by Associated Charities, beginning an annual appeal that continues to this day under the auspices of The News Journal. In 1925, the Children’s Bureau merges with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, continuing their efforts to ensure that children are cared for with dignity and respect. A charter member of the Child Welfare League of America, the agency strives to comply with that organization’s recommendations for standards of care. Throughout the ‘20s, even though financial times are tough, funds are found for children’s medical services and mental health evaluations.


lies out of the city into the surrounding county, and to meet this growing need, Associated Charities expands its work outside of Wilmington to include New Castle County, placing a worker in charge of this district. This year also sees the beginning of the Great Depression, further increasing the work of Associated Charities, which establishes a special unemployment relief department that operates into the ‘30s.

John T. Skelly, Associated Charities president; Children head to Camp Wright

Children & Families First

The Roaring Twenties: The 1920s, often referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, are years of economic prosperity in the United States, until the stock market crash of 1929 which launches the Great Depression. In 1920, women are given the right to vote with the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, and women begin to enter the workforce in larger numbers. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lives in Delaware briefly, publishes some of the most enduring novels of the Jazz Age, including This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. U.S. Population: 106,021,637 Life Expectancy: Female 58.5, Male 56.3 17

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1930s In 1930, Associated Charities changes its name to the Family

Society in recognition of its core work providing support to families in need, and in a move away from the definition of charity as “alms.” In 1933, J. Thompson Brown becomes president of the Family Society. His spirit is honored today in the agency’s annual selection of J. Thompson Brown Award winners, who are recognized for their dedicated service to strengthening family life in Delaware. Mr. Brown, a Wilmington philanthropist, industrialist and family man serves on the agency’s board for 37 years, and is instrumental in changing the focus of the agency from charity to service. In 1934, in celebration of the Family Society’s 50th Anniver-

sary, Executive Secretary Ethelda Mullen writes the following words, which are still meaningful today: “So much upon

which we had depended on has broken down or slipped out from under during these past few years, that we find ourselves skeptical as to the foundations of our economic and social life….There is still one institution which remains unshaken. The family with all its strengths is still the root of our civilization. Here is where life begins….” In 1935, The Family Society begins offering fieldwork training

for students in schools of social work, a tradition that continues today. The agency considers this one of its “contributions to the development of the social work profession.” In 1938, Dr. Robert O.Y. Warren establishes medical services for children in foster care at the Children’s Bureau. The program is used as a model for agencies in other parts of the country. Dr. Warren continues his work with the Children’s Bureau until 1968.

The Great Depression: The 1930s is marked by the Great Depression. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt takes presidential office in 1933, the nation is deeply troubled. Every bank in the nation has closed its doors and no one can cash a check or get at their savings. The unemployment rate is 25% or higher in major industrial and mining centers. Mortgages are being foreclosed by the tens of thousands. FDR launches the New Deal, a complex economic package designed to give relief to the unemployed, reform business and financial practices, and promote recovery of the economy. The Nazi Party comes to power in Germany under Adolf Hitler. John Steinbeck publishes The Grapes of Wrath, telling the story of a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. Celebrating 125 Years

U.S. Population: 122,755,046 Life Expectancy: Female 61.6, Male 58.1 19

1940s The early 1940s are hard for the Children’s Bureau, which loses its office space, and huddles in cramped quarters over an auction gallery, until the purchase of a building at 1310 Delaware Avenue. Its offices remain there until 1969. Provision of services in southern Delaware has long been a goal of the Children’s Bureau, and that goal is met with the opening of a part-time office in Milford. Disruptions caused by World War II – including limited rations of food and fuel – plague the Children’s Bureau. Child abuse increases sharply, yet housing and foster family shortages make needs difficult to meet. An interagency foster home recruitment campaign is launched. The Family Society also responds to the War, commissioned by the Selective Service Board to conduct social history screenings of draftees, a contribution later recognized by a Congressional citation. After the War, as the community tries to pick up pieces of family life, The Family Society turns its attention to providing family and marriage counseling services. In 1942, a Joint Board Committee of The Family Society and the Children’s Bureau is convened to consider the possibility of merging the two agencies. However, after considerable study, the agencies’ executive secretaries–B. Ethelda Mullen at The Family Society, and Ruth Weisenberger at the Children’s Bureau–recommend against merger, stating: “We are fully aware of our responsibility, our readiness and, in fact, our keen interest in having our programs related to each other. We feel that consideration of the merger has in itself integrated more closely the services of the two agencies.” This is just a preview of what eventually happens 50 years later.


A World at War: The decade begins with World War II. The War has raged in Europe since 1939, but on December 7, 1941, Japan drops bombs on the United States at Pearl Harbor. As men go off to war, women replace them in the workplace, increasing the number of working American women to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. Rationing becomes a way of life for families. World War II ends in 1945, and the Cold War begins.

Children pose on the steps at 1310 Delaware Ave.; Nurses and babies at The Children’s Bureau; Joint commitee report on potential merger of The Family Society and The Children’s Bureau, 1942

U.S. Population: 132,164,569 Life Expectancy: Female 65.2, Male 60.8


1950s The 1950s are a time of change and re-focus for The Family Society. In 1955, the agency changes its name to Family Service of Northern Delaware, a name which places emphasis on the “services” offered. Through a concerted public relations effort, the agency is able to expand its client base and service continuum. Its primary service – “casework to help individuals and families whose normal family life is threatened or disturbed” – serves 386 families in 1952, but nearly doubles to serve 748 families by 1956.

