The Children’s Center of Hamden: 185 Years of Serving Connecticut’s Children

What began in 1833 as The New Haven Orphan Asylum has evolved into one of Connecticut’s most distinguished private, nonprofit child-caring agency. Its founding mission was to ‘relieve, support and educate children who are friendless and destitute.’ Today, The Children’s Center of Hamden is known for its achievement in providing a safe and nurturing environment for children who struggle with learning disabilities, substance abuse, and behavioral, emotional, or psychiatric challenges.

The Children’s Center, located on ten beautifully landscaped acres overlooking Lake Whitney, features a group of small, home-like buildings that are as welcoming as our residential and outpatient treatment programs are accommodating. The Children’s Center was one of the first child-care agencies to introduce the innovative concept of small, home-like cottages for group living instead of the large, somber dormitory-style buildings out of a Dickens novel.

We consistently demonstrate our ability to adapt to the times and the needs of children and their families—and have been doing so for over 185 years.

Childrens Center Intro Video

About the Children’s Center of Hamden

Let those who come here and work here tell our story …

For generations we have created an oasis of hope for children seeking love, guidance, and support when a secure, contented bond between them and their parents is not yet in place at home. Such an oasis requires personnel who consistently demonstrate strength, foresight, boundless energy, and unlimited compassion. That’s who you’ll find working at The Children’s Center of Hamden. We meet and exceed all accreditations, partner with the State and many outstanding groups and associations, and maintain a healthy network of individual, corporate, and organizational donors. That, too, is how we’ve been able to stay so strong.

A major component of our success is the resolve to engage all members of the family as part of every child’s care and treatment. We do this through family therapy, family events, and a wide array of programs and activities that meet the individual needs of our children and also help rebuild respectful, cooperative relationships between them and their families. We continually assess the needs and strengths of everyone involved.

Our goals are accomplished when the children in our programs become happy, responsible individuals and contributing members of their communities. Those goals are met time and time again at The Children’s Center of Hamden.

A Timeline of The Children’s Center:  Creating an Oasis of Hope for Over 7 Generations of Connecticut Children



Our newest initiative: the Young Adult Program helps older teenagers in our Residential Treatment Program acquire the life skills and hands-on experience they need to successfully live on their own once they leave The Children’s Center.


With the goal of keeping families together, the Crisis Stabilization program opened its doors to youngsters, providing short-term respite services while a family crisis is defused.


The Children’s Center opened its Safe Home to provide focused treatment in a short-term living unit for children who, due to abuse, neglect, or other high-risk circumstances can’t be cared for in a family setting.


We created a unique, first-of-its kind program in Connecticut –a stand-alone substance-abuse treatment program for troubled teens.


The Children’s Center became a residential treatment facility for children who suffered from social issues, emotional problems, abuse, and neglect.


We provided a safe haven for British children and mothers escaping the Nazi bombings.


The Children’s Center served as a convalescent home for children with polio and rheumatic fever and as a refuge for children whose parents could no longer provide for them during the Great Depression.


The Children’s Center began its 184-year journey of helping Connecticut’s children. The organization was initially founded as The New Haven Orphan Asylum.