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Our History



Home of the Innocents was incorporated by a special legislative act on April 23, 1880. The Home was founded by Dr. James Taylor Helm, an Episcopalian minister from Christ Church in Louisville, to “provide for the comfort and care of poor families, children of working and destitute mothers, and protection of the latter.” The Home cared for infants, preschool children, and young mothers and their babies and could accommodate 8 children. Sister Emily Cooper, an Episcopalian Deaconess, was the first Deaconess in Charge during this period and oversaw the baptism of 284 children during her twenty year tenure. Dr. Helm and Sister Emily paved the path for the Home’s future through their caring and devotion to the children.


Home of the Innocents moved into a newly built facility at 505 East Chestnut St., which was designed to house up to 30 children. The Home agreed to take over the shelter care program for abused, abandoned and neglected children which had been provided by the County Government at Sunshine Lodge.


At the request of Metro United Way, Home of the Innocents assumed the pediatric nursing services formerly provided by the Jewish Home for Convalescent Children. In 2005, the Home created the Dr. Martin J. Harris Memorial Fund in honor of the late Dr. Harris, who spent countless hours donating his time to care for the children at the former Jewish Home for Convalescent Children. 

1990 - 1993

The Home implemented the Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program, a three phase service including residential, transitional housing and aftercare. The service helps young mothers and their children gradually gain independence, parenting skills and self sufficiency.


The Home implemented the Therapeutic Loving foster Care Program to train families for the care of emotionally and behaviorally challenged children. In September, the Pediatric Convalescent Center became accredited in Long Term Care and the Childkind Center in Behavioral Health by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

1999 - 2000

The Home implemented the Home to Home Community Based Program to provide individualized treatment planning, intervention and case management in an intensive, structured environment for adolescent males and females. Services include residential, independent living, aftercare, and therapeutic support services and service coordination. 




Dedication of the first building complete at the new “children's village,” the Cralle-Day House, for parenting and non-parenting teen girls. 




Thanks to tremendous community support, Home of the Innocents' Joan E. Thomas, M.D. children's village is dedicated. This 20-plus acre village provides much-needed space and amenities to meet the ever increasing needs of the community's vulnerable children.


Home begins providing short and long term care for abuse/neglect victims in southern Indiana. Before, many of these children were removed from the homes and taken to facilities miles away. Today, these children can receive care without having to leave their familiar surroundings. 


Recognizing the need for services to children with autism and their families, the Home starts a new autism program. Today, our experienced staff is in-home and in-school support to over 30 children in the Louisville area.


The Home's children's village receives the Phoenix Award. This award, given to only a handful of projects internationally, recognizes individuals and organizations that transform abandoned industrial areas into productive new ones. This marks the third time that Louisville has been recognized with a Phoenix Award, an accomplishment no other city has achieved. Louisville was awarded for its transformation of Waterfront Park and again for transforming the land for the creation of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.




Home of the Innocents enters its 130th year of being our region's open arms to kids in crisis. Five new facilities open, expanding the Home's children's village to include a 30-bed addition to the Kosair Charities Pediatric Convalescent Center, a 20-bed cottage for the Childkind Center, an integrated pediatric health center, and advanced therapy center and a new school house.


 The Home opened a satellite office in the Cardinal Ritter House in New Albany, Indiana, to better serve the needs of children and families in southern Indiana.


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Urgently Needed Items
    • Extra Large Plastic Gift Bags
    • Underwear (All sizes, child to adult)
    • White T-Shirts & Tank Tops (All sizes, child to adult)
    • Bath Towels & Wash Cloths
    • Twin XL Blankets & Comforters
    • Seasonal Clothing
    • Hair Brushes & Wide Tooth Combs
    • Socks (All sizes, infant to adult)
    • Tennis Shoes (All sizes, child to adult)
Become a Foster Parent
Foster parenting classes will be starting soon.  For more information or to enroll in the class, please call 502.596.1313.

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A Special Thank You to Our Partners

Copyright © 2014 Home of the Innocents
1100 East Market St, Louisville, KY 40206
Main Phone: 502.596.1000