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“Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order…”
 — Eudora Welty                      


1882William Thurston founds The Thurston Home for Children.

1886The orphanage is incorporated as The Children’s Home of South Bethlehem.

1895Captain James Wiley donates enough money to build a new, larger home on Broadway in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The new home is dedicated The Annie Wiley Children’s Home in honor of the captain’s late wife – but is commonly referred to as The Children’s Home of South Bethlehem.

1910Forty children between the ages of 2 and 14 receive care and support at The Children’s Home.

1926The name is changed to The Children’s Home of Bethlehem
and Allentown.

1930In the midst of the Great Depression, growing numbers of children in need compel the organization to shift focus from orphanage to foster care services.

1943 The Children’s Home of Bethlehem and Allentown becomes known as Wiley House.

1948The Wiley House Ladies’ Auxiliary is formed.

1958Inspired by a children’s rights conference in Washington, DC, Wiley House staff hire a case worker and revise intake policies, laying the foundation for today’s treatment programs.

1961Children’s mental health services become the primary focus.

1974The deteriorating, 79-year-old Wiley House structure is demolished, clearing the way for the new Child Development Center and several residential “cottages.”

1977As an alternative to institutionalization, Wiley House offers its first day-treatment programs.

1978Washington School, Allentown, Pennsylvania, is purchased to house the expanding education program.

1979Wiley House reintroduces therapeutic foster care services into its list of programs as the Intensive Treatment Family (ITF) program opens its first offices in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

1982Wiley House celebrates 100 years of service to children in the Lehigh Valley and receives a letter of commendation from President Ronald Reagan.

Wiley House hosts its first annual National Conference, an event designed to provide timely, practical information to those who work with children.

1984Construction of the new, structurally innovative Child Development Therapeutic Recreation Center (CDTRC) begins at the Broadway Campus.

New ITF site opens in Pennsylvania.

1986ITF opens two new offices in Pennsylvania.

1987William Penn School in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is added to the educational program. Wiley House schools are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

1988Two new campuses are added to the Wiley House continuum: the Blue Ridge Campus, a diagnostic center in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, and the Berks County Advances Program, a day treatment program and school in Reading, Pennsylvania.

New foster care (ITF) site opens in Pennsylvania.

1990New foster care (ITF) site opens in Pennsylvania.

1991Wiley House opens a residential treatment campus on the shores of Graham Lake in Ellsworth, Maine.

Wiley House unveils a plan for a new, state-of-the-art campus nestled on more than 255 acres of apple orchards in the rolling hills of Orefield, Pennsylvania.

Foster care (ITF) opens its first Indiana site.

1992To clearly convey the mission of the growing organization, the name is officially changed to KidsPeace®.

Renowned psychologist and author Lee Salk, Ph.D., becomes KidsPeace’s first National Advisor for Prevention Services.

Trusty the Goldfish® appears for the first time in a nationally televised public service announcement.

The National Referral Network and the Affiliates Network are initiated.

New foster care (ITF) site opens in Pennsylvania.

KidsPeace National Entertainment Council® and KidsPeace International Advisory Panel for Prevention Services are formed.

1993KidsPeace Hospital®, Orefield, Pennsylvania, opens its doors, offering acute inpatient services for children who require a deeper level of care.

KidsPeace announces at its Washington, DC, press conference the results of the organization’s National Survey of Kids in Crisis and Parenting, and the inauguration of The Lee Salk Center® at KidsPeace.

The “24 Ways to Stop Child Abuse” campaign is launched; “Seven Standards for Effective Parenting” brochure is released.

Foster care (ITF) opens its first New York office, as well as new sites in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

1994KidsPeace founds National KidsDay®, a national holiday to celebrate and honor kids, and hosts the first annual Kids’ Bike Rodeo at the Orchard Hills Campus.

Two new foster care (ITF) offices are opened in Pennsylvania and Indiana.

1995KidsPeace announces at its Washington, DC, press conference the results of the organization’s National Preteen Survey. Survey results reach 300 million people in 68 countries through media coverage.

KidsPeace National Sports Council® is formed.

New foster care (ITF) site opens in Pennsylvania.

1996KidsPeace opens Dual Diagnosis program in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

New public service campaign “15 Ways to Help Your Child Through Crisis” launches nationwide.

Three new foster care (ITF) offices open in Georgia, Indiana, and New Jersey.

KidsPeace and Family Fun magazine successfully host the Family Fun Run on Father’s Day in Central Park (New York) as a way to celebrate KidsPeace’s National Family Month™.

1997Four new foster care (ITF) offices open in New York and Indiana.

1998Mesabi Academy of KidsPeace®, a juvenile justice facility with a clinical component, opens in Buhl, Minnesota.

TeenCentral®.Net, an innovative, interactive Web site for teens, is launched.

Congressional legislation recognizing National KidsDay and National Family Month is passed with House Concurrent Resolution #302 of the 105th Congress.

The KidsPeace Auxiliary commemorates 50 years of service to KidsPeace.

1999Nine new foster care (ITF) offices open in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Maine.

2000KidsPeace extends its residential and educational services into the New York area with the Seneca Wood Campus in Romulus, New York.

Four new foster care (ITF) offices open in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and Maryland.

2001Two new foster care (ITF) offices open in North Carolina.

KidsPeace hosts its first annual fundraising Gala.


In order to deliver the highest quality of service and treatment to kids in crisis, KidsPeace founds the KidsPeace Institute.  Its mission: to provide research, education, and training opportunities for those who work with our nation’s kids.

2002KidsPeace opens KidsPeace Prairie Academy in Worthington, Minnesota.

Intensive Treatment Family (ITF) program officially changes its name to Foster Care and Family Services (FCFS).

Today, 120 years since its inception, KidsPeace offers the largest continuum of children’s mental health care services in the country, helping, treating, and giving peace to thousands of kids in 50 locations in 10 states across the United States and millions more through prevention and public educational efforts.

2003KidsPeace Heritage Museum celebrates grand opening.

2004 KidsPeace opens a new, state-of-the-art residential facility in Bowdon, GA.

To help address the rising epidemic of childhood obesity, KidsPeace, in partnership with consumer concept group Mass Connections, launches the innovative media campaign “Join the Fight to Help Kids Eat Right.”

2005After Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans, LA, and much of the surrounding area, KidsPeace kids and staff from all locations organize several fundraisers to help those in need.

2006KidsPeace Community Programs of Florida opens.

2007KidsPeace celebrates 125 years of providing hope, help and healing to children facing crisis.





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