Our History

CHANGING LIVES FOR NEARLY A CENTURY

It is the mission of the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) to create total, healthy living environments for vulnerable children, youth and families, and the quality of life which empowers their ability to thrive and demonstrate responsibility.

Boy Hits BaseballOn June 29, 1915, 14 homeless children found a home at 904 Newton Street NE, Washington, D.C. This marked the official opening of the National Center for Children and Families (formerly the Baptist Home for Children, a local orphanage founded by the DC Baptist Convention of churches). These children inspired the early beginnings of this private, nonprofit organization whose mission has always been dedicated to serving children in desperate need. John B. Lord, a member of the Brookland Baptist Church in Washington, DC, donated the nine-room house, NCCF’s first site. In November of 1931, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover dedicated newly completed dormitories located on a 140-acre farm in Bethesda, Maryland; the Center’s present day base of operations. Following WWII, NCCF sold all but 13 acres of the farm to generate needed revenue.

In 1999, Mrs. Tipper Gore, America’s Second Lady, served as Honorary Chair of NCCF’s 85th anniversary gala. A year later, under the leadership of Bill Shaw, president and COO of Marriott International, NCCF launched an ambitious and successful capital campaign—called Campaign Caring—which renovated the 13-acre campus in Bethesda to better serve homeless families and abandoned youth. The money raised helped build new dormitories, the John and Penny White Volunteer and Training Center, and the Freddie Mac Foundation Youth Activities Center (YAC), a venue to meet the physical, educational, recreational, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the young people served by NCCF. The Campaign also allowed for the complete renovations of the two 1930’s administration and emergency family shelter buildings.

For nearly a century, NCCF’s mission has been driven by a great sense of community responsibility for vulnerable children and families who live in the midst of the one of the most educated and affluent regions in the world. Today, it has transformed from a historical orphanage to a responsive and flexible community institution which changes to meet the needs of the diverse children, youth, and families it serves. Currently, NCCF’s residential programs serve homeless families, victims of domestic violence, and children and adolescents who have been removed from their families due to abuse and neglect and/or behavioral challenges. A nationally accredited organization, NCCF now propels more than 4,000 children, youth, and families annually into an improved quality of life through a wide continuum of 16 local programs: emergency shelters and transitional housing, therapeutic residential care, foster care and adoption, teen parent services, and community-based prevention services, while relying on community education and training, volunteerism, and advocacy.

1914

The Columbia Association of Churches (now the DC Baptist Convention) votes to establish an orphanage At the urging of the Rev. Henry W.O. Millington, pastor of Brookland Baptist Church.
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1915

The Baptist Home for Children (BHC) opens at 904 Newton Street, NW, Washington DC, to care for 14 children in a building donated by John B. Lord.
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1924

The Board of Trustees purchases a 140-acre farm on Cedar Lane (now Greentree Road) in Bethesda, Maryland.
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1926

A Trust Fund is established to support the operations of BHC with major donations from the Edwin Gould Foundation and the Columbia Association of Churches.
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1931

First Lady Lou Henry Hoover dedicates two dormitories on the Bethesda campus. A year later, more than 50 children from the District enjoy life in the country.
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1945

ContentBHC receives State certification as a public child care agency.
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1953

BHC hires a social worker to facilitate reunification of families. New services such as counseling, tutoring, and music lessons are added.
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1967

The first African-American child is welcomed against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. BHC expands services and offers in-home counseling to troubled families.
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1969

Limited foster care placement is added to the array of services, designed to help older children ready themselves for the “work-a-day world”.
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1973

Two new 10-bed cottages open for residents in the Greentree Adolescent Program (GAP).
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1983

The Greentree Shelter (GTS) opens to serve homeless families, offering child care, transportation, parenting education, and transitional services.
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1989

The Family Stabilization Program (FSP), a transitional housing program with in-home case management support and employment and parenting programs, is established in Silver Spring, Maryland.
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1992

With a vote of the Board of Trustees, the agency becomes the Baptist Home for Children and Families (BHCF), reflecting the organization’s comprehensive focus on both children and their families.
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1993

The Maryland Department of Education approves the Greentree School as a Type III transition school.
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1994

Greenleaf Treatment Foster Care (GTFC) holds its first treatment foster care parent training and matches vulnerable children with families who offer love, attention, and support.
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1995

FutureBound Independent Living Program (FILP), a supervised apartment-based program, is established to help youth prepare to live independently within the community.
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1997

The Freddie Mac Foundation funds the establishment of the CARA House, a neighborhood-based, collaborative, therapeutic parenting education center in Washington, DC.
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1998

Community volunteers construct a playground to enhance the GTS child care center. The following year, volunteers also create a 350-foot nature woodland trail at the Bethesda campus.
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2000

BHCF partners with the District of Columbia Public Schools, Freddie Mac Foundation, and New York Children’s Aid Society to support the JC Nalle Community School, an elementary school in Ward 7 that offers extended-day academic and social supports.
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2001

The Board of Trustees unanimously votes to adopt a new name, the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF)
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2002

A collaboration between NCCF, the National Institute on Corrections, and 17 other community partners creates the Family Ties Program (FTP)
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2003

NCCF serving women and children at the Betty Ann Krahnke Center for New Beginnings, the only shelter for victims of domestic violence in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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2004

The newly constructed John and Penny White Volunteer and Training Center, named in honor of an alumnus of BHC, is dedicated.
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2005

NCCF expands its foster care services with the acquisition of the model Family Intervention Program (FIP), formerly under the auspices of For Love of Children.
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2006

The 1930’s Administration Building on the Bethesda Campus is fully renovated, now accommodating the Maryland Greenleaf Treatment Foster Care Program.
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2009

NCCF is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).
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2010

The Freddie Mac Foundation Youth Activities Center (YAC) is opened, providing social, recreational, arts, and food services in a state-of-the art facility.
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2011

NCCF assumes management of the New Beginning Temporary Family Shelter in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC.
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2012

NCCF gains a visible presence in Ward 8 when the agency signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the School Chancellor to operate the Parent Resource Center at the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School.
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2013

On June 1 NCCF officially adopted the Neediest Kids program into its family of programs.
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