It began with the vision and passion of one man: Charles Crittenton. Charles Crittenton was an activist Christian missionary during the late 19th century American social reform movement. Recognizing the lack of a safety net for women, he devoted himself to the reformation of "fallen women," principally women lacking any alternative to prostitution to sustain themselves and their children. In 1883, working as an urban missionary in New York, he opened a shelter, the Florence Night Mission, named in honor of his daughter Florence, who had passed away at the age of four.
he Wheeling Florence Crittenton Home was established in 1895, when a group of concerned citizens invited Charles Crittenton to visit the city to advise them on the organization of their rescue efforts. After touring the city, which suffered a well-established reputation of vice, Crittenton made a donation for the founding of the Florence Crittenton Rescue Home.
Once a place for "unwed mothers," Crittenton Services has evolved to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the state. Crittenton is an accredited behavioral health facility, serving young women and their children, as well as individuals and families. Crittenton remains the only licensed maternity-care residential treatment facility for adolescents in the state, maintaining its long commitment to their special needs. The young women served in Crittenton's residential treatment program come from all 55 counties and have suffered significant maltreatment and neglect in their young lives.
Crittenton also offers community-based outpatient counseling through Wellspring Family Services in 18 counties in Northern West Virginia. The agency also operates child care programs in Ohio County and an Intensive Outpatient Program for at-risk adolescent girls in Ohio County.
Crittenton Services, Inc. will hold its 120th annual board meeting on Wednesday, October 28 at 5:30 p.m. at its Elm Grove location. This board meeting is significant, marking a rich and long history of serving those in need in West Virginia. Each year, Crittenton serves more than 1300 West Virginia citizens.
For information about Crittenton Services and its programs, go to www.florencecrittenton.net.