DePelchin Children’s Center Celebrates 125 Years: May 2, 1892 – May 2, 2017

DePelchin Faith Home’s first location on Washington Avenue in the late 19th century.

In 1892, Kezia Payne DePelchin – a pioneering teacher, nurse and social worker – took a leap of faith and accepted into her care three orphaned infants for whom no other accommodations were available. DePelchin cared for the children in two borrowed rooms at the home of a friend, relying on her personal earnings and donations from caring Houstonians. Within a few months on May 2, 1892, DePelchin moved the children into a small, rented house. DePelchin stated, “I suppose I will have to call it my ‘Faith Home.’ I’m entirely dependent on my faith in God and the good people of Houston to support it.”

DePelchin died within a year of opening her orphanage, but the Houston community embraced her vision, adopted the home and helped it to grow. The young boys whom she cared for at the small frame house on Washington Avenue were the first of thousands to benefit from Faith Home. DePelchin’s location moved throughout the city before settling in its current location on 12 acres of wooded land at 4950 Memorial Drive.

DePelchin Children’s Center’s Kinder Program Services Building.

In 1983, DePelchin Faith Home changed its name to DePelchin Children’s Center to reflect DePelchin’s identity as a multi-disciplinary agency with many new programs, including post adoption counseling, maternity care, day treatment and home-based therapy. Today, the center cares for children by integrating prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system. DePelchin has expanded beyond Houston to help children across Texas with locations in Austin, Brownwood, Lubbock and San Antonio.

Over the years, many have attempted to chronicle the dates and events that shaped Houston’s oldest family service agency, but the complete history of DePelchin Children’s Center is not easily put into words and can never be fully documented. It lives mainly in the memories and hearts of the children and families, who during their darkest – and happiest – hours, have passed through its doors.

Visit www.depelchin.org to learn more about celebrating 125 years with DePelchin.


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