The German Protestant Orphan Association of the City of Baltimore, Maryland, was organized in 1863 to establish and manage the German Protestant Orphan Asylum, a facility for children of German descent orphaned by the Civil War. Three years later, both the association and the orphanage underwent name changes to the General German Orphan Association and the General German Orphan Asylum, respectively. In 1874, the orphanage relocated – for the second time – to a large building on Aisquith Street where it became a landmark in East Baltimore for the next fifty years.
In 1919, the General German Orphan Association purchased Talbot J. Albert’s Belmont at Catonsville estate. In 1922, the orphanage’s name was changed to the General German Orphan Home. In order to make the children’s lives as similar as possible to the lives of children not in care, program changes also occurred. The Home moved from a large dormitory building in the city to more family-like cottages in a rural environment. Philosophically, the program went from institutional living to homelike living. By 1924, the General German Orphan Home had completed the move to its present 44-acre campus in Catonsville.
Since renaming to The Children’s Home in 1985, the organization has focused on innovative programs and services that assist at-risk youth both inside and outside the family structure, offering a variety of mental health services to address the effects of childhood trauma. For example, in 1986 the Emergency Shelter for Girls was opened. Treatment Foster Care began operations in 1996, and closed in 2022. “Transitions,” initiated in 2002, is a special high-intensity program for adolescent males. In 2008, the new Diagnostic Center for girls began operation. Respite Services and the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program were added.
In 2012 there were multiple construction projects on the campus including the addition of two new resident buildings and the rebuilding of the swimming pool.
In 2013 The Children’s Home celebrated its 150th Anniversary – A Legacy of Caring for Children.