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Lucas County Children Services

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Late 1800s
Name ChangeLucas County Children's Home in 1896
On March 12, 1890, the Home came under the auspices of the County government and the name was changed to the Lucas County Children's Home.

Services
During the late 1800s, a statewide movement resulted in the construction of many orphanages, and county authorities began to take an interest in caring for the unfortunate children of the county. During this period of time, the Home's population averaged 100-110 children. The Board of Trustees met frequently and made all decisions regarding placements and indentures.

The Board also conducted all home visits and investigations until 1897, when Miss A. J. Brown of East Toledo was hired as the agency's first social worker. She was also charged with placing children. As "Visiting Agent", she was paid $25 per month. The belief that children fare better in family settings than in institutionalized care was recognized even before the turn of the century.

Superintendent  John Niesz, commenting on the Home's 19 children placed in private homes in 1896, wrote, "A child in an institution is homeless...There is no longer any question that the best interests of the child demand that a home shall be found for it in a family as speedily as possible, and on the contrary, it is often demonstrated that it is a positive injury to a child to keep in an institution during the years of its education and character building."

Finances
Once the Home became the responsibility of the County, operating funds came from the County General Fund. Occasional levies provided funds for construction of new buildings.

By 1899, the budget had grown to $11,915. However, the Home strove to be as self-sufficient as possible. The land included a 35-acre farm, which yielded produce such as grapes, apples, corn, potatoes, and a variety of grains. What was not consumed by the children and staff was sold at market. The staff also made many of the children's garments. In 1896, they produced 183 pair of pants, 109 waists, 81 dresses, 70 nightgowns, 38 drawers, and 26 coats.

Facilities
A tract of 50 acres located on the river, near Maumee, was purchased by the advisors, and the Protestant Orphan's Home moved to the country. The first building, a Commissary, was constructed in 1887.