In 1952, Family Service begins offering Homemaker Services, which allow children to remain in their own home when their mother is ill or incapacitated. This pilot program is funded by a charter affiliation with the United Way, and continues successfully in some form for more than 50 years. Later the same decade, the agency adds marriage counseling to its array of services. While some services expand, others are discontinued.

In 1953, the agency withdraws from The News Journal’s 25 Neediest annual Christmas appeal, indicating that “The case stories on which this appeal is based, with sole emphasis on material need, no longer represent…the confidential casework counseling service we offer to any troubled family in the community, regardless of economic status.” In 1954, Family Service transfers operation of Camp Wright to another local agency, West End Neighborhood House, maintaining responsibility for registrations only. This move 22

is made to capitalize on the strengths of West End as a recreational provider, while freeing up time for Family Service staff for its casework program. In 1959, Family Service of Northern Delaware moves to 809 Washington Street. The 50s bring change to the Children’s Bureau as well. Amid growing reports of so-called “black mar-

ket” placements of children for adoption, in 1951, the Children’s Bureau and its community partners spearhead the drafting and passage of adoption legislation which serves as a model of its kind – in Delaware, only licensed agencies can place children for adoption. Requests for adoptive placements of infants born to single parents soar. To meet increased demand for services, the agency redefines its areas of responsibility in relation to community needs, and adoption becomes its primary service.

Suburbs and Social Conformity: The 1950s are marked by a huge increase in manufacturing and home construction as the economy improves, resulting in a large-scale expansion of the middle class. Unions are strong, comprising almost half the American work force. The Korean War and the Cold War lead to a politically conservative climate, and fear of Communism sees the height of the Hollywood Blacklist, under the auspices of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the Supreme Court opens the door to the beginnings of the right for all Americans to an equal and fair education regardless of race, creed or religion. Conformity characterizes the social mores of the time, yet rock ‘n roll, the Beat Generation, and increased racial tension signify changes to come. U.S. Population: 150,520,798 Life Expectancy: Female 71.1, Male 65.6

Baby makes three; Promotional brochures for Family Service of Northern Delaware


1960s In 1962, Family Service of Northern Delaware is selected to participate in a four-year project on aging, financed by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The objectives of the project are to foster new techniques in working with older adults, and to train staff in new concepts for working with this population. Children’s Bureau continues its work providing foster care

and adoption services. While the agency works hard to serve all children in need of placement, healthy white babies are most in demand by adoptive families. Children’s Bureau conducts intensive recruitment to find families for AfricanAmerican children. In 1966, Children’s Bureau celebrates its 50th Anniversary with

a host of events, including educational speakers and films, and a dinner at the Hotel duPont’s Gold Ballroom. In 1969, Children’s Bureau outgrows its offices on Delaware

Avenue, so the agency builds a new office building at 2005 Baynard Boulevard. The new building includes the Warren Memorial Clinic, dedicated in honor of Dr. Robert O.Y. Warren, who headed the agency’s medical services for children from 1938 until his death in 1968. Dr. Warren’s death was a significant loss to the agency, whose 1968 Annual Report contains these words: “Dr. Warren’s insistence on the highest quality of service for each child and selfless devotion to the needs of all children are deeply instilled in the agency and will be a continuing inspiration.” Dr. Katherine Esterly, who has worked with Dr. Warren since 1955, begins serving as Medical Director, a post she holds until 2008. 24

Social Revolution: Traditional values come under fire during social movements that include civil rights, anti-war protests, and women’s rights. Under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, there is a strong national emphasis on civil rights and welfare programs to end poverty and address other social problems. The Vietnam War polarizes the nation. There is a marked increase in crime and urban unrest of all types – between 1960 and 1969 the reported incidences of violent crime doubles. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, riots break out in many cities, including Wilmington, which is occupied by the National Guard for nearly a year. The counterculture movement influences the music of the decade, culminating in the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. U.S. Population: 179,323,175 Life Expectancy: Female 73.1, Male 66.6

Children’s Bureau dedicates its new building at 2005 Baynard Blvd. in Wilmington; A congratulatory telegram in honor of Children’s Bureau’s 50th Anniversary; Family Service of Northern Delaware develops new techniques for working with older adults.


Homemakers from Family Service of Northern Delaware; A family visits Family Service’s new building at 809 Washington St. photo by David McClintock


1970s In 1971, Children’s Bureau opens La Oficina de los Niños, a

In 1979, Children’s Bureau replaces its small Milford office

program designed specifically to meet the needs of Hispanic individuals and families, a growing population in Wilmington.

with a new building, dedicated in honor of Elizabeth Townsend, former Executive Director.

Adoption and foster care remain central to the work of the

In 1973, Family Service of Northern Delaware builds a

Children’s Bureau. In the early ‘70s, the agency begins to place greater emphasis on finding homes for children once considered unadoptable, recruiting families, and using the help of local and national adoption resource exchanges, to place children with special needs – some older, some with disabilities. According to a report from the agency’s 60th anniversary in 1976, “Placements are time consuming, frequently hard for all concerned, but each child or family of children settled with a real family at last is worth every effort.”

new building at 809 Washington Street, and continues to expand its service offerings, providing counseling programs for a number of specialized groups. Newsletter headlines from that decade help tell the story: Crisis Group Eases Problems of Newly Divorced; Counseling Offered for Battered Women; Agency Begins Couples’ Group for Prison Inmates; and Agency Adds Sex Counseling to Counseling Services. The agency strives for excellence, receiving accreditation for its Homemaker Services, in addition to Family Service’s overall accreditation.

