New York's Children's Aid Society Fights Stress and Generations of Poverty
In the 1850s in New York City, orphan asylums and almshouses were the only "social services" available for homeless children. But Charles Loring Brace, the founder of The Children's Aid Society, was determined not to choose between the squalid slums and New York City streets or the orphan asylum. He was convinced that the institutional care of the day stunted and destroyed children, and decided that all children needed families in order to grow into happy and productive adults.
Sociologists have studied and described the constant stress of poverty. By lifting a generation of New York City children out of the stress of poverty, The Children's Aid Society was lifting future generations from poverty too. The challenge remains today, as reported in a Cornell University Study, and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The studies found that there is an adverse relationship between poverty and memory, demonstrating that the stress of poverty can affect the way that a child's brains develops.
Believing that healthcare, education and a wholesome family atmosphere were the keys to brighter futures, The Children Aid Society's progressive ideas have translated into far-reaching services and reforms for poor and homeless children, working women and needy families. Through the work of The Children's Aid Society, needy New York City children and families have avoided much of the daily stress and suffering of poverty, and over the last 150 years, generations have been lifted up.