St. Mary's Home for Children opened its
doors in 1877 as an orphanage within the Episcopal Diocese.
Reverend Daniel Ingalls Odell was rector of St. Mary's Church in
East Providence, Rhode Island when a couple in his parish died
leaving two children. During the same winter another couple died
leaving five children. Father Odell took them in and provided
for their care. St. Mary's has always been a non-profit agency,
committed to serving the changing needs of children and
In 1879, St. Mary's became an Incorporated Institution, under
the name of St. Mary's Orphanage, governed by a Board of
Trustees, with the Bishop of the Diocese as President.
1925, so many applications were being received that it became
necessary to find larger quarters. In 1926, Mrs. Theodore Gibbs
from Newport, contributed one hundred thousand dollars to St.
Mary's Orphanage. Seven acres of land were purchased in North
Providence for a new location. After fifty years in East
Providence, Rhode Island, St. Mary's moved to its present site
on Fruit Hill Avenue in North Providence. In 1928, the charter
was revised to name the orphanage, "St. Mary's Home for
Keeping up with the times and the needs of
its clients, St. Mary's has added many services over the years.
The facilities were extended in 1954, to include a separate
residence for teenage girls, St. Martha's House. In the 1960s,
St. Mary's began receiving requests to accept children who
displayed behavioral problems both at home and in the community.
St. Mary's psychiatric program which had been established in the
1950s proved to be invaluable.
1980's were a time of tremendous expansion and for St. Mary's.
The George N. Hunt Campus School was established in 1982;
developed for behaviorally disordered residential and day
students who for various reasons have failed to succeed in
public school. The Shepherd Program was established in 1985 in
response to the growing need for therapeutic intervention for
child victims. It is a specialized state-of-the-art, out-patient
treatment program for child victims of sexual abuse, children
with sexual behavior problems, juvenile sex offenders, and their
the fall of 2004 St. Mary's added two new Acute Residential
Treatment Services (ARTS) to its existing programs. The ARTS Programs provide short-term psychiatric
hospital step-down and diversion services with complete
diagnostic and assessment capabilities for girls and boys.
St. Mary's Home for Children is governed by
a Board of Directors. While it still receives some support from
the Episcopal Diocese, St. Mary's is a non-sectarian
organization working with children from diverse religious and
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