National Florence Crittenton Mission

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The National Florence Crittenton Mission was an organization established in 1883 by Charles N. Crittenton. Its general object was to assist all women and girls who were in trouble. Especial attention was paid to young girls who were pregnant or trying to leave prostitution; they were provided with shelter and cared for. Employment was secured for them and they were encouraged to return to a normal life.

In 1890, the second Florence Crittenton Home was opened in San Jose, California. Shortly thereafter, pioneering female physician Dr. Kate Waller Barrett joined Charles Crittenton as the driving force behind the organization and helped expand the Crittenton movement into a network of affiliated homes that at its peak included 76 homes across the U.S. in addition to homes in China, France, Japan and Mexico.[1]

This turn-of-the-century social welfare movement helped shape the professionalization of social work, and changed social attitudes about motherhood and the role of women in society. Dr. Barrett's views on the education and training of women were considered radical at the time, but these ideas were adopted into the services provided to young women and girls at many Crittenton homes.[2]

A special act of Congress in 1898, signed by President McKinley, granted a national charter in perpetuity to the National Florence Crittenton Mission. This was the first charten given to a charitable organization. The headquarters of the national mission was in Washington, D. C. The largest work of the mission was carried out in New York City.

In 1950, there were two organizations associated with the original mission: the National Florence Crittenton Mission and the Florence Crittenton Homes Association, which had its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. In 1976, the Florence Crittenton Association of America merged with the Child Welfare League of America. The Florence Crittenton Mission continued to provide financial support to the Crittenton Division of the Child Welfare League.[3]

In 2006, The National Florence Crittenton Mission adopted a new name: The National Crittenton Foundation.[4] The organization separated from the Child Welfare League of America and returned to being a stand-alone organization affiliated with dozens of Crittenton-affliated agences around the country. The National Crittenton Foundation's headquarters are located in Portland, Oregon. In April 2008, the National Crittenton Foundation celebrates its 125th anniversary of providing service to vulnerable young women and girls.

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