Children’s Bureau also offers a variety of services for families – In 1974, a new group enters the mix, when concerned Seaford

known as “within-the-family” services – such as “rap sessions” citizens open Turnabout Counseling & Community Services for teens to help them learn about themselves, their relationships, to meet the need for social services in Kent and Sussex Counties. sex, and family living. These lead to the formation of the ARC (A Resource Center for Youth) program in 1976, in an effort to decrease rates of teen pregnancy. Changing Times: The social progressive values that rose to the forefront in the previous decade are still evident throughout the 1970s. Opposition to nuclear weapons and an environmental movement are on the rise. Mandatory busing to achieve integration of schools leads to civil unrest in many communities. The United States experiences stalled economic growth, with unprecedented inflation, unemployment, and gas rationing. This decade also sees the birth of modern computing, with the development of the world’s first microprocessor, rudimentary personal computers, and consumer video games. Celebrating 125 Years

U.S. Population: 203,302,031 Life Expectancy: Female 74.7, Male 67.1


1980s Throughout the 80s, Children’s Bureau continues its core services, such as foster care and adoption, La Oficina de los Niños, and ARC, but expands its offerings to include programs such as foster care prevention for families at risk and child sexual abuse counseling. These services are designed to provide help for children in their homes rather than placing them in foster care. Children’s Bureau also begins postadoption work, providing both support and search services to adoptees. In 1982, a longitudinal study conducted by the Children’s Bureau called Prediction in Child Development is published by the Child Welfare League of America, representing unique adoption research in identifying professional guidelines for adoptive placement. In 1981, Family Service of Northern Delaware presents the first J. Thompson Brown Award, given annually to community members who are recognized for their dedicated service to strengthening family life in Delaware. In 1983, Family Service of Northern Delaware changes

its name to Family Service Delaware, emphasizing its increasing geographic reach. It’s new slogan is “Helping families in a world of change.” Despite the changes, the agency’s commitment to families remains strong, and in 1984, Family Service Delaware celebrates its 100th anniversary. The milestone is recognized in a congratulatory telegram from President Ronald Reagan.


In 1983, Turnabout Counseling opens Seaford House, a residential treatment center for youth with mental health issues. In 1986, the Child Care Connection, later The Family & Workplace Connection, begins as a pilot child care resource and referral program in New Castle County with a start-up grant from DuPont. In 1987, in response to concerns about Delaware’s increasing infant mortality rate, the Perinatal Association of Delaware is formed….yet two more agencies that will ultimately help strengthen Children & Families First’s mighty oak.

Children & Families First

From Cold War to the War on Drugs The 1980s sees social and economic change as wealth and production migrate to newly industrializing countries. Computers experience explosive growth, changing from a hobbyist’s pursuit to an industry. In the U.S., more women enter the workplace than ever before. The crack-cocaine epidemic results in record levels of crime and drug trafficking. The Reagan Administration places new emphasis on the War on Drugs, publicized by a “Just Say No” campaign. The Cold War comes to an end with great symbolism – the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. U.S. Population: 226,545,805 Life Expectancy: Female 77.4, Male 70.0 Staff at Family Service Delaware; Family Service Delaware celebrates 100 years; Child Care Connection recognized on its first anniversary; Children’s Bureau Annual Report, 1989


1990s In 1991, Children’s Bureau celebrates its 75th Anniversary. The commemorative booklet from the event looks both to the past and to the future: Together, we have weathered hard times, disasters, wars, depression and epidemics. We have seen changes in social attitudes and mores; in the rights of women and other minority groups…; in the conquest of children’s diseases….We look forward to the future needs of children and families. We have come a long way…….but there’s still a long, long way to go.

In 1991, with funding from a successful capital campaign,

Children’s Bureau renovates 2001 Baynard Boulevard to be used as a Family Institute. True to the original vision, this building currently houses our community-based counseling programs. 1992, Family Service Delaware and Children’s Bureau

merge. A Briefing Paper describes the rationale for this consolidation: “Children’s Bureau of Delaware and Family Service Delaware have distinguished histories of providing social services for residents of Delaware. Both organizations share a common mission – to strengthen families…. This merger is … an opportunity for two agencies with a distinguished tradition of service to forge an even greater future together.” The merged agency begins operating under the name Family and Children Services of Delaware, with Alvin Snyder from Family Service appointed Executive Director, and Demo Carros of Children’s Bureau serving as Director of Development and Planning. In 1995, Family and Children Services merges with Turnabout

Counseling & Community Services, which positions the agency as a truly statewide provider. In a press release 30

explaining the merger, Executive Director Alvin Snyder says, “The new agency will serve the unique needs of each community, working collaboratively with its members to strengthen both the family and the community itself.” In 1997, the agency changes its name to Children & Families First in recognition of the importance of child-centered and family-focused services. These services continue to expand throughout the ‘90s in response to community needs, with the additions of the Kent & Sussex AIDS Program, FAST (Families and Schools Together), new partnerships with high school Wellness Centers, and the creation of a Truancy Program. In 1996, Child Care Connection becomes The Family & Workplace Connection, in recognition of its expanding services to support both quality child care and work-life balance. By the end of the decade, The Family & Workplace Connection’s services have grown to include the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Child Care Resource Centers statewide, the Child Care Capacity Building Program, the Delaware First provider training program, elder care resource and referral, and Just in Time Care®.

