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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch


The Children’s Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania was founded in 1885 as the Children's Aid Society of Allegheny County, making it the first children’s social service agency in the region. From 1885-1889 their offices were located at 708 Penn Ave; from 1890 onward, their offices were located at 76 Sixth Ave. In the beginning, the Children’s Aid Society dealt directly with Allegheny County children and started the first foster care program in the area. In 1893, the organization developed into a coordinating agency, with chapters all over western Pennsylvania. The Children’s Aid Society primarily helped the county chapters secure necessary funding and develop services like foster care programs, leisure-time activities, and counselling. Moreover, the Children’s Aid Society did a lot of the administration duties for the local chapters, allowing chapters to focus on direct services to needy children.

Each year, the Children’s Aid Society held an annual conference for all their county chapters to meet, discuss the business of the year, and learn from guest speakers on how to better provide services for needy children, especially those living in rural areas. In 1936, thirty-seven social agencies from seventeen counties were represented at the annual meeting. Each chapter provided different services, depending on the specific needs of their area.

The Children’s Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania, the Children’s Service Bureau, and Associated Charities all offered similar services, and after a 1930 investigation by Community Chest (one of their major benefactors), the organizations started the merger process. In 1948 they merged and became the Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, which still exists today.