Since 1830, Inwood House has empowered teens in New York City to overcome the challenges of poverty and build strong futures. By innovating to meet the needs of our city’s youth, we have helped generations of New Yorkers take charge of their lives. Click below to see glimpses of our past.
Click on the dates to read more about the milestone.
First of Its Kind
Inwood House was founded –- before there was even a non-profit charter in New York State — by a group of female philanthropists who believed young women living in poverty and forced into prostitution should not be treated as criminals. Their goal: “provide sexually exploited young women a means of establishing a more meaningful life.”
Fighting to Serve NYC’s Most Vulnerable Women
In the infamous Five Points slum, the women opened a home, published reports documenting the over 10,000 young women in need in New York City, raised political controversy, and won court battles to get custody and means to support the young women as they built new lives. Maternal care programs encouraged young women to keep their babies and learn parenting skills.
Building a Therapeutic Model
To provide a more therapeutic environment to a greater number of girls, the organization moved to Inwood, the northern tip of Manhattan, which was then covered mostly by farms. Over 100 young women and babies lived in the home. Formal career development and education programs started to help young women build for long-term success.
The only hope for unwed women
Inwood House opened New York City’s first clinic to treat gonorrhea and syphilis, and was the only agency caring for young women and girls.
Meeting Needs – Expanding Foster Care
Inwood House met the dramatically increased need for adoptive homes following WWII and launched a public campaign to recruit new foster families. The agency opened their center at 320 East 82nd Street in Manhattan, providing clinical visits and a hub for foster care and all Inwood House programs.
Prevention Programs & Rights for Young Women
Teen Choice was launched in 1978 in response to the New York City Department of Education’s call for teen pregnancy prevention services, bringing reproductive education and counseling to students in schools. While continuing to provide vital health and mental health care as well as educational and personal development services to young mothers throughout New York City, Inwood House went on record in support of any woman’s right to choose, supporting Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Commitment to Fathers & the Bronx
Fathers Count was launched, bringing Inwood House services to teen fathers and expanding services to help teen families build stronger futures. Inwood House also made a commitment to empowering at-risk youth in the South Bronx –- the poorest congressional district in the nation and a community suffering some of the city’s highest teen pregnancy and AIDS rates –- with teen family support programs and unique service-learning pregnancy prevention programs.
Proving Programs Work
Data provided evidence that Inwood House programs are highly effective and strong. Teen Choice, the first Inwood House pregnancy prevention program, and the Teen Family support residential care model was tested through 4-year federally funded research that showed positive outcomes and successes.
Meeting needs: Teen Runaway & Homeless Moms
Residence and family support programs were expanded to serve homeless and runaway youth, a rising population of need in New York City. Victory House opened in the Bronx for teen mothers and their babies. Meanwhile, the 82nd Street residence was renovated in 2009 and reopened to provide state-of-the art services.
Collaboration & Expansion
Collaboration, expansion, and continued effective program delivery help Inwood House grow. Leveraging subject-matter expertise in both teen family support and teen pregnancy prevention, Inwood House hosted city-wide dialogs to facilitate inter-organizational and interdisciplinary learning with government and community stakeholders. Passport to Parenting (P2P) was launched in 2012 to begin to test the Inwood House care model with other foster care providers.
Continued Care & Innovation
Inwood House will continue to provide effective services to empower New York City’s youth to overcome cycles of poverty. We aim to help reduce the rates of teen pregnancy in New York City and serve increased numbers of the City’s pregnant and parenting teens.
Inwood House and The Children’s Village, Inc. have now formed a formal alliance that will create a dynamic organization with the capacity to provide better services for more young men and women at the margins of society. Founded in the mid-1800’s, both organizations bring a rich history and compelling charitable mission to help those most in need. The Children’s Village’s expertise lies in working with a broad base of at-risk teens, while Inwood House offers a unique niche within that segment with its expertise in caring for pregnant and parenting teens and pregnancy prevention. Joining these skills together will create a powerful force to improve outcomes for New York youth.