A National Movement
The history of the Florence Crittenton Agency begins in 1896, when a group of community leaders in Knoxville, Tennessee established a home for young women in crisis. The original founders of the Florence Crittenton Agency modeled their program on the work of the Florence Crittenton Mission in Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1895 by Charles Crittenton, a businessman and philanthropist who named the mission in memory of his daughter, and Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, the Florence Crittenton Mission sought to support and empower unwed mothers and provide for the health of their infant children. Although the Florence Crittenton Agency is an independent nonprofit, our connections with other Crittenton programs continue to this day through our affiliation with the National Crittenton Foundation and its 27 member agencies.
Challenges and New Directions
The original Florence Crittenton Home in Knoxville served as a source of hope and support for young women in East Tennessee for nearly 20 years, but ongoing financial difficulties ultimately closed the original Florence Crittenton Home in the 1910s. Although the organization remained closed throughout the interwar period, however, community leaders had not forgotten the Florence Crittenton Home’s important role within the community.
In 1963, a second generation of dedicated leaders began to discuss in earnest the need for a maternity home for teen mothers in Knoxville. A year later, the modern Florence Crittenton Agency was re-chartered, and began providing residential services out of a facility on Texas Avenue, in the heart of urban Knoxville. Strong leadership and dedicated community partners guided the organization’s growth over the next several decades, as FCA worked to provide an expanding scope of social services designed to address the needs of young women and families.
The Modern Agency
The last two decades have continued these trends of growth and innovation. Having outgrown our original facility, FCA relocated to our current location – a modern 26-acre campus that houses residential treatment programs, community outreach and administrative offices, a private on-campus school, and recreational facilities including a ropes course.
FCA has also moved beyond its traditional focus as a maternity home, providing comprehensive services that meet the needs of both male and female adolescents, as well as children, families, and adult clients. A 55-bed residential treatment facility remains one of the core functions of our agency, providing addiction recovery and mental health services to adolescent males and females, ages 13 to 18. A separate foster care program works primarily with teens, sibling sets, and children and youth whose families are in crisis. Our outpatient services division specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders among adolescents, as well as pregnant and parenting women. School- and community-based assessment and therapy, group education, and prevention programs support our core mission and goals.