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Children’s Home Society continues legacy of protecting the youngest

Children’s Home Society continues legacy of protecting the youngest

Marcia Macy

Children’s Home Society (CHS) is the oldest charity in the state of Florida and its origins make your heart ache. When you look back to the early 1900s, orphans were put on a train up north and then selected — or not — as the train stopped at little towns on its journey south, all the way to the final destination in Jacksonville.

I’m not sure which would be worse, being selected on the way down by who knows what kind of people or being left out and remaining on the train until its last stop.

Either way, the children remaining had no homes and thus CHS was born in 1902. CHS has aided in the creation of legislation to protect children’s rights. The organization also has played an integral role in enacting child labor laws and drafted the Compulsory Education Law. It rallied for the creation of the State Welfare Board and the agency that would become the Department of Children and Families.

Now a statewide organization, the Brevard County facilities occupy the Hacienda Girls Ranch, a 25-acre campus donated anonymously in 1971 on Croton Road in Melbourne. There you will find innumerable activities including group housing and transitional homes, day care and counseling service, compassion and profound understanding.

Founded originally by the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs (now called GFWC Florida) the Hacienda Girls Ranch itself evolved in 1971 and is focused on serving up to 18 young women facing homelessness as they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for foster care.  

Counseling services empower families to work through and overcome the unique roadblocks for individuals and families. Additionally CHS offers award-winning telemedicine/telepsychiatry services to complement counseling. This provides children video sessions with a board-certified psychiatrist.

Volunteers are encouraged to become a charter member of The Circle of Friends. Founded this past fall, the Circle provides access to involvement in creating a world where all children and families realize their full potential.

CHS continues to fight for legislation protecting the rights of children and families and expands services to respond to evolving social needs. More than 2,000 employees annually help more than 50,000 children and family members strive for success.

You can support CHS through several events each year including:

  • April 21: Portraits of Possibilities Child Advocate of the Year Gala at The Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront
  • June 1: Caribbean Island Party at Exploration Tower

Please contact Janet Jones at 321-752-3170 for details. We also welcome you to attend one of our monthly breakfasts at Panera Bread, beachside on Eau Gallie Boulevard.  

Portraits of Possibilities Child Advocate of the Year Gala

When: April 21, 6 - 10 p.m.

Where: Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront

More information:

Marcia Macy serves as Development Specialist to the Brevard County branch of Children’s Home Society, building a volunteer core through the Circle of Friends and directing fundraising events. She brings 35 years of publishing experience, including mentoring through more than 1,000 yearbooks, 60 integrated media workshops and countless high school and college students through their involvement in journalism.


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