A History of Giving Kids Peace

Since 1882, there have been ...
23 Presidents of the United States,
13 Amendments to the Constitution,
12 new states entered into the union,
and one organization dedicated to the hope, help and healing of children facing crisis...

In 1882, when a smallpox epidemic struck in Pennsylvania, William Thurston, the president of Bethlehem Iron Works (now the famed Bethlehem Steel) founded an interim care facility to provide for the children left orphaned by this devastating disease. Originally called the Children’s Home, the facility would later be known as “Wiley House,” after Captain James Wiley took up the children’s cause and donated a home and six acres of surrounding property.

All throughout the twentieth century – including two World Wars, the Great Depression and countless other traumatizing events – Wiley House and its volunteer board of directors nobly served children in crisis. In the early years, the organization concentrated on providing a safe shelter and basic care for children in need. But, by the late 1960s, the problems facing children had grown increasingly complex and severe. In response, Wiley House expanded its focus to help children overcome their mental and behavioral health crises.

By the dawn of the 21st century, Wiley House had grown to offer the widest, most effective continuum of children’s mental and behavioral health services in America and was renamed KidsPeace to reflect the organization’s evolving national identity and mission.

Today, thousands of people receive treatment from KidsPeace professionals in more than 50 locations across 10 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, KidsPeace has reached millions of people around the world through its public service campaigns, educational and prevention efforts and Internet presence.

Today, every KidsPeace volunteer, staff member and expert remains focused on a singular vision: To be the premier provider of services to help people facing crisis by offering exemplary programs, operational excellence and leadership that inspires caregivers everywhere.