The History of Hoffman Homes

01/20/17, 4:57 PM
Located in South Central Pennsylvania, Hoffman Homes for Youth has been a part of Adams County history for more than 100 years. Hoffman Homes for Youth is a psychiatric residential treatment program for children, accredited by the The Joint Commission (TJC) with licensure by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Department of Health and certification from the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Hoffman Homes has also been designated a Sanctuary-certified Organization by the Sanctuary Institute, one of a prestigious number of organizations throughout the country recognized for excellence in trauma-informed care. 


Always loyal to the needs of children, Hoffman Homes for Youth has had three distinct missions since its founding in 1910:


1910-1960: Serving Orphans
Our entire history is marked by a spirit of love and service to children. It was in this spirit, in 1910, that George and Agnes Hoffman donated 192 acres of prime Pennsylvania farmland to the United Church of Christ (UCC), to be used as an orphanage. Though childless, the couple felt moved by the plight of homeless children.


Many children came to the orphanage and stayed here with their siblings until they were 18 years old. The children worked on the dairy farm and helped with harvesting the fields, and, in turn, lived in a caring and bountiful home among other children.


1960-1990: Serving Court-Adjudicated Youth
The need for orphanages declined dramatically after the Social Security Act passed in 1935. On the recommendation of the Child Welfare League following a comprehensive study, the Hoffman Homes for Youth Board of Directors decided that it was time to serve a new population of children. As a result, Hoffman Homes began admitting court-adjudicated youth and appointed an Executive Director with professional training in social work (previous directors had been UCC ministers), to help meet the special needs of these children.


At that time, the children in care were sent to local schools and worshipped with local UCC congregations. While in residence, they were instructed in such vocations as carpentry and auto body, to give them the skills needed for a productive and positive future.


1990-PRESENT: Serving Emotionally and Behaviorally Troubled Youth
As our service continued, our mission evolved: Even as we served adjudicated delinquent youth, Hoffman Homes came to recognize the emerging need to help children with mental illness. In 1990, after much thoughtful and deliberate consideration, the Board of Directors decided that Hoffman Homes for Youth could best serve children with severe emotional disturbances.

Since then, our primary mission has been to provide comprehensive psychiatric care, treatment, and education to emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families.  Hoffman Homes for Youth is committed to providing services that are cost effective and responsive to the unique needs of each child.


Hoffman Homes for Youth treats the needs of boys and girls ages 6 to 17 who have a major mental health diagnosis. The residential treatment program is licensed to provide behavioral and cognitive therapy, physical health care services, and a safe and comfortable home to 113 children on our campus. Educational services are provided on campus through Hoffman Academy, our onsite, licensed private academic school. 


Our HistoryHoffman Homes for Youth serves a unique population of abused and neglected children:


Of the 115 children admitted in 2015:

  • The average age at admission was 13 years
  • The average length of stay was 9 months
  • 90% of the children were patients in a psychiatric hospital at least once
  • 39% of the children made at least one major suicide attempt prior to admission
  • 46% of the children had a history of physical abuse
  • 35% of the children had a history of sexual abuse
  • 88% of the children had a history of significant aggression
We are very proud of our success! 88% of the children treated in 2015 were discharged from our program having met their treatment goals, returning to home and/or community-based care environtments. 


The spirit of love and service to children has remained constant at Hoffman Homes since 1910. We put "Kids First" despite—and because of—the challenges and profoud trauma these children have endured...We believe this is their best path to healing and recovery. 


Please consider volunteering or donating to help our children!
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