From Almshouses to Excellence: A History of Child Welfare in Allegheny County



For 50 years, Allegheny County government has been responsible for providing public child welfare services for the residents of Allegheny County. To commemorate this significant anniversary, a publication was commissioned by the Department of Human Services to chronicle the history of child welfare in the county. 

While Allegheny County is now recognized as a national leader in creating better outcomes for children and families, this was not always the case. This publication describes the evolution of child welfare in Allegheny County, from the almshouses and orphanages of the 18th and 19th centuries, to the reforms of the 20th century, to the current emphasis on integrated services that focus on family strength and permanency for children. Dr. Helen Cahalane and Professor Emeritus Edward Sites contributed to the creation of the report. Read more on the DHS Research website.