Cheers to 110 Years!

Serving Arizona’s Children & Families across Arizona Since 1912

Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) is celebrating the 110th anniversary of its founding in May 1912 with a month of activities for our amazing staff and supporters.

Community members and supporters who have contributed to our success over the last 110 years were invited to join AzCA’s president and CEO on September 14th at 9am for a Virtual Birthday Bash to celebrate the work of the agency over the years with children and families in need across Arizona. The event was also an opportunity to engage with leadership through Q&A, and celebrate AzCA’s commitment to providing a second century of hope to our communities. In case you missed it, check out the recording!

Among the festivities, we will be hosting trivia games and spirit days for staff, sharing stories of family success and staff testimonials, give-back events across the state, a staff bake-off competition, and release of our virtual cook book that includes party recipes from AzCA staff and supporters. Until September 23rd, you can also purchase our special birthday shirt! Proceeds from the sales benefit our programs and services!

Mrs. Julia Attix
Mrs. Minnie Davenport

Arizona’s Children Association was founded in 1912 during a meeting of the Women’s Missionary Society of the First Christian Church of Tucson. As the group of proactive and modernistic women discussed their missionary work, it was revealed that local orphan children were being sent to California by train to live, rather than residing in their hometowns.

Inspired by this dialogue, Mrs. Minnie Davenport made a motion to found a Home in Arizona where orphaned and neglected children could be cared for and adopted. Following the approval of her motion, a call went out to unite all Tucson churches in the work. This group generated support and drafted the by-laws for the formation of Arizona Children’s Home Association.

In 1914, Mrs. Julia Attix donated 7.5 acres of land in South Tucson to the Association for the purpose of constructing a permanent Home to serve the children of Arizona. Work got underway on the construction once the Association was incorporated on March 2, 1915. In June, the first temporary home was opened and housed 6 children. It wasn’t long before we outgrew our first rental house and moved into a 14-room space until construction on our Home was finally completed in November 1921. The two-story building provided accommodations for up to 60 children.

As the years went on, we continued to grow our Home into a larger campus to better meet the needs of the children in our care. This included the addition of an infirmary to provide separate quarters for those in need of medical attention, and a new nursery for its growing family of infants and toddlers with its own sleeping quarters, play area, kitchen, bathrooms and nurse’s quarters.

In the early 1930s, as news of the agency’s work spread across the state, more cities, counties and volunteers united to help support the services of the Home. Depending solely on private donations, volunteer activities, along with county and court contracts, the Association was able to help a growing number of children each year – hope for Arizona’s children was being realized.

The 1940s brought additional change to the Association. The three buildings, which were constructed during our foundational years, formed the core of the agency’s Tucson campus, but it was evident that more could be done to support Arizona’s youth. In December 1941, the Association took its first step towards providing on-site education by opening its first kindergarten classroom. Additional growth over the following decade included expansion of the original infirmary building on two separate occasions. A reception area and play room were added in 1951; a much needed Administrative wing was added in 1958.

By 1960, the Association, along with the Arizona State Department of Health, was beginning to focus on the mental health needs of the agency’s children. Funds from the Federal Mental Health Act made it possible for the Association to hire a psychiatric social worker assigned to work with the children residing at the Home.

As programing continued to evolve over the next three decades, the Association constructed a new dormitory with two wings – each with its own kitchenette, bathroom and recreation room. The original Nursery building became home to the Nellie P. Covert School for the purpose of providing special education to the children of the Home, as well as select students from the Tucson community. After four years, the Covert School moved into a 6,700 square foot building constructed on the grounds of the Home. For nearly 50 years, the Covert School served students with special needs, including those with emotional challenges, learning disabilities, and behavioral health concerns.

The 70s and 80s were marked by more construction and renovation projects to accommodate the Associations continued growth and expansion. Generous donations and crucial funding efforts were key to the realization of these endeavors.

During the 1990s, the Association began providing regional services across Arizona. Beginning in Phoenix in 1991, it quickly grew to include all 15 Arizona counties. Work often expanded into some parts of the state well before offices were actually opened. To reflect the changing needs of children throughout the years, and our services that quickly extended far beyond the residential program in Tucson, we changed our name to Arizona’s Children Association in 1997.

In the 2000s, AzCA shifted focus to an evolution of strategies of care, allowing us to provide a broader scope of programs and services for children and their families statewide. Our residential treatment program of the past evolved to keep children more closely connected to their homes and/or their local community. Research shows that keeping kids tied to the connections they have formed in their life before their involvement in the child welfare system are incredibly powerful in their ability to adjust and adapt to change, thereby decreasing the likelihood of long-term trauma impact. Studies also show that more effective early intervention is key to building long-term family stability and even preventing struggles before they begin.

From 1999-2008, we acquired a number of independent nonprofit agencies that are now programs within AzCA. These new additions allowed us to expand our scope of services to parenting education, childhood sexual abuse, infant brain development, and much more!

Today, we are one of the oldest and largest statewide comprehensive child welfare and behavioral health not-for-profit agencies in AZ. We provide a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of more than 30,000 children, youth and families across the state each year.

At AzCA, we pride ourselves on innovation and remaining a leader in the fields of child welfare and behavioral health services – all of which is still made possible by donations and community involvement. We are committed to providing a specifically tailored continuum of services that help create and sustain a healthy family environment. We truly believe that every child deserves a permanent home that is safe and nurturing and we work hard day in and out to achieve that goal. All programs are family-focused, trauma-informed, strength-based, culturally sensitive and outcome driven.

We like to describe our agency as a “one-stop-shop” for all child welfare, prevention and behavioral health needs. They truly are wrap-around services. We look at the overall needs of each child and family who comes through our doors, and our staff work together to make their experience as enjoyable and seamless as possible.

There are so many ways to get involved:

  • LEARN about becoming a foster or adoptive parent
  • ATTEND a parenting class to learn best steps for your child’s successful development
  • SHOP our Amazon wish lists or provide new and necessary items (baby and other hygiene supplies, safety items, clothing, toys, and much more!)
  • CONNECT with us on social media
  • APPLY online today for any of our open positions statewide
  • DONATE to support our programs! Your gift may qualify you for a dollar-for-dollar qualifying Charitable Organization Tax Credit – up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples filing jointly.

Now more than ever, the future of our children and families depends on you! Your generosity will help ensure that the more than 30,000 children, youth and families we serve every year have access to the resources and supports they need to be safe, strong and resilient. Please help us keep our vital programs and services available and growing by making a contribution to AzCA’s 110th Anniversary campaign.

Here are some of the ways you can make your qualifying tax credit gift:

  • Donate online
  • Become an Everyday Hero with a monthly gift. Divide up your qualifying tax credit gift into smaller monthly payments that AzCA’s children and families can depend on.
  • Mail your check to Arizona’s Children Association – Attn: Donor Relations – to one of the following corporate offices:
    • 3716 E. Columbia Street, Tucson, AZ 85714
    • 3636 N. Central Avenue, Ste. 200, Phoenix, AZ 85012
  • Become a #ChangeMaker and donate your spare change from your everyday credit/debit card purchases with Round-Up Gifts to support AzCA – it’s simple!

Thank you, Arizona, for 110 years of excellence in our communities!