The Marion County Children’s Home Endowment Fund was established in 2005 to support Marion County Children Services.
Marion County’s first Children’s Home was built in 1901, with 52 rooms to accommodate 125 children. The land was purchased and the building erected by Benjamin Waddell, at his private expense, and presented to the County. Prior, there was no separate place for orphaned and abandoned children, nor any refuge for those whose parents were unable or unwilling to provide suitable care.
Over the years, philosophies of how best to serve children changed and time took a toll on the structure. The original home was demolished replaced by a group of cottages in 1968, which were named Waddell Village. Each cottage housed six boys, six girls, and a married couple who served as parents.
In the 1980s, federal and state laws changed and children began to be placed directly into foster family homes as the emphasis of child protective services shifted from removing and caring for children in residential facilities to providing more home-based services. Today, all children in the custody of Marion County Children Services live in licensed foster homes, child residential centers, or with relatives or kin.
This endowment fund supports those services, including intake, assessment and investigations, case management, foster and adoption services, and kinship services, and the agency’s mission — to lead the community in the protection of children by working with families to promote, develop, and maintain safe and permanent homes.