Children & Families First

Economic Growth: The U.S. experiences steady economic growth, with personal incomes doubling, and stock markets climbing, throughout the 1990s. The World Wide Web becomes publicly available on the internet in 1991, and e-mail becomes increasingly popular. The U.S. leads coalition forces in the Persian Gulf, driving Iraq from Kuwait, but instability in the region continues. Bombings at the World Trade Center, in Oklahoma City, and at the Olympics in Atlanta result in increased awareness of domestic and international terrorism as a threat to the United States. Crime levels peak in 1991, then fall to their lowest levels since the 1960s by the end of the decade. Drug use reaches an all-time low in 1992, and then peaks in 1997, before declining again. School violence is brought into the spotlight after the Columbine school shooting in 1999. U.S. Population: 248,709,873 Life Expectancy: Female 78.8, Male 71.8 In 1993, Family and Children Services awards Dr. Katherine Esterly the J. Thompson Brown Award for her years of dedicated service to children. photo courtesy of The News Journal/Chuck McGowen; The News Journal reports on the merger of Children’s Bureau and Family Service Delaware; In 1995, Turnabout Counseling merges with Family and Children Services.


Children & Famlies First continues to grow, adding new branches to its oak throughout the 2000s


Children & Families First

2000–2008 In 2002, Children & Families First begins offering the

Strengthening Families Program, a research-based family skills training series. In 2003, The Family & Workplace Connection creates its

ElderBuddy program, matching AstraZeneca volunteers with older adults in need of companionship, and also launches Grand Time Off, a respite program for relatives caring for children. This expansion of elder services is continued in 2005 with the launch of ElderOnline, a searchable database for services to support aging adults. In 2004, the Perinatal Association becomes part of Children

& Families First, with its Resource Mothers program continuing its work to decrease infant mortality in Delaware. In 2007, Children & Families First purchases new office space

in Dover in the Wolf Creek Business Complex, thanks to a successful capital campaign. Also in 2007, Al Snyder retires from his position as Executive Director, after a 21-year tenure. Leslie Newman, the organization’s long-serving Development Director, is chosen to lead Children & Families First. In 2008, Children & Families First and The Family &

Workplace Connection merge in an effort to offer clients a broader continuum of services. CEO Leslie Newman says, Celebrating 125 Years

“This is another exciting chapter in the history of Children & Families First. With our new organization, there is more room, creativity and energy to address the important issues facing our community, be they decreasing infant mortality and teen pregnancy, improving the quality of childcare, or assuring that youth aging out of foster care have the supports they need.” Also in 2008, Children & Families First receives a federal

grant from the Administration for Children & Families to implement the evidence-based Nurse-Family Partnership Program. This effort brings together a range of stakeholders working to enhance the continuum of home visiting services to prevent child abuse, infant mortality, and a range of other problems. The New Millennium: The decade is shaped by the earthshaking attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The War on Terrorism ensues, with ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rising oil prices, a declining housing market, increasing unemployment, and stock market volatility contribute to an uncertain economy. In 2008, the nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, is elected. U.S. Population: 281,421,906 Life Expectancy: Female 79.7, Male 74.3 33

The creation of a thousand forests

is in one acorn

–Ralph Waldo Emerson


Children & Families First

2009 and beyond 2009 is a momentous year for Children & Families First – our 125th year of continuous service to families and children in Delaware. While we celebrate our accomplishments, our work continues. This year, Children & Families First has: Re—occupied our building at 809 Washington Street, which had been leased to the State of Delaware since 1997. This site now houses Foster Care & Adoption, Parenting Education, the Delaware AfterSchool Alliance, and Early Care and Education programs including Delaware Stars. Become the lead partner in the Eastside Community Schools project, an exciting public-private collaboration, serving as a hub of services, opportunities, and civic engagement to create positive conditions for learning and to support a thriving community. Completed an intensive Strategic Planning process which will guide the agency into the next decade.

Our mission, to help families develop solutions to meet challenges and embrace opportunities,is as relevant today as it was in 1884. Throughout Delaware, families continue to struggle through difficult times, and to celebrate successes. We are proud to travel this journey with the people we serve.

We thank everyone who has made our long and successful history possible, and honor the leaders and supporters who have helped shape our vision:

Communities where Children are Nurtured & Safe...Individuals are Valued...Families are Strong. Celebrating 125 Years



photo by Joe del Tufo

photo by Elisa Komins Morris

Leslie Newman, CEO of Children & Families First: We have been trend-setters and really, ahead of our time. If you look back on our history, we are not afraid to change. We have been responsive to the community, and have been able to adapt to the needs of the times in which we live. We are always looking to be ahead of the curve.

Ginny Lockman, Chief Operating Officer, who has been with Children & Families First for 23 years: It’s such a great place to work. Over the years I’ve worked with an engaged, diverse and very talented, fun group of people – all of whom embrace the agency mission and live it through their work. The scope of my work has evolved and changed frequently – almost like getting a new job every few years! One of my responsibilities is to assess the quality and effectiveness of our programs, so I get to see close up what a positive difference we make for so many people. It’s the people that keep me here – my coworkers and our consumers. Celebrating 125 Years

Dorothy “Dishie” Onn, former counselor and head of the Parent Education Dept. at Children & Families First: The agency has been such a major force in our community in creating healthier families, helping parents develop skills and giving them support, and preventing child abuse. You think about all the kids in foster care that they have served, who have a better chance of growing up healthy and not in abusive relationships. You think about all the teen pregnancies they’ve prevented by the ARC (Adolescent Resource Center) Clinic over the years. The thing about prevention services is, it’s difficult to assess the impact of prevention. You try to get parents to step back and think about the many choices they are making every day, and think about the impact of those choices on their kids, and what might be some of their options. You try to get them to recognize that every time they respond to a child, they get the opportunity to reinforce positive behavior or negative behavior. One of the things we ask them to do is count the number of times you praise your child today, and try to do five praises for every negative. I’m passionate about parent education, and I think it’s one of the things that Children & Families First has done in many ways that has been very effective. I’m proud that we brought the nationally recognized Strengthening Families Program (SFP) to Delaware. It’s having as tremendous impact on high risk families in preventing re-occurrence of child abuse or neglect reports. 37

