We BelieveEvery Child Can

The Episcopal Center for Children (ECC) in Washington, D.C. is a school where every child can become their best self. For 125 years, we’ve helped children in difficult circumstances at our integrated day treatment facility. Our commitment to supporting and enabling children (K-8) remains steadfast.

admin | Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Episcopal Center for Children by the Numbers

Admissions Office of The Episcopal Center for Children ()
admin | Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Students We Serve

There is no typical child and nor is there a typical ECC student. Each child has their own unique needs and challenges. But the common element amongst our students is that they struggle with emotional challenges which are severe enough that they are not able to remain in a traditional public school.

About half of our students have multiple disabilities and one-quarter have health impairments. Twenty-five percent of students are diagnosed with emotional disturbance.

Two out of three students are boys and our student body is overwhelmingly African-American. Other national origins, races, and/or ethnicities account for about one-eighth of our student population.

Almost all of our student body qualifies for free lunch under Federal government guidelines. Most of our students are from D.C. public schools and public charter schools. About one in six are from nearby Virginia and Maryland school districts.

All of the students at the Center have individualized education programs (IEPs). We focus on treating the whole child in a supportive and positive environment, so the child can work through past trauma, learn coping skills, and ultimately return to the public school setting if possible.

admin | Friday, March 8, 2019

Student ProfileSuzie

Suzie came to the Center as a third grader. She was facing severe emotional challenges and she was at least two grade levels behind her peers.

At the Center, Suzie found teachers and staff who cared about her well-being. They wanted to help her thrive. They coached her gently and gave her new tools to help manage her behavior. A reading specialist and math teacher devoted hours to helping her, and she eventually read above her grade level. Suzie is just one of the thousands of children touched by the Center’s care and support.

admin | Thursday, February 14, 2019

Support Children

You can be the next link in our legacy of hope and healing for children coping with emotional challenges. Your financial gift will make a huge impact on the life of a child.

admin | Monday, January 21, 2019

Our Heritage

From its beginnings as a summer home for underprivileged children, then an orphanage, and later as a residential school for children with disabilities, ECC has always been a beacon of safety, support, and hope for children. Today, we are a K-8 school with an integrated day treatment program for children facing severe emotional challenges who cannot attend public schools and need focused one-on-one help to succeed.
Read the fascinating history of ECC
In our 125-year history, the Episcopal Center for Children has steadfastly served children in need.

Early Beginnings

The Episcopal Center for Children traces its origins to 1894 in Colonial Beach, Virginia. The Reverend Willard and his wife Mary Davenport of Emmanuel Church in Anacostia wanted to establish a summer home for underprivileged children. Sources indicate she was also caring in her own home for convalescent children who had nowhere to go when leaving the hospital. They were aided by Professor Alexander Melville Bell (the father of Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone). He donated 14 lots in Colonial Beach where he had a summer home.

An active member of the Order of the Daughters of the King, Mary Davenport worked with other like-minded religious women committed to social action. They set up a summer program for children at the “Bell Home for Poor Children,” serving those who were under-nourished or recovering from illnesses. The program served children from the city ages 6-16, giving them a summer experience “in the country.”

But it quickly became apparent that children in need, require year-round care. So an orphanage was opened in Anacostia, with land and a building donated. As the program expanded, the ladies from Emmanuel Church asked the Episcopal Diocese to assist with management. The children would spend the summers at the Bell Home in Colonial Beach, and the school year in Anacostia.

By 1905, the work was outgrowing the facilities available. The organization became the Episcopal Home for Children, adopting its new name in 1907 and the organization was incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1908. Finances were tight in the early years, and by 1914 there were 66 children living at the Bell Home.

Again, the Home outgrew its facilities. In December 1930, thanks to generous private donors and the Episcopal Diocese, the home moved to its present location on Utah Avenue.

A Re-Focused Mission: Assisting Children with Emotional Challenges

As public assistance programs expanded in the two decades after the Great Depression, there was no need for an orphanage. In 1957 the orphanage was closed and the Home’s Board of Directors undertook a survey to determine how the Home could best help children in need in the Washington, D.C. area.

After the 1957 survey, the Home’s mission became to help children with emotional challenges that could be treated in a therapeutic group residential care setting. A residential treatment and education program began in January 1959, when the Home re-opened. Students stayed on site six days a week for treatment and education. There were 23 students in 1959, with 8 girls and 15 boys.

The Day Treatment Program Emerges

A series of grants from the DeVore Foundation began in 1962, and a 1964 Title I grant led to the addition of a day treatment program for children from the Cardozo section of Washington, D.C. The program was so successful over a three-year period, that the Board of Directors added the day treatment program to the Center permanently and broadened its reach to include all of the metropolitan areas of D.C.

At this point, the Board of Directors felt the organization’s name needed an update because of the program’s changing focus, and the “Home” became the Episcopal Center for Children.

For the next thirty years, the Center served both day and residential students, with children sometimes moving back and forth between the residential and day programs, depending on their individual needs. Children began the program at ages 5 through 10 and a half years.

By the early 1990s, residential institutions for children and adults were downsizing around the country. The Center gradually discharged its remaining residential students and ceased residential care in January 2002. The program shifted entirely to a day treatment and education program.


The Episcopal Center for Children continues to serve children coping with emotional challenges, offering a day treatment and education program. While other school districts in the metro area send students to the Center, the majority of the students still come from D.C.

admin | Saturday, January 26, 2019

Our Campus

admin | Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The Episcopal Center for Children5901 Utah Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20015-1616(202) 363-1333(202) 537-5044 (fax)admissions@eccofdc.org
admin | Thursday, February 28, 2019

What Students and Families Are Saying About ECC

Stay in Touch

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admin | Monday, January 21, 2019

Joint Commission

The Center is accredited with a Gold Seal of Approval® by the Joint Commission® for behavioral healthcare. Accreditation ensures we have strong controls for safety and you can be confident in the quality of our programs.

admin | Saturday, January 19, 2019

Office of the State Superintendent of Education

The Center is certified to receive students by the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). We are eligible to receive students from neighboring communities including the District of Columbia, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and the City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County in Virginia.

admin | Saturday, January 19, 2019