Hillcrest Center for Children records, 1956-1975.
|Hillcrest Center for Children (Bedford Hills, N.Y.)
|4.5 linear ft. ( 4 boxes)
|Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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The Hillcrest Center for Children was a city-owned foster care institution. It was founded in 1956 by appointment of the mayor
of New York City, Robert F. Wagner. Wagner also appointed the members of the board. Hillcrest was built in Bedford Hills,
New York in a converted tuberculosis sanatorium. The center accepted boys and girls between the ages of six and fourteen who
were not considered appropriate candidates for state schools, residential treatment centers, institutions for disabled children,
or foster family care. Hillcrest also housed children for shorter terms when foster homes or other institutions were unavailable,
and then moved them when possible. Despite criticism, the center accepted children of all races and faiths in a mixed setting.
It provided medical care, a school (PS#407 Manhattan at Hillcrest), play areas, and activities. It also placed great emphasis
on psychiatric care and spiritual guidance and strived to make the children feel safe and included. Children were involved
in decision-making processes; for example, both staff and children discussed rules at meetings to create the Hillcrest Code
of Behavior. Hillcrest made changes to its program over the years, and struggled continuously with staff shortages. The center
closed in 1977. Voluntary child care agency in Bedford Hills, N.Y. Katharine D. Brownell, M.D. was president of the Board
of Directors. The Center ceased operations in 1977.
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, and miscellaneous material including files of Katharine D. Brownell, M.D., 1963-1970;
general files of the organization dealing with Hillcrest's relationship to various New York City and State agencies; minutes
of the Board of Directors; and annual reports. Among the correspondents are New York City Mayors Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and
John Vliet Lindsay.