Our History

In 1903, Leontine Hector Blaney told the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Dallas that she was dying of tuberculosis. She was afraid because she was leaving her four children with no mother and no one to care for them. The church’s Ladies Missionary Society rented a home for the children, and essentially, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services was born.

The history of PCHAS is not so much the story of a non-profit but of the children it has cared for. Through tuberculosis and flu epidemics, the Great Depression and two World Wars, droughts and booms and economic crashes. There have always been difficult times and the children have always been victims. But in Texas, and Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana Synods, there have been people ready to make a safe landing place for them.

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services Begins During Progressive Era

PCHAS began during the Progressive Era, when the nation saw that the changing landscape to industrialization was hurting families, especially children. But while that era technically ended in 1918, the Presbyterian church continued to build havens for kids who were alone or unwanted. That first home housed not only Ms. Blaney’s children but many others in need of care. Two years later, the Files family donated a large plot of land in Files Valley, east of Itasca, where PCHAS’s oldest continually operating campus remains today.

In 1916, Reynolds Presbyterian Orphanage and School was created in the small, West Texas town of Albany. It was moved to Dallas in 1923 and then moved again in 1960, to a new campus in Waxahachie. The campus’s name changed in 1960 to United Presbyterian Homes and later became Presbyterian Children’s Services. There were now two growing organizations creating homes for children who had none: Presbyterian Children’s Homes (PCH) and Presbyterian Children’s Services (PCS).

In 2002, those two organizations merged to become Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS). Since then, we’ve added many programs, including a program to help keep families from breaking apart and a Single Parent Family program to help struggling single mothers and their children. Read more about our programs.

When you look back over the past, the faces change, the clothes change, the houses change, but the mission is the same: There are children and families who need help, love, structure, a safe place to be. And in Christ’s name, PCHAS provides it.