In 1869, three Sisters of Charity opened their doors to save the lives of babies being abandoned on the streets of New York, beginning the tremendous legacy of the New York Foundling. Over the past 149 years, the Sisters’ ministry has continued evolving from a respite home for abandoned children, to a comprehensive spectrum of community support services designed to empower the vulnerable children and families of New York. While social situations and our approach to our mission have evolved, we continue to share our founders’ belief that no one should ever be abandoned, and that all children deserve the right to grow up in loving and stable environments.
Our History of Excellence
40 Years of Support
The Foundling`s Mother/Child program for young mothers celebrates its 40th anniversary, bringing together the incredible stories of the mothers helped by the program Learn about our Young Mother's Support program
The Foundling celebrates its 140th anniversary. Over those 140 years, it is estimated that over 250,000 vulnerable were helped by The Foundling and the Sisters of Charity
Educating Where it's Needed Most
The Foundling, with its partner, Mott Haven Academy Charter School (Haven Academy), undertakes a groundbreaking effort to create the first charter school in the nation specifically designed to meet the needs of children in the child welfare system. Learn more about Mott Haven Academy Charter School
Piloting Alternatives to Incarceration
The Foundling is the only agency selected by ACS to pilot Blue Sky, a $4 million, two-year demonstration project with the potential to fundamentally change the manner in which the juvenile justice system operates. Learn more about our Alternatives to Incarceration
Foundling Receives Accredidation
The agency receives accreditation from the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, not-for-profit, child- and family-service and behavioral healthcare organization which sets standards for service delivery.
Shift to Community-Based Support
The Foundling discontinues its Residential Treatment program on the St. Agatha Campus, reflecting a citywide shift toward community-based support. The Foundling continues to operate 5 cottages providing top-notch care to adults with developmental disabilities.
Advocating for Children Everywhere
The Foundling establishes The Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection to honor Dr. Fontana's contributions to the field of child abuse prevention. The center provides leadership to child abuse prevention and treatment efforts throughout the nation through its Education Center and Research Department. Learn about our Research, Advocacy, and Public Education
Helping Overcome Addiction
The Foundling launches a comprehensive community-centered program to help addicted mothers and children overcome their addictions Learn about our Substance Abuse Treatment Services
Preparing for Adulthood
The Foundlingâ€™s Independent Living Program is initiated to assist youth in foster care to prepare for independent living Learn more about our Transition to Adulthood program
The Foundling moves its central office to its current site at 590 Avenue of the Americas. The building houses residences for young expectant mothers and those with infants, The Maria Lucadamo Crisis Nursery, a Diagnostic Reception Center for young children, and The Foundlingâ€™s administrative offices.
Evolving for the Child
In response to changing needs, the Child Abuse Rehabilitation program is reorganized to be a community-based preventive program that includes a specialized child sexual abuse treatment unit
Giving Puerto Rico a Head Start
The Foundling establishes a Head Start preschool program in Puerto Rico to serve the islandâ€™s isolated, rural areas and low-income urban neighborhoods. Learn more about our Head Start program
A Home for Persons with Disabilities
The Foundling opens group residences for adults with physical and developmental disabilities in Rockland County Learn more about our programs for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
A Safe Place
The Foundlingâ€™s Crisis Nursery opens, offering temporary respite for at-risk children. Learn more about our Crisis Nursery
Caring for the Hearing Impaired
The Foundling establishes family services for deaf children and adults, the first and only foster care prevention program for families who have a deaf family member Learn about our Deaf Services program
St. Agatha Home for Children
St. Agatha Home for Children merges with The Foundling to provide compassionate care for children in a cottage-based campus setting.
Serving The Bronx
Mott Haven Placement Prevention Program for South Bronx families begins. Today, it is the Foundlingâ€™s largest comprehensive community-based program. Learn more about our Preventing Foster Care Placement Services
Strengthening the Family
The first of seven preventive service projects is launched by The Foundling in Staten Island, aimed at strengthening families to prevent foster care placements.
Expanding Beyond New York
The Foundling opens its first foster care department in Puerto Rico
Seton Day Care
Seton Infant Day Care begins at The Foundling, using a Montessori educational model that is still in use today. Elizabeth Seton Day Care and Preschool
Support for Young Mothers
The Foundlingâ€™s Mother Child Program to support young mothers and their babies begins, the first of its kind in New York State Young Mothers Support Program
Protecting and Healing
Dr. Vincent J. Fontana establishes The Foundlingâ€™s Child Abuse Rehabilitation Program as a residential facility for the treatment and prevention of child abuse. Learn more about our Research, Advocacy, and Public Education
The Foundling celebrates its 100th Anniversary with Cardinal Spellman officiating a Mass at St. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral
The First Family Day Care
The Foundlingâ€™s Family Day Care Program begins. It is New York Cityâ€™s first private family day care program.
A Community-Based Approach
The Foundlingâ€™s first community based program is established in Staten Island, marking a departure from institutionalized services toward a more localized approach
A New Facility
State-of-the-art building is erected on Third Avenue at 68th Street in Manhattan.
Supporting Child Development
Dr. Joseph DiLeo opened the pioneering Child Developmental Clinic at The New York Foundling Hospital to assess the emotional and intellectual state of children in care
Going Beyond the Child
St. Maryâ€™s Shelter for Pregnant Women is established, beginning the long legacy of caring for mothers in vulnerable situations
Training More Caregivers
Pediatric Nurse training program is established.
The Golden Jubilee
The Foundling celebrates its Golden Jubilee. In those first 50 years, 70,100 children were admitted and 16,967 needy mothers were helped.
Over 27,000 Served
The number of children who have come through The Foundlingâ€™s doors exceeds 27,000.
Pediatric Hospital Established
St. Johnâ€™s Pediatric Hospital is added to The Foundlingâ€™s 68th street complex to address the medical needs of the children.
Helping Working Mothers
Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbon establishes a day nursery for pre-school children of working mothers, one of the first of its kind to tailor to the needs of working mothers
A New Home
The Foundling moves to its new home on East 68th street, a complex built with many special needs of children in mind
The First Adoption
The Foundlingâ€™s first recorded adoption occurs, realizing the intent of the Sisters of Charity to place all of their children in permanent and loving settings
The State Takes Notice
The Foundling receives a state grant for $100,000 to build a home to children on the Upper East Side.
October 11, 1869
Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbon and two other Sisters of Charity welcome their first abandoned infant to their brownstone on East 12th street.
Our Leadership Today
The Foundling’s highly-qualified leadership team is united by shared values and are committed to our mission to support children, adults, and families in reaching their full potential.