The Late 20th Century

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The 1970s brought another period of tremendous change in the child welfare system. The number of children entering foster care increased significantly as did their length of stay in care. More and more children languished in care, enduring multiple foster placements, falling behind educationally, and suffering psychologically, emotionally and sometimes physically as a result of years spent in care. Lawmakers were concerned that too many children were entering care unnecessarily and that oversight of the foster care system was inadequate. As a result, federal legislation was enacted emphasizing a preference for intensive family – and community – based preventive services designed to preserve families and avoid the disruption in children’s lives associated with being placed in care.

In 1977, recognizing the changing nature of child welfare services, the Graham Home and Windham Child Care, the City’s oldest and most venerable child caring organizations, merged to form Graham Windham. With their complementary programs and services aimed at aiding children whose families were unable to care for them and supporting troubled families in order to keep their children from entering the foster care system, the two institutions were uniquely positioned to meet the changing realities and challenges of child welfare going into the 1980s.