Boys & Girls Aid

A Message from Our President & CEO

Suzan Huntington, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Aid

Welcome to Boys & Girls Aid. Founded in 1885, Boys & Girls Aid is the oldest child welfare agency in Oregon. Currently, we are celebrating our 130th anniversary, a remarkable milestone. I am hopeful through exploration on our website, you will choose to be involved with our organization.

Boys & Girls Aid was originally founded to solve the problem of abandoned children living on the streets of Portland Without a family to raise them, it was becoming clear that something needed to be done. The articles of incorporation read that the purpose of Boys &Girls Aid was “to improve the condition of the homeless, neglected, and abused children in the State of Oregon.” Under the leadership of Thomas Eliot and the support of Simeon G. Reed and Henry L. Pittock, the board of directors was formed. Included were some of Portland’s elite; Henry Corbett, William Ladd, Frank E. Beach and P.A. Marquam to name a few.

By the time the first annual report went to print in 1895, the entire state of Oregon was being served by the agency and more than 470 children were served in that year alone. The estimation was the agency saved the state $11,904 in expenses due to incarceration and reform schools. This equates to nearly $300,000 today. The statement of the President in the report was “That it is wiser and less expensive to save children than to punish criminals” still rings true today.

This anniversary is a remarkable milestone because in 130 years, the work of the agency has never faltered; we serve children and young adults in crisis. I’m proud to say that we believe now, just as was believed then, families, not institutions, raise children. While we value young people differently today, the issue of children being abused, neglected and abandoned continues to be an issue for Oregon. On any given night, there are over 9,000 children in foster care. This count does not include the 1000’s of homeless and runaway youth. 

We believe that all children are worthy of having families. Whether they return home, or find a loving family through adoption, we know a lifelong connection is one factor to success because they can guide, support and offer love and hope. Family is at the heart of our work and we call this work permanency. I strongly believe that family will provide the best preparation for life and create stronger opportunities for success.

Thank you for visiting Boys & Girls Aid, we look forward to welcoming you to our family. I know your efforts will make a difference in the life of a child.

With gratitude,

Suzan Huntington, Ed.D.
President & CEO

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