Stephen Mockbee of Wilmington, President and CEO of Bancroft Construction. He was a Children & Families First client who later became a board member: I had some marital problems when I was in college at University of Delaware and my then wife and I went to Family Service Delaware for counseling. Dishie Onn was our counselor. This was back in the early ‘70s, and I ended up getting divorced, but Dishie did such a great job that I thought a lot about the organization, and when I graduated from the University I stayed in touch. I volunteered to work on the board, based on the quality of service they gave me when I was in need. Dishie gave us a clear perspective as to what the issues were. When two people are going through problems it’s kind of hard to get a clear perspective as to where the decision points are. She was about getting the facts out, discussing the issues, and she didn’t push us one way or the other, except to say, “Don’t live the way you’ve been living. It’s not fair to the child or to either of you.” She did a good job, and my former wife liked her as well. It wasn’t that she was wrong or right, or I was wrong or right. It was what was the right thing for the relationship at the time.

Robert “Bert” Weaver, Executive Director of Family Service, 1973-85: The most significant role the agency played was to provide top quality service to families and children, with an emphasis on quality. That meant that our staff were well trained and well 38

supervised. We had a focus on family; we had the philosophy that children are best served within the context of family. That should be the first priority of working with a dysfunctional family, to see if you can help that family get themselves back in shape to be a nurturing family.

Eunice Pryor, LCSW, former staff member at both Children’s Bureau (1966–68) and Family Service of Northern Delaware, which became Children & Families First during her tenure (1972 – 2005): Having served the agency in a variety of capacities and locations, Eunice says, “I may hold the distinction of working in more New Castle County buildings/locations for Children & Families First during 35 years with them than any other member of the staff.” She adds: Children & Families First merged with others many times. The fact that it also made ongoing adaptations to the changes in funding sources and in clients’ needs and managed to thrive when others are no longer in existence made a long lasting impression on me. It seems appropriate in this year of 2009 when we mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th Anniversary of his book, The Origin of the Species, that this agency is celebrating its longevity. I was consistently impressed, indeed inspired, by the courage and creativity of clients in addressing the problems and challenges in their lives. For example, I worked with a family in which a young girl courageously stopped what we learned was be a three-generation pattern of sexual abuse. Her family used service very effectively in helping her to process her experience, which though it fell short of abuse, was very traumatic. They also worked through the changes in family relationships with the abuser and with each other while supporting their daughter after Children & Families First

others blamed her for ‘blowing the whistle.’ I also worked with a mother and her two daughters after the girls had seen their father shot and killed by another relative. By the conclusion of the case the girls had regained their previous level of functioning in school and with friends, and had been able to return to live in the house where their father’s murder had occurred. They used drawing, writing and illustrating a book about themselves and discussions with their mother to accomplish this. Their mother was able to return to work, manage the now trickier relationships with her relatives, and be open and comforting to her daughters about their experiences while working on her own grief.

Wadine Toliaferro, Supervisor, Strengthening Families Program: photo by Joe del Tufo

When she interviewed for the job in 2000, Wadine’s hair was orange due to a botched attempt by her sister-in-law at dyeing it the night before. To top it off, she says, “I was wearing an orange coat.” Seven years later, she says: I am so glad they looked beyond the orange and hired me. It feels to me as if I’ve spent a lifetime preparing for this job. I like this job because I have the freedom to create and I’m supported by my supervisors. I feel I’m making such a difference in families’ lives. I supervise a great staff who put their hearts and souls into their work. One of the nice things about this agency is that staff are asked about the kinds of programs they feel we should be doing. That is impressive. Many of the parents we work with are angry that the state stepped in and removed their children from the home. But we find, more often than not, that the angriest parents are the ones that do the best. I remember one mother who was always angry and at dinners we provide for the families, she ignored her daughter and made calls on her cell phone. During sessions she Celebrating 125 Years

did not look “friendly” at all. At about the seventh session she started to “get it,” and turned the corner. This mother’s daughter does a great job articulating the turnaround her mother has made, and anyone listening to this child knows there was a big change in this family.

Monica Williams was referred to Children & Families First’s Strengthening Families Program in 2008 her daughter got in trouble for fighting in school: When I started the program, I thought they were kidding. I mean, who raises their kids this way? No hitting? That’s not the way I was raised. Then, when I started paying attention, I saw there are other ways to bring up children. And when I started applying some of the things they talked about, I changed. They teach you strategies, and they work! My daughter, she took a look at her own actions, and she has changed too. She was 12 when we started the program and now she’s 13, so I’m going back to the program. I need some strategies for teenagers. We don’t want to go backwards; we want to keep going forward.

Sherry Marable and her daughter Anmber, 16, participated in the Truancy and Strengthening Families Programs: I went for a term but I didn’t apply myself and I didn’t graduate the first time. It was something to do on Tuesday night. I wasn’t doing the family dinner, I didn’t write down the rules and talk about them and everybody talks about how they feel. But then I decided I should take this more seriously, because I saw some of this stuff I was learning was working, and other stuff was not working and that was because I was not doing like I was told to continued on next page 39

photo by Joe del Tufo

do it. So we went back, and we graduated. I realize now that a lot of love goes a long way. I keep in mind Anmber is a 16-year-old child in high school and they have stress too, so I try not to make my stuff her stuff. We don’t always agree, but we talk about things now. Before, she wasn’t doing her homework, she was skipping school and she was getting suspended. Now, she’s getting good grades and her teachers actually called and asked for information on the program, because they said some other kids at her school need it.


