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Carson Valley School

In 1907, Robert N. Carson, a childless Philadelphia trolley magnate, provided five million dollars to establish a decentralized rural children’s village for the benefit and education of poor, white, healthy girls. Carson fixed the ages at which girls could be admitted and graduate into the community and insisted that the college avoid the appearance of charity, that the girls be trained as individuals, that they not be dressed uniformly, that they are given a practical English education, and that those who were capable and so desired to be trained in music and the arts.

Elsa Ueland (1888–1980), President of Carson School from 1917-1960, established a program of education that brought fame to the institution. Ueland established a model of progressive education that included academic and vocational training enhanced by studies in art, music, dance and drama. Multi-disciplinary teams of professionals acknowledged creative play as fundamental to children’s well-being while focusing on the psychological understanding of children’s growth and development. The residential school’s curriculum of academic, social and vocational skills was far advanced of the public schools at this time. Carson School represented a new wave – when charity developed into social service and children were respected as individuals. The flexibility, focus on expert service and appreciation of individuality fostered in 1917 continue at CVCA today.


Carson Valley School began providing treatment foster care services, a community-based alternative to the institutional care of children and youth in the mid-1980s. Within the program, specially trained, highly skilled foster parents implement individualized treatment plans which focus on teaching children and youth social, emotional, daily living and educational skills. Treatment foster homes are located throughout the city of Philadelphia and surrounding counties. The children and youth served attend their neighborhood schools, receive health care in their neighborhoods and participate in cultural, religious and recreational activities in the neighborhoods in which they reside.

Children's Aid Society of Montgomery County

Children's Aid Society was founded in 1885 as a foster placement and adoption agency, serving multiple counties in Pennsylvania, and providing specialized social services to neglected and abused children in and out of the home.  Headquartered on DeKalb Street in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Children’s Aid Society grew to be a provider of foster care, adoption, and family focused services in Philadelphia and suburban counties.

Children’s Aid Society also merged with Helpline Center, Incorporated of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, in the 1990s. Helpline Center was established as a community counseling agency for children and their families closely affiliated with Children and Youth Services and the Department of Juvenile Probation of Montgomery County. This merger, expanded the community outreach of Children’s Aid Society by adding drug and alcohol outpatient services, crisis counseling and in-school prevention services. The connection to communities was continued and strengthened following the merger of Carson Valley School and Children’s Aid Society in 2008 to become Carson Valley Children’s Aid (CVCA). Currently, more than 5,000 children, youth and families are served in the following locations: Allegheny West, Logan Olney, New Covenant, Norristown and the CVCA main campus in Flourtown.

Carson Valley Children's Aid

Carson Valley School and Children’s Aid Society merged in 2008 establishing the combined entity, Carson Valley Children’s Aid (CVCA), as a foremost provider of services for children, youth and families.  Currently, CVCA provides a full range of services, including behavioral health, out of home care, prevention, intervention and education in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. CVCA's  services are designed to support children, youth and families along a continuum of interventions that acknowledge both the strengths and needs of individuals, engages them in a shared plan for their lives and partners with them to identify and explore meaningful choices as they consider a future that is focused not simply on surviving, but one that is about thriving.

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