The FLORENCE CRITTENTON SERVICES OF GREATER CLEVELAND, chartered by the Ohio legislature in 1911 as the Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers of Cleveland, served unwed mothers and their children until changing its focus to delinquent and predelinquent girls in 1970. Organized as a branch of the Natl. Florence Crittenton Mission, the home originally cared for 15 unwed mothers during pregnancy and for them and their infants for 6 months after delivery, stressing the redemptive benefits of motherhood. Because of social and moral stigmas, the mission guaranteed anonymity and emphasized spiritual reclamation. Crittenton opened at 523 Eddy Rd., charging only the cost of services, with some exceptions on the basis of need. A matron managed daily activities; a part-time nursing staff and visiting physician provided medical care; and volunteers from Protestant and secular women's organizations supplied auxiliary services. In Oct. 1947, the mission moved to a newer, larger, more modern building at 8615 Euclid Ave.

In the next two decades, while Crittenton Home applications dropped, costs rose; it soon accepted only paying clients. To lower expenses, the home eliminated medical facilities; babies were delivered at the CLEVELAND CLINIC and, later, BOOTH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. Crittenton supplied adoption services on a limited basis until 1962, when it closed its nursery and authorized adoptions directly from the hospital. In March 1970 the Welfare Fed. threatened to withdraw funding, due to a diminished need for maternity homes. In response, the newly named Florence Crittenton Services sold its home and relocated to 3737 Lander Rd., opening group homes for "adolescent girls in transition," now supported by contributions rather than fees. The national organization became the Florence Crittenton Division of the Child Welfare League of America in 1976. In 1985 Crittenton accommodated 18 13-to-18-yr. old girls, referred by JUVENILE COURT, in two homes, Lander House and Helwick House. In 1995 Ed McKay was the executive director.

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Finding aid for the Barrett Chapter of Florence Crittenton Services of Greater Cleveland, Inc., Records. WRHS.

Morton, Marian. And Sin No More: Social Policy and Unwed Mothers in Cleveland 1855-1990. (1993).

See also CHILD CARE.

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