Nanette Silveroli, Coordinator, STEP-Striving Toward Excellence in Performance: I started working at Children’s Bureau in 1987 as a social worker in foster care and adoption programs. Sometime in the late 1980s a baby was placed in one of the agency foster homes after the birth parent attempted to sell the child to an undercover law enforcement agent. At that time there was no law in Delaware that prohibited the selling of children. The most serious charge they could lodge against the parent was endangering the welfare of a child. Once this startling bit of information hit the newspapers, legislation was introduced and eventually passed that prohibited selling children and made it grounds for termination of parental rights. Fortunately for the baby in this case, parental rights were terminated on other legal grounds, and the child was adopted by a loving family in another state. We accepted into foster care a child who was totally dependent upon a ventilator from birth. When the child was referred, the goal was termination of parental rights because the parents were not able to care for the child. When we began working with the child and engaged the family, whose first language was not English, we learned that their child’s medical condition had not been fully explained to them in their own language. We worked

with a number of other service providers to educate the parents about their child’s medical condition and the foster parent brought the parents into her home several days each week to teach the parents about the medical equipment and to care for their child. They demonstrated to everyone that they were very loving and good parents and the child was returned to them. Another thing that our agency became known for in the community was that we accepted qualified applicants to be foster and adoptive parents whether they were married or not and whether they were same sex couples, heterosexuals, or single people. Our focus was always to find families who could provide stability and nurturance and accept a child into their family. It didn’t matter if the family was a same sex couple or heterosexual couple. We often received applicants who reported they were prohibited from applying to foster or adopt children based solely on their living with a same sex partner.

“I have witnessed minor miracles – people who were desperate and thought they didn’t have a chance….and accomplished more than they ever imagined.”

We advocated for birth families when we felt they could provide the children the stability, care and nurturance they required. One time we worked with a relative who had regularly visited her relative’s child and developed a positive relationship with the child and completed foster/adoptive parent preparation classes, and we had completed her home assessment for placement of that child. However, in spite of her relationship and blood ties to the child, the State chose another family over this devoted relative. We helped the relative appeal this decision and she won and adopted Children & Families First

the child. For years after that she kept in touch and would stop by and let us know how the child was doing. In the 1990s, again through an outside consultant, we began to learn more about attachment and that there were things that social workers, birth families, foster families, and adoptive families could do to help children who entered the foster care system to begin to heal from the trauma of abuse, separation, and loss. There was much new information about the effect of trauma on the developing brain that helped workers and families make sense of the behaviors and develop more helpful ways of responding to the children. During the 20-plus years I have worked for Children & Families First, I have witnessed many of these minor miracles— people who were desperate and thought they didn’t have a chance, but our services were open to them and they took advantage of the services and accomplished more than they imagined. I hope that the agency will continue to be on the forefront– adopting new approaches as we see evidence of what works in the human services field, to advocate for people who are not able to advocate for themselves, and to help people that no one else will accept, so that Children & Families First can continue to improve the lives of families and children in the years to come. e.

Michael Harrison, an adult adoptee: I was born in Wilmington in January 1963, and placed into foster care with a family in south Wilmington almost immediately after birth, along with three other foster children. I have many memories and images prior to my adoption. Unlike horror stories common today, practically all the memories are warm and happy. The love of my foster parents, adoptive parents (and extended families), and Children & Families First is seared in my mind. Like others, I also located my birth family decades ago, and found both loving individuals, as well as a confirmation that my foster care and eventual adoption was the best for me.

Celebrating 125 Years

Phyllis Kowalskie, Receptionist at Children & Families First: I’ve stayed here for 22 years because of the people I work with and the clients we serve. One outstanding memory (and there are several) is a reunion, post adoption, (through Foster Care/ Adoption Department) that happened to occur in the waiting room here due to both parties arriving close to the same time. At first they did not know they were the parties to be reunited. When the social worker came to greet them it was such a surprise to both, and so touching. I never forgot that. It was a great success.

Gene Radd, program supervisor at Seaford House, Children & Families First’s residential treatment facility for troubled children, ages 12-18: We’ve come a long way. Our old house was a Victorian mansion that looked like something out of a horror movie. We were located right next to a bar in Seaford. d I can remember coming in on a weekend night and our kids would be yelling out the window to some of the bar patrons in the parking lot. And the program was more recreational based, and now we’re in a new building and it’s very therapeutically oriented, based on the Boys’ Town model, and you can really see the kids getting better. Not that they didn’t before, but it’s a little more dramatic now. You see amazing changes in these kids. We had this group of kids that were kind of tough to manage, and all of a sudden, these kids are so much better and they’re more fun to be around.


After retiring from another agency, I came to Children & Families First as a volunteer to help restore order to thee agency library. Although somewhat isolated from the staff, I came to know w and respect many of them over my four years in that position. I became Volunteer Coordinator (now Community Resources Coordinator) in February, 2003. Since that time, I waken daily with an enthusiasm for coming to work based on the shared values I find in this agency and among my colleagues. Accountability, collaboration, diversity, empowerment, respect and responsiveness directed toward supporting children and families in our community clearly match my own set of beliefs. I am proud that the agency culture around volunteerism has grown in recent years and has become a significant force in helping provide services to Children & Families First’s clients. As I consider my own future and contemplate daily whether to spend more time savoring the world or saving the world, coming to 2005 Baynard Boulevard regularly continues to be my source of inspiration as I work in concert with others to support Children & Families First, its mission and our clients’ well-being.


