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History

Family and Children's Service of Ithaca is one of the oldest existing human service agencies in Tompkins County. Our origins date back to the establishment of the Ithaca Children's Home in 1885, an orphanage located on West State Street. The Ithaca Children’s Home was comprised of two programs at the time: a residential home for both orphaned and destitute children, and a day nursery.

During the 1930s, the Ithaca Children’s Home worked closely with the Family Society of Ithaca, a welfare relief agency that distributed food, clothing, and financial assistance to the city’s neediest families. The Family Society was the primary resource in the community for providing family and marriage counseling, a service that continues to be in demand today.

In 1957, The Ithaca Children’s Home and The Family Society merged to better serve the needs of the community and officially formed Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca. Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca became the primary human service agency for mental health counseling, adoption, and foster care.

In the 1980s, we expanded our services, developing a Respite Program for Seniors, a Youth Services program for at risk youth, and an Employee Assistance program for local employers.

Today, Family & Children’s Service of Ithaca resides in its new home at 127 West State Street and serves over two thousand individuals annually through our Mental Health and Children’s Mental Health Program, Psychiatry, Employee Assistance Program, Youth Services and Senior Services. Our mission has always been, and will continue to be, to serve the needs of both individuals and families… at any age, at every stage of life.

1885 - today

View Timeline (PDF)

History photo