The First Century: Institutional Care of Children in Orphanages and Trade Schools
1797: Yellow Fever Epidemic prompted St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Women’s League to establish the Roman Catholic Society of St. Joseph for the Maintenance and Education of Orphans (care in private homes)
1806: St. John’s Orphan Asylum established for boys and girls; the Sisters of Charity under St. Elizabeth Ann Seton assumed staffing and administration in 1814 (later became St. Joseph Catholic Home for Children)
1829: St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum for Girls established by Sisters of Charity; St. John’s Orphan Asylum for Boys assumed by Sisters of St. Joseph, and merged with St. Vincent’s Male Orphan Asylum in 1836
1855: St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum of Tacony founded with help of St. John Neumann and Drexel family funds; staffed by School Sisters of Notre Dame since 1859 (now St. Vincent Homes)
1863: Catholic Home for Destitute Children established with Drexel funds to care for dependent and neglected girls, staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph (later became St. Joseph Catholic Home for Children)
1888: St. Joseph’s House for Homeless Industrious Boys founded in Philadelphia, staffed by Holy Ghost Fathers and Immaculate Heart Sisters (now in Bensalem, as St. Francis—St. Joseph Homes for Children)
1889: St. Francis de Sales Industrial School (De LaSalle Christian Brothers) in Eddington, PA; (now in Bensalem, as St. Francis—St. Joseph Homes for Children)
1895: Philadelphia Protectory for Boys founded in Audobon, PA to care for delinquent youth, staffed by the De LaSalle Christian Brothers (now St. Gabriel’s Hall)
First Half of the 20th Century: Services for Children and Special Needs Populations
1912: Catholic Charities Office created in Philadelphia as part of nationwide charitable efforts
1916: St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children established in Philadelphia to serve polio victims, staffed by Sisters of Bon Secours (moved to Rosemont in 1956, now St. Edmond’s Home for Children)
1919: Catholic Children’s Bureau incorporated to centralize child welfare efforts, find foster homes and adoptive families for neglected and dependent children; in 1920 Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Trinity assumed administration and staffing (incorporated as Catholic Social Services in 1964)
1948: St. Mary of Providence School established in Elverson by Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence to care for women with mental retardation (moved to Springfield in 1984, now Divine Providence Village)
Post WW II: Serving New Needs within Developing Social Work Model
1950: First suburban county Family Service Center office established to offer counseling and emergency assistance (now 7 Family Strengthenning Centers located in all five counties of Philadelphia area)
1954: Casa Del Carmen opened to serve new Puerto Rican immigrants (now serves all Latinos)
1955: Catholic Charities Corporation formed to consolidate archdiocesan charity works
1958: Catholic Charities Appeal established to fund charitable and social services
1960: Don Guanella School opened in Springfield, Delaware County to serve boys and young men with mental retardation, administered by Servants of Charity
1963: St. John’s Hospice opens to provide shelter and meals to homeless men on “skid row”
1964: Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia incorporated; lay men and women recruited for administration, supervisory, counseling and social work staff
1967: Services to the aging initiated at Star Harbor Senior Center (now one of four Senior Community Centers)
1970’s: Expansion of Services and Movement to Community-based Services
1972: St. Gabriel’s System created to unify services to delinquent youth; community-based services and day treatment program, De la Salle Vocational School, opens in Bensalem
1973: Nutritional Development Services created to manage school food programs and community cupboards
1974: Catholic Social Services Board of Directors established to oversee range of charitable agencies
1974: Dedicated funding partnership with United Way of Southeastern PA established
1975: Refugee Resettlement Services established to respond to Southeast Asian newcomers; program expanded to full range of Immigration Services in early 1980’s
1976: Cardinal Krol Center opened on Don Guanella Village campus to serve adult men with mental retardation
1976: Mercy Hospice opened as shelter for homeless women (now women in recovery)
The Last Few Decades: Reorganization, Consolidation, and more Community-Based Service models
1981: Public funding cuts in child welfare result in downsized institutional residences, move toward community group homes, family preservation programs, and more services delivered in client homes
1985: Women of Hope founded to serve homeless women with mental illness; Housing and Homeless Services created to unify a number of previously independent shelters and gain government funding
1986: CSS first accredited by Council on Accreditation for Services to Families and Children
1987: Reorganization creates Secretariat for Catholic Human Services to unify Catholic Social Services, Catholic Health Care Services, and Nutritional Development Services
1989: Children’s Residential Services created to coordinate foster care, family preservation, and residential programs serving dependent children.
1989: Mental Retardation Services (now Developmental Programs) created to integrate various MR facilities into CSS, gain ICFMR licensing, and open community living arrangements (CLA’s).
1998: Good Shepherd Program and McAuley House established to serve medically fragile homeless men and women, primarily those with HIV/AIDS
1998: St. Gabriel’s System opens Brother Rousseau Academy for young first-time offenders, and the Mitchell Program in Audubon as short-term residential agricultural program
1999: CSS reorganizes into six service divisions to enhance operational efficiency: Administrative Services, Children’s Services, Family Services, Housing and Homeless Services, Juvenile Justice Services, Mental Retardation Services
2001: The Office for Community Development established as division of Catholic Human Services, to promote neighborhood revitalization projects in conjunction with CSS & CHCS
2003: Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center opens under administration of CSS, as first completed building project of Office for Community Development
2004: Visitation Homes opens, to provide transitional housing for women and children
2006: Beacon Centers (now called Out of School Time Programs) open at five Archdiocesan parochial schools run by CSS (currently operating at ten sites).
2013: Operating Base Cecilia (located in the former St. Cecilia Parochial School in Coatesville, Chester County) opens in partnership with the Veterans Multi-Service Center to assist homeless veterans and their families.
2013: Don Guanella Village undergoes major transition from campus-based residence to community group homes, and Divine Providence Village Day Programs move from DGV campus to Our Lady of Fatima school in Secane.
2014: Fatima Catholic Outreach Center opens in partnership with St. Mary Medical Center at former Our Lady of Fatima parish in Bensalem, to serve Hispanic population in that region.