photo by Joe del Tufo

Kathie Stamm, Children & Families First’s Community Resources Coordinator:

Rose Mohler, Accounting Manager for Children & Families First for the past 20 years:

The one consistent factor that I have seen over the past 20 years is that the agency has always had very high standards in the service it provides, and the funds are accounted for and spent for the purpose that they were intended. The agency h has as al always been alert to the new trends and services that are needed and what is not feasible to continue. It has been hard to stop providing some services due to economic reasons, but the whole agency has been strengthened due to making these tough decisions. The agency is able to provide comprehensive care from cradle to grave. Services include monitoring foster care, adoption, and child care providers for standards and quality improvement. We have education and training for divorced parents, grandparenting classes to meet the needs of children in their care, and parenting classes, both court-appointed or voluntary. I continue to be amazed at how the foster parents provide care for the children in their homes and also help to keep contact with their family and siblings. The workers have changed over the years, but the dedication and caring are still the same.

Children & Families First

Twenty-five years ago I was invited to membership of the Board of Family Service Delaware. The years have passed quickly, but much has been accomplished! The leadership of the Agency and the Board has been visionary and has adapted to the changing circumstances for the non-profit sector and economic realities. Board members and staff have worked as a team of complementary strengths as Family Service Delaware grew to Children & Families First by joining with fellow agencies (Children’s Bureau, Turnabout Counseling, Perinatal Association, The Family & Workplace Connection) to increase our impact on and contribution to the Delaware community. The staff at Children & Families First is professional, dedicated, efficient, capable, caring, innovative and adaptable. I hope we meet the challenges of the next 25 years in the same manner.

Pauline Koch, Board Member since 1985: I served on the Board of The Familyy & Workplace Connection (FWC) from its inception as Child Care Connection in 1985 until the merger with Children & Families First (CFF), and continue to serve on CFF’s Board. My primary interest is early care and education and the work of FWC and CFF in this fi field eld. FW FWC was always a leader in the child care field, working closely with the Office of Child Care Licensing, the Division of Social Services and providers to improve the quality of care and work toward a comprehensive system of early care and education in Delaware. FWC played an important role in the development and implementation of the Delaware First career development system for child care practitioners. Over the years, FWC has Celebrating 125 Years

provided strong advocacy for legislation to increase child care reimbursement rates and other pertinent child care issues. FWC and now CFF are an integral part of the Delaware Stars Quality and Improvement Rating System and the exciting initiative Early Success: The Plan, Building an Early Learning System for All Delaware Children. It is my pleasure to continue to support CFF’s work on behalf of Delaware’s young children.

photo by Joe del Tufo

Karen Doherty, Board Member for 25 years:

Lynn Kelley, Corporate Services Account Manager:

I started in 1993 with what was called Child Care Connection, which became The Family & Workplace Connection. We eventually merged with Children & Families First. Over the years there has been almost constant change due to growth or sometimes loss of a client. During those timeframes we were always very creative, so that if we had losses we were able to weather them. The Just in Time Care® program was one of the major changes. We are providing this and other services to clients nationwide, including AstraZeneca, DuPont, Harvard University and many others. Over the years, even though employees have come and gone, there is always a group of people who work hard, are very creative, support each other, have fun and are truly a family.


photo by Joe del Tufo


June Jenkins Peterson, who joined the Board in 1972, and now serves on the Honorary Board: When I was active on the board, the agency was just starting to combine with other social service groups in Wilmington. In recent years a number of mergers have taken place with agencies across the three counties. This is a good idea, as it combines groups that serve many of the same clients and maximizes the service available to them. It also uses money available in the community to the best advantage. I know the United Way encourages these mergers. Many good agencies have been brought together under the Children & Families First umbrella. I well remember getting to know Miss Ethelda Mullen when I first came on the Board and was later President. She was so important in guiding the counseling work of Family Service for many years. She was very dedicated and enthusiastic about our work. Children & Families First has been a central part of my active life, serving the Wilmington community for the past 50 years.

Za Zakiya Bakari-Griffin, Program Director, has been Pr with Children & Families w First for 23 years: Fourteen years ago, I became a part of this great organization as a result of its merger with Turnabout Counseling, where I had worked since 1986. In the beginning it was difficult, transitioning from one organizational culture to another. However, as time passed it became evident that I hadn’t lost anything but rather, had gained access to resources to broaden the scope of services for the clients we serve throughout Delaware’s three counties. I have witnessed numerous changes and improvements throughout my time here: two additional mergers; a change in leadership with the hiring our new Chief Executive Officer, Leslie Newman; the purchase of our own facility in Kent Count; and regaining occupancy of our 809 Washington Street property in Wilmington. Even though our external and internal environments have changed dramatically, Children & Families First has proven its sustainability time and time again. We have never compromised the quality of services to our clients and have continued to seek new funding to enhance of our continuum of services. A quote from John Maxwell summarizes it all for me: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” Happy Anniversary!

