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History of Child Saving Institute

131 Years of Service!

Child Saving Institute (CSI) can trace its origins in the Omaha community to 1892. Due to the hazards of pioneer life, epidemics and poverty, many children were left in need of parental care. Our founder Rev. A.W. Clark realized there was greater need among the neglected and abandoned children he encountered than the men and women he initially intended to reform. With the support of his wife, Sarah, Rev. Clark admitted the first child, a 7-year-old girl, to the Boys and Girls Aid Society which soon became CSI. 

In 1911, with the help of a $25,000 pledge from benefactors Sarah and George Joslyn, the agency moved to a state-of-the art orphanage. In 1913, CSI became part of the National Benevolent Association (NBA), an association of the Disciples of Christ (DOC). Through 1966, the agency provided services from that facility including a safe haven for abandoned children, adoption, and a home for unwed mothers.

While children remained the primary focus, as the decades passed the needs expanded and challenges loomed as orphanages across the country were closed.

Services were added including:

  • Emergency short-term residential care for children whose families are in crisis
  • Developmental childcare for low-income working parents
  • Consulting services for low-income childcare centers across the city
  • In-home services for families struggling to stay together
  • Foster care services
  • Parenting classes
  • Therapy services
  • Pediatric social work
  • Adoption for older children

CSI once again became an independent agency in 2002, though many DOC churches continue to support CSI in its mission. The needs of today's children and youth are as diverse and complex as the communities in the Omaha metro area. Today, CSI offers a variety of programs with the help of more than 170 dedicated and compassionate employees.

We are proud to continue Rev. Clark’s mission of "Responding to the cry of a child," but it is our vision that guides us as we work to give the children we serve safe, happy childhoods. Our vision is that ALL children have homes where hope is kindled and dreams can be achieved.


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