The History of Childhaven

Since 1909, Childhaven has been a safe and nurturing place for children. From our earliest days as one of Seattle’s first child care centers for working mothers to our position today as a national leader in caring for abused and neglected children, we’ve healed old hurts, nurtured young lives and empowered families to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and create lifelong loving relationships.

A Century of Caring for Children

1909 – 1959 1960 – 1979 1980 – 1999 2000 – Present

Date Milestone
2016 Today, Childhaven serves some 300 young children and their families each year in three locations. Our model childhood trauma treatment program has been replicated in communities throughout the state, in other parts of the United States and in Canada.
2011 Maria Chavez WilcoxMaria Chavez Wilcox becomes executive director of Childhaven, bringing with her two decades of nonprofit experience and a deep commitment to healing children and breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect.
2009 home photoChildhaven celebrates 100 years of caring for the most vulnerable children in our community.
2000-2004 2004 historyFollowing a successful five-year, $15 million capital campaign, the new Broadway Center opens on the First Hill site of the former Seattle Day Nursery. More than 2,000 individuals, corporations and foundations contribute to the campaign to modernize and sustain their treasured community resource. The John Wilson Branch is merged into the new expanded Broadway Center.
1998 Results of the HB 1207 studies are published in the peer-reviewed journal, Child Maltreatment. The research — which studied children during their therapy and 12 years later as teenagers — proves that Childhaven children are six times less likely to have committed a violent juvenile crime, better adjusted in school, and two and half times less likely to abuse drugs. Also, their families received half as much money in welfare cash grants, medical coupons and food stamps as the comparison group.
1992 1992 historyThe Patrick L. Gogerty Branch opens in Auburn, named in honor of the father of the modern-day Childhaven.
1990 Childhaven receives a legislative grant for a follow-up study on HB 1207 research.
1987 historyChildhaven’s Eli Creekmore Memorial Branch opens in Burien, named in memory of a 4-year-old Snohomish boy whose death by horrific abuse at the hands of his father helped spur broad improvements in the state’s oversight of child abuse cases.
1976-1992 Early Education Mobile Resource vans offer training and support to child care centers and home-based child care in three counties.
1985 Firmly committed to the mission of breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect while caring for its youngest victims, Seattle Day Nursery changes its name to Childhaven.
1977 history thanksThe agency begins its Therapeutic Child Care Program for children from birth through age 5, an innovative approach that focuses on helping the child regardless of parental participation and putting the child’s safety and needs first. It was revolutionary at the time. Other social service programs focused on family unity; if the parents weren’t involved, the child wasn’t served.
1974-1976 MOHAI kids napping 1942After doing research and visiting other programs around the country, executive director Pat Gogerty, with the help of Child Protective Services, determines that the most vulnerable children are those age 2 and younger who could not speak for themselves, were home alone with parents, and often weren’t seen by the public (unlike older children who attended school).
1974 With passage of the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, Pat Gogerty sets about securing new state funds for a new child abuse prevention program.
1973 Patrick L. Gogerty is hired as executive director. Coming from a troubled childhood himself — his alcoholic father frequently abused the family, and all of the siblings spent time in foster care — Pat drew from his own life and his earlier work with juvenile offenders to shape Seattle Day Nursery’s program.
1972 The State of Washington mandates reporting of child abuse; HB 1207 dedicates funding for research into the effectiveness of therapeutic child care.
1965 aluminum foil 1960sHead Start is founded, offering early learning opportunities for low-income children. Seattle Day Nursery helps bring the program to Seattle, and is also involved in the Model Cities child care program for the disadvantaged.
1959 women at John Wilson branch 1962A Board of Trustees is formed, ending 50 years of volunteer management.
1953 Washington State pays $33,000 for the Eastlake property to make way for Interstate 5, and the branch moves to a new location nearby. It is christened the John Wilson Branch in 1961.
1941 kids drinking milk 1942While their mothers worked at Boeing and other war-time enterprises during World War II, their children were safely cared for at Seattle Day Nursery.
1921 1921A new nursery building is erected on Seattle’s First Hill. Childhaven’s Broadway Center now occupies the same location.
1911 1911Seattle Day Nursery Association is incorporated and purchases the old Kenny home at 302 Broadway to serve as the child care center.
1909 1909Seattle Day Nursery is founded by Rev. Mark Matthews in the basement of Seattle’s First Presbyterian Church for the children of mothers “forced” to work to care for their families. Fees are based on ability to pay and range between a nickel and a quarter a day. Community members support operations by donating food and volunteering their time to watch over children.

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