Children & Families First

Children & Families First Board of Directors

Children & Families First Advisory Board

Ellen K. Levin, Chair Thomas P. Collins, Esq., Vice Chair Jennifer B. Jonach, Secretary Douglas M. Stephenson, Treasurer Peter A. Hazen, Assistant Treasurer

Mary Jo Chandler Karen D. Doherty Megan T. Goeller Hon. Mary M. Johnston Hon. Jane P. Maroney Stephen M. Mockbee Elizabeth T.B. Pierson Barbara S. Ridgely, Ed.D. Joanne K. Sundheim, Esq. David G. Turner Mary E. Valiante K. Jean Williams

Aguida Atkinson, M.D. Sandra H. Autman Angela B. Case P. Clarkson Collins, Jr., Esq. Katy Connolly Annie Coons Sally A. DeWees Gayle Dillman Veronica O. Faust George W. Forbes, III Carol A. Gausz Muriel E. Gilman Edward W. Goate, Ph.D. Patricia W. GriďŹƒn, Esq. Pamela Harper Pauline D. Koch James F. Krass John W. Land Catherine LaPenta Anthony J. Lewis Paul L. McCommons, III Shauna B. McIntosh, M.D. Carl F. McMillan Robert R. Meade Dayna L. Moore Andrea Moselle Healther A. O’Connell Kim Zeitler Robbins Gilbert S. Scarborough, III John F. Schmutz, Esq. Arlene Smalls, M.D. Richard A. Vintigni Lee A. Wheeler John M. Will

Celebrating 125 Years

Children & Families First Honorary Board Carol Harlan Aastad Max S. Bell, Jr., Esq. Joan McD. Connolly Dr. Lozelle J. DeLuz Glenn M. Engelmann, Esq. Katherine L. Esterly, M.D. Gloria S. Fine Larry D. Gehrke James H. Gilliam, Sr. Susan A. Herrmann Stephen R. Permut, M.D. June Jenkins Peterson David B. Ripsom, Esq. Barbara F. Soulier

J. Thompson Brown Award Recipients Tony Allen Robert Brown P. Clarkson Collins, Jr. Joan & Arthur G. Connolly, Jr. Louise Connor* Tania M. Culley Katherine L. Esterly Gloria & Paul Fine S. McGill Gawthrop* Brother Ronald Giannone Louise & James H. Gilliam, Sr. Muriel E. Gilman Mary Grantham June Jenkins Peterson Glover Jones Ann B. King* John W. Land Gertrude Lowell* John* & Jane Maroney William T. McLaughlin* Norman Oliver Ethel* & David* Platt Vincent Poppitti Doris & Carl Schnee Charles E. Welch Faith A. Wohl Clarice & Dale Wolf Phyllis M. Wynn*

125th Birthday Celebration Honorary Co-Chairs Martha Carper Jane Castle Michele Denn Lynne Kaufman Carla Markell

125th Birthday Celebration Committee Members Sandy Autman Angela Case Mary Jo Chandler Katy Connolly Annie Coons Sally DeWees Gayle Dillman Carol Gausz Muriel Gilman Linda Harra John W. Land Ellen Levin Tony Lewis Janice Tigani



Acknowledgements The Children & Families First 125th Archive Project, including the publication of this book, would not have been possible without the contributions of many individuals.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to: Our generous Archive Sponsor, the Laffey-McHugh Foundation, which has been a dedicated supporter of Children & Families First for many years Joy Smoker for her ingenious graphic design for the book & displays Bob Yearick for conducting & documenting interviews for our Reminiscences and for his beautiful Foreword Our many supporters and staff who shared their thoughts for our Reminiscences Joe del Tufo for photo portraits of our supporters & staff Archive volunteers Emmett Calhoun, Jamie Freeman, Katrina McCullough, Kristen Stamm, & Morgan Williams for many hours spent cataloging, scanning, & organizing items from the Children & Families First archive Jean Brown, Connie Cooper, & Richard James for their consultation on our archive Kirsten Olson for overseeing the archive project, including researching & writing the book The Delaware Historical Society & Hagley Museum and Library for historical images The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia for their loan of mobile display cases Kevin Noel for designing & building archive display cases Christopher Hartwell for his clever design of our 125th logo & event invitation Children’s Home + Aid of Chicago, whose book documenting their 125 year history was the inspiration for ours Unless otherwise noted, images courtesy of the Children & Families First Archive 46

Children & Families First

We proudly applaud Children & Families First for 125 years of service to the community.


Š 2009 JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Aloysius Butler & Clark proudly salutes Children & Families First on their 125th birthday celebration, congratulations!

A LOYSIUS BUTLER & C LARK A fresh perspective in marketing communications 819 N. Washington Street Wilmington, DE 19801 (302) 655-1552 â– (800) 848-1552



Ellen and Alan Levin and Family congratulate Children & Families First on 125 Years of Caring! K


CHILDREN & FAMILIES FIRST Kistler Tiffany is proud to support Children & Families First as they celebrate 125 years.

Please call Geoffrey M. Rogers for more information at (302) 661-2900 or email geoff.rogers@glenmede.com.


 3801 Kennett Pike, Suite B-200 Greenville, DE 19807 302-428-8611 s 800-832-6669

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate nonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. 1009-3601 10/09 HG


A Thank You to Our Sponsors! Cake, Cocktails & Comedy Lead Sponsor

125th Archive Sponsor

The Laffey McHugh Foundation

Family Services Diamond Sponsor

Benevolent Society Bronze Sponsors

Advertising Sponsors

Ellen and Alan Levin and Family t l t

Our Mission We help families develop solutions to meet challenges and embrace opportunities. Our Vision Communities where: Children are nurtured and safe, Individuals are valued, Families are strong. Our Values: Diversity Empowerment Accountability Respect Collaboration Responsiveness 2005 Baynard Blvd. Wilmington, DE 19802 P: (302) 658-5177 | F: (302) 658-5170 91 Wolf Creek Blvd. Dover, DE 19901 P: (302) 674-8384 | F: (302) 678-5634 410 S. Bedford St. Georgetown, DE 19947 P: (302) 856-2388 | F: (302) 856-2196 Seaford House Residential/Day Treatment Center www.cffde.org

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Children & Families First 125th Anniversary Book - 2009  

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