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    vintage photo of kids with gifts in front of a Christmas tree

    Care Based Approach

    The activities of the Children’s Home staff indicated that the Home moved to a care based approach for the administration of aid and child welfare. For example, Director Bartholomew spoke at conference in New York City on the “The Role of Group Work and Recreation in Institutional Life” in 1956.  In 1957, Marion Sears, the Children’s Home social worker at the time, attended a statewide conference on child care in the sphere of public welfare. In a brief interview with The Poughkeepsie Journal, Sears explained that the main emphasis of the conference was “prevention of social problems than later cure,’ and went on to say that it is an institution’s duty to provide more than just shelter and care. These new ideas informed numerous activities and community outreach programs for home residents, for example collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, all children at the attended local schools, such as Violet Avenue Elementary School and local churches including First Presbyterian, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. This lent a sense of normalcy to the lives of children despite the lack of a stable family life. This perspective was discreetly expressed through much of the Children’s Home publicity and public appeals at the time. For example, one pamphlet sent to potential donors asked for funds “in order to continue and build sound future citizen”’, implying that without the Children’s Home services, disadvantaged children could turn to delinquency and threaten the stability of future generations.

    Children now not only came from Dutchess, but Putnam, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, and Westchester counties as well. In 1957, recently widowed Mrs. Race took the helm again. By decade’s end, the majority of the children were teens; more than 4,000 children had been served, the budget passed the $100,000 mark, and the annual campaign goal reached $30,000. The Home received the American Legion’s 1959 award for “outstanding contribution to the welfare of the community.”