We BelieveEvery Child Can

For 125 years, The Episcopal Center for Children (ECC) in Washington, D.C. has helped children in difficult circumstances.
Our commitment to supporting and enabling children remains steadfast.

admin | Tuesday, December 11, 2018


April 2022 Update from ECC

Maret Athletic Field Project Moves Forward On April 6, 2022, the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) unanimously approved the Maret School’s application to build athletic fields at Episcopal Center for Children (ECC). In announcing their decision, the BZA Commissioners offered strong support of the project and its benefits to the community. They also thanked the Maret School for its willingness to mitigate neighborhood impacts and adjust plans. The BZA Commissioners applauded the work of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G,…

Friday, April 15, 2022


washing hands

Parenting Children During the Coronavirus PandemicTips for Parents

WASHINGTON – This is an unprecedented time in our world and, understandably, there are many questions and concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shut down of schools, business establishments, and restaurants combined with social distancing, and self quarantine have resulted in major changes to how we navigate our daily lives. Families with children of all ages are impacted by these changes. Parents are creatively looking to adapt to new routines to support their children while seeking to establish responsibility,

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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. Most recently, we were 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.

Through June 2019, The Episcopal Center for Children continued 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.

What Others Are Saying About ECC

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admin | Monday, January 21, 2019