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Our Mission at the Children's Home of Reading is…

“Caring for the needs of children and families in crisis and preparing them for success in life.”

It is the guiding force for all decisions we make.

Our History

In 1884 the City of Reading opened a day nursery for women on Franklin Street. After the first motherless child was placed in the Home, it served a dual purpose, as both a home for children whose parents were unable to provide care for them and a day nursery. The facility was soon outgrown and in 1888, 1010 Centre Avenue opened as the “Home for Friendless Children”

In the following years the Home addressed the needs of the times. Such as custodial care, world wars, malnutrition and the influenza epidemic. The purpose of the home was to provide temporary shelter and instruction to orphaned and destitute children whose parents were unfit to care for them.

In 1947, the name changed to The Children’s Home of Reading to better describe the services and the children served. The focus became helping children and families heal through: Treatment, Education, and Counseling. CHOR sought to promote their welfare and happiness in every way that may be practicable and find permanent homes in respectable families when necessary.

The Children’s Home constantly expands its programs to offer treatment oriented care rather than custodial care. Today our programs allow us to meet the critical behavioral and mental health needs of over 650 children and families every year!

Reunification with parents was always the primary goal…and it still is today!

Our Vision

We will continue to be a leader in the treatment of Children and Families in crisis by: responding to the needs of the local Berks County community while providing a spectrum of services available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and surrounding states; being known as a provider with a philosophy of acting in the best interest of children and families in need; and being seen as the provider who focuses on the strengths of the children and families we serve. Thus, agencies will seek us first in serving the needs of children and families in crisis.

Our Values

We believe every child has value to society. We also believe every child in crisis is entitled to treatment, protection, and the chance to develop to his or her full human potential. The Children’s Home of Reading values family involvement in meeting the cultural, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the child.

Our Model of Care

The Children's Home of Reading believes that the following components are essential to assist in trauma recovery and promote healing:

  • Trust: People who develop trust believe they can safely place confidence in themselves and others.

  • Hope: People who are hopeful have the courage to reach for their dreams, see beyond their challenges and plan for a brighter future.

  • Relationship: People who develop healthy relationships feel connected to others and build support for themselves based on mutual care and concern.

  • Empowerment: People who are empowered have confidence to make decisions and accept responsibility in their lives.

  • Acceptance: People who feel accepted by themselves and others become responsible, contributing citizens.

  • Dignity: People who are treated with dignity gain self-respect and value themselves and others.

  • Safety: People who are emotionally and physically safe are not intentionally hurtful to themselves or others.

The Children's Home of Reading is a “Sanctuary” certified agency, completing initial certification in 2010. The Children’s Home of Reading continues to grow within the philosophy of the Sanctuary Model and is dedicated to providing trauma informed care approaches to healing. As such, consumers are viewed as people who are likely to have histories of physical and sexual abuse and other types of trauma-inducing experiences, and this often leads to mental health and other types of co-occurring disorders. Our treatment approaches are based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors so that our services are more supportive and avoid re-traumatization. Our services recognize the consumer’s need to be respected, informed, connected, and hopeful regarding their own recovery; the interrelation between trauma and symptoms of trauma (e.g. sexual acting out, depression, anxiety, etc.); and the need to work in a collaborative way with consumers (and also with family and support people of the consumer) and with other human services agencies in a manner that will empower consumers.

Seven Commitments of Sanctuary Model

  • Commitment to Non-Violence: living safely outside (physical), inside (emotional), with others (social), and doing the right thing (moral)
    • Value: Value physical, psychological, social and moral safety; DO NO HARM.

  • Commitment to Emotional Intelligence: managing our feelings so that we don’t hurt ourselves or others
    • Value: Symptoms have meaning; hurt people hurt people; it’s what happened, not what’s wrong.

  • Commitment to Social Learning: respecting and sharing the ideas of our peers and teams
    • Value: Question established authority – even your own; - create a living-learning environment.

  • Commitment to Shared Governance: shared decision making among clients and staff
    • Value: We must work together to flatten the hierarchy.

  • Commitment to Open Communication: saying what we mean, and not being mean, when we say it
    • Value: Everyone must have the power to speak their own truth; resolve conflict as individuals and as a team.

  • Commitment to Social Responsibility: together we accomplish more; everyone makes a contribution to the organizational culture
    • Value: Listen to the wisdom of the group; recognize our own parallel processes.

  • Commitment to Growth and Change: creating hope for our clients and ourselves
    • Value: Create opportunities for change; children and families can heal and grow, and so can agencies.

CHOR is licensed as a Child Residential Facility through the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Children, Youth and Families and a Residential Treatment Facility by the PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse.

We are proud to have earned accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation as a Behavioral Healthcare Facility. The Joint Commission on Accreditation Gold Seal of Approval is only granted after rigorous examinations and onsite inspections. The accreditation process concentrates on operational systems critical to the safety and quality of care, treatment or services provided to the individual. Surveys are conducted by experienced and licensed behavioral health care professionals, including psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, behavioral health care nurses and administrators. Many Joint Commission surveyors are actively working in a range of behavioral health care settings.

Children are referred to CHOR by many groups: the juvenile court system, mental health systems, hospitals, families, Children & Youth Services, and schools. Once they are place with us the services we provide are treatment oriented and trauma care informed. Each of these children face serious barriers to success. They come to us with serious mental health and behavioral challenges. They come to us abused, neglected and afraid. They come to us without hope. While some have loving families that just don’t know how to help their children get through these difficult days, many of them have not experienced childhood in the way that most of us do.

We are proud of the differences we make in our clients’ lives. Click here to read some of our success stories to learn more about the individuals being helped by The Children’s Home of Reading.

Our Facilities

Our facilities are designed to provide a relaxed and therapeutic setting. Our main building, located on the original site from 1884, has been modernized and provides space for many of our Community Based Program.

Our primary residential building was opened in 2002 and can house up to 72 clients.

The Custer building or Centre Avenue Academy provides schooling, in a supportive environment, for all or Residential clients.

CHOR’s Robert W. Cardy Educational Center provides alternative schooling for children in the community with special needs. It also hosts other Community Based Programs after school-hours.

Help us make a difference

Help make a difference in the life of a child. Please support us by donating or help us in other ways.