A Proud History of Service
For more than 185 years, we have been helping people rise above adversity. Over the decades, we have expanded our services to address emerging needs and help the most vulnerable among us, and in the process, have become an integral part of communities throughout New York City and Westchester County.
Moved by the rise in urban poverty and the reduction of public welfare aid in the 1820s, Leake and Watts Orphan House was founded by Westchester County Judge and former Congressman John Watts, Jr., with the bequest of his friend John George Leake, a wealthy New York lawyer who passed away without any heirs. At the forefront of the social responsibility movement— the Orphan House was one of the first private charitable institutions in the country dedicated to children in need.
Leake and Watts Orphan House moved to the current site of Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 112th Street and Amsterdam.
Leake and Watts Orphan House opens its doors to girls.
The Home is moved outside the city to the 40-acre farm on the Hudson River in Yonkers. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
The Leake & Watts Orphan House sponsors a uniformed band. Girls and young women gather to enjoy the grounds in Yonkers early in the century.
The “cottage system” is implemented at Leake & Watts. First implemented for girls, the system featured six cottages with cottage parents, housing 10 to 30 girls each on the Yonkers campus.
A Social Services Department with trained social work staff is established.
Leake & Watts established its Foster Home Department in order to find homes for children in the community.
Leake & Watts merged with the Orphan Home and Asylum of the Episcopal Church and the Sevilla-Hopewell Society of Brooklyn.
Leake & Watts established the East Bronx Family Service Center to support families in need.
We became the first social service agency in the nation to support children with HIV/AIDS.
We established five early childhood programs to serve low-income families and expanded our group home services to teenage mothers and their children.
Leake & Watts assumes operation of Woodfield Cottage and expands programming to include juvenile justice services.
Leake & Watts opens the Marion and George Ames Early Childhood Center and the Biondi and Middle High School in Yonkers.
Leake & Watts opens the Biondi Elementary School.
Leake & Watts began to provide Medicaid Service Coordination to children and young adults with developmental disabilities.
We opened our first group home in the Bronx for young adults with developmental disabilities.
Our Residential Treatment Center shifted from serving youth in foster care to a specialized program for youth with a variety of mental health challenges, some of whom are in foster care.
We opened the Children’s Learning Center in Manhattan specifically serving preschoolers with autism.
Leake & Watts celebrated its 180th Anniversary.
Leake & Watts was honored as the Gold Winner of the New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.
Leake & Watts serves over 12,000 children, adults, and families in need each year and is continuing to evolve its services to meet the changing needs of New Yorkers.
EDUCATION & EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES
Giving kids a strong start and supporting special needs.
INTELLECTUAL / DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES SERVICES
Providing housing and supportive services.