It all started in 1882.

The Children’s Home of Stockton (CHS) was established in 1882, originally created by a small group of ladies who formed the Ladies Aide Society of Stockton for the purpose of rendering charitable services to the City of Stockton. They recognized the need for a children’s shelter that provided services for dependent and neglected children and so they opened CHS as an orphanage. Today, CHS is one of the largest social services organizations in Stockton, and the only licensed Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program STRTP in San Joaquin County, that has been serving at-risk youth in San Joaquin County and throughout California for over 137 years. CHS also offers an on-campus one.Vision alternative education program for our residential students which is operated through the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Each year, the Children’s Home of Stockton provides approximately 150 children and adolescents with comprehensive educational and therapeutic services. Our goal is to create an environment that mentors civility, expects responsibility, and promotes kindness.

A lot can change in 137 years.

52-bed Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program” and change last sentence to “Children’s Home of Stockton is certified as a Medi-Cal Provider offering Specialty Mental Health Services and additionally offers an extensive Transition Aftercare Program designed to support students and their families for up to six months after they leave.” Add at the end of that paragraph “CHS also offers an on-campus one.Vision alternative education program for our residential students which is operated through the San Joaquin County Office of Education.

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Milestones

1882 PhotographIn 1882, a small group of ladies gathered and formed the Ladies Aide Society of Stockton for the purpose of “rendering charitable services to the City of Stockton.” In fact, they recognized the need for a home to care for the neglected and dependent children of the community and that was their only focus.

1883 PhotographIn 1883, the Ladies Aid Society of Stockton accomplished their first major goal with the opening of a children’s home in a rented house located on South San Joaquin Street.

1901 PhotographIn 1940, the Children’s Home of Stockton received its license to operate as a children’s home by the California Social Welfare Department. Enrollment during this period was generally constant at twenty-five to thirty girls and the same for boys. Community support continued, but, as today, was restricted by economic conditions. Through it all, the Home was more important than ever and provided its greatest service to the children of the community during those hard times.

1908 PhotographIn 1908, enough funds had been gathered by the Ladies Aid Society to buy the half city block opposite Constitution Square for $2,600.

The period of 1908 through 1912 was perhaps the biggest era in the history of the Home. It was certainly the busiest. The site was acquired, the building fund of $10,000 was augmented by a $20,000 bequest from a prominent civic leader, an architect was hired and the building was completed. When finished, the Home was expected to accommodate up to 100 children and included dormitories, an infirmary, kitchen, laundry and all the “modern” conveniences. The two-story and basement structure comprise 5,700 square feet on each floor and continues to serve the Home today as its Administrative Office Building. (The building was named the “Mark S. Phelps Building” in early 2011 in recognition of a past Executive Director who served CHS from August 1985 until his untimely passing in June 2010.)

1940 PhotographIn 1940, the Children’s Home of Stockton received its license to operate as a children’s home by the California Social Welfare Department. Enrollment during this period was generally constant at twenty-five to thirty girls and the same for boys. Community support continued, but, as today, was restricted by economic conditions. Through it all, the Home was more important than ever and provided its greatest service to the children of the community during those hard times.

1943 PhotographIn 1943, during WWII, there were 59 children in residence. Twenty had been assigned by Probation, three by County Welfare, and the remaining children were “private boarding cases.” Although the war was in full swing, there is no mention in the Board minutes of its existence. Their efforts remained zeroed in on the operation of the Home and the care of the children. Food was being rationed, so a Victory Garden was formed and through a 4-H club membership, the children grew enough produce to provide for all the needs of the Home. Also in the summer of 1943, outside activities were restricted due to a polio epidemic.

1948 PhotographBy 1948, in the post-World War II era, the sources of new children coming to the Home had changed. Now children were either assigned to the Home by county departments or were considered “boarders” placed in the Home by their families, who were expected to pay. Of course, charity cases continued, but the Home was no longer rescuing waifs in the sense of 1883. The Home was serving the same children; they were just coming from new sources.

1967 PhotographIn 1967, the Board of Directors adopted a new policy of only accepting children between the ages of 8 and 15 years of age. By so doing, it was believed that more age-appropriate services could be rendered to the children. But the Board deplored the lack of facilities to serve the needs of older teens and began plans to create an Annex for this specific population.

1970 PhotographIn 1970, the goal of building the Annex to help older teens was realized through generous donations of money, time and materials from the community. The same year it saw the construction and opening of the swimming pool on campus and all but two of the children had become safe swimmers by summer’s end.

1975 PhotographBy 1975, the Home was no longer an orphanage as it had been in 1883, but was now serving a population with emotional and behavioral challenges. This change had led to the increased need of staffing – from a single motherly matron to a ratio of one adult to every six children. Staff skill levels and educational requirements had changed as well, becoming dominated by skilled professional social workers and clinicians.

1995 PhotographIn 1995, Children’s Home entered its second era of change, with the start of a new building fundraising campaign to raise one million dollars. This new era was begun by a total commitment to make the Home as exemplary in this new age as it had been in the past. The new facilities were built on the same parcel, behind the original building, with frontage on Lindsay Street.

2012 PhotographIn 2012, Lindsay Street, between Airport Boulevard and N. Pilgrim Street, was incorporated into the campus of CHS to create a park-like setting for use during family visits or for just sitting outside. The campus also includes three cottages that house eight to ten children each in a home-like atmosphere; three separate, three-bedroom houses on the south side of the campus; and a transition home in the community just west of Pershing Avenue. CHS also boasts a modern, up-to-date Non-Public Special Education School, with the capability of educating children from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.

2015 PhotographIn 2015, there was a shift to the Group Home Rate Classification and CHS qualified to become a Level 12 from a Level 9.

2016 PhotographIn 2016, CHS became nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation to further adapt to the changes brought about by Residential Care Reform in California.

2018 PhotographIn 2018, CHS became licensed as a Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) by the Department of Social Services. CHS is the first agency in San Joaquin County and the state of California to receive the honor of its application to be approved with no edits.

2019 PhotographIn 2019, CHS became an approved provider of Specialty Mental Health Services from the Department of Health Care Services and certified by the San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services. In 2019, in response to the California Continuum of Care Reform, CHS made the decision to restructure and no longer operate the Non-Public School (NPS) effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.