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Children's Service Bureau Records

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The Children's Service Bureau provided adoption and foster care services, and in-home counselling for underprivileged children in Pittsburgh from 1908-1948. These records contain annual reports from 1931-1944.

About the Children's Service Bureau

The Children’s Service Bureau - a division within Associated Charities, from its founding in 1908 until internal dissent split the two groups in 1913 – was created to more directly advocate on the behalf of underprivileged children. Soon after the split, the Children’s Service Bureau helped create the Children’s Aid Society of Allegheny County. In 1928 the Children’s Service Bureau became one of the first twenty-five charitable organizations funded by the Chamber of Commerce’s Welfare Fund, otherwise known as the Community Chest. The Children’s Service Bureau offices were located at the following downtown buildings: 354 Frick Building, 405 Jones Law Building, and 740 Wabash Building. David J. Terry and Susan M. Boyd were executive secretaries during the first two decades of the organization’s history.

From 1928 until the Child Service Bureau’s merger into the Family and Children’s Services of Allegheny County, Community Chest was the principle monetary supporter of the Children’s Service Bureau. With the support from Community Chest, the Children’s Service Bureau expanded the services it offered every year. One of the many organizations that participated in what later became known as the Progressive Movement, the Child Service Bureau investigated reports of neglect and abandonment, and in some cases temporarily placed children in safer environments, acting like foster care. The Children’s Service Bureau owned a boarding house, where children under age sixteen could live and receive counselling until they were adopted by a good family. They also offered limited services for juvenile pre-delinquents, by offering in-home counselling. In 1931, social workers at the Children’s Service Bureau made an effort to put juvenile delinquents in a safer home living situation, but nobody was willing to adopt them. During the Great Depression, when funds were scarce, Social Workers at the Children’s Service Bureau had a difficult time distinguishing between children living in extreme poverty and children being neglected.

Associated Charities, Children’s Service Bureau, and the Children’s Aid Society of Allegheny County each operated separately until 1948, when they, along with other social welfare groups, merged and became Family and Children’s Services of Allegheny County, and later changed names to the Family and Children’s Services of Western Pennsylvania, which still exists today.

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