On October 1, 1998 an historic event occurred; Trillium Family Services came to be as a result of a merger between three of Oregon’s oldest children’s nonprofits, Children’s Farm Home, Waverly Children’s Home and Parry Center for Children. For more than 100 years these three organizations have been a vital resource in meeting the needs of Oregon’s communities.
The Children’s Farm Home, the Parry Center for Children, and Waverly Children’s Home have all consistently evolved to fulfill the greatest need in children’s services.
Until 1998, the Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis, the Parry Center for Children and Waverly Children’s Home in Portland operated as three independent care agencies, but leaders at all three organizations realized that to better serve the children and families of Oregon, they would have to use their scarce resources more strategically. The more efficient they could be by combining programs and staff, the more children and families they could serve.
Thus, Trillium Family Services was born. The board members of each agency chose Trillium as the agency’s new name based on three components — child, family and community. Today, we are many campuses but truly one agency — although we consciously retained the names of each campus to honor our history.
The “child, family, community” banner that led to the name Trillium represented the three areas upon which Trillium’s services focused and represented a new model of engagement. No longer would children’s therapy be separate from the other two areas. In all treatment matters, therapists would engage all three areas to deliver the most comprehensive care possible to reach the ultimate goal — returning children to their home communities where they could live and succeed in their everyday settings at home, school and elsewhere.
Children’s Farm Home History
In 1919, Mary Powers Riley asked her “sisters” of the Oregon Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) to help create an orphanage that was not an institution, but a facility with the “atmosphere of a real home.” in December 1922, Ms. Unruh turned the first shovel of dirt for the first cottage, named The Willard.
In 1962, the WCTU turned complete control of the Farm Home over to the board of trustees and the focus turned from housing orphaned children to treating youth with behavioral and emotional struggles. The 1960’s and 70’s were a time of great change as the farm home evolved with the current social needs of Oregon. Farming activities were greatly reduced as they became more of a treatment resource rather than a necessity.
The 80s and 90s were decades of growth as cuts in state aid for service agencies forced the Farm Home to rethink its own economic survival. The agency sought and received national accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). This enabled the agency to provide contracted services for the Oregon State Mental Health Division, as well as services for children and families.
Today, the Trillium Children’s Farm Home campus is headquarters to Trillium’s programs and services in the Mid-Willamette Valley, including psychiatric residential care, outpatient therapy, therapeutic foster care, in-home therapy, and many other services that are based in the region’s communities.
Parry Center for Children and Waverly Children’s Programs History
In 1867, the Ladies Relief Society formed one of the first charitable organizations in Oregon to help “children who have no place to go.” These were orphaned children who were part of the trek west in the days of the Oregon trail.
The home was built in 1872 to care for these children. It eventually became the Children’s Home and was housed on the west side of Portland. In 1926, the present East Powell Boulevard campus was built. In the 1950’s, approaches to care for children changed and in 1961 children suffering from mental illness had “no place to go.” the first Oregon program for residential treatment of severely troubled children was established on the campus, and the agency officially adopted the name Parry Center for children to honor Elizabeth Parry, the long-time superintendent of the earlier Children’s Home.
Today, the Trillium Parry Center campus continues its commitment to Oregon’s children, adolescents and their families, serving as Trillium’s site for psychiatric residential care in the Portland metro area. The campus also houses the secure children’s inpatient program, which serves the most severely affected children ages 5 to 12 years old who formerly would have been served at the Oregon state hospital.
Five women who saw the need for care of abandoned and mistreated children founded Waverly in 1888, shortly after Portland’s first bridge was completed. As Portland grew, so did the number of homeless and neglected babies.
On Jan. 18, 1888, the Baby Home was officially established under the leadership of Mary Halsey. The agency was incorporated by J.W. Kern, James Abraham and A.L. Keenan.
In order to obtain more space, the Baby Home moved to a house and barn on a section of land donated by (S.W.) Capt. J.W. and Mrs. Kern in memory of their deceased child.
The agency was later licensed by the state to care for children up to the age of 12, and the facility changed its name to Waverly Children’s home. In 1968, Waverly started its residential care programs for treatment of emotionally and behaviorally challenged children.
Today, the Trillium Waverly Children’s Programs (including day treatment and therapeutic school programs, outpatient therapy, and most of Trillium’s community-based programs for the greater Portland metro region) are housed on the Parry Center campus.
If you would like information about the Waverly adoption registry, please contact Kathleen Boyll at 541-758-7730 or reach out via email.
Today Trillium Family Services is Oregon’s largest community benefit provider of mental and behavioral healthcare for children and families. Trillium is ranked as one of the top five most effective Children’s Mental Health Organization nationwide.
Trillium’s evidence-based mental health practices are guided by the principles of Trauma-Informed Care. Treatment plans are tailored to meet the needs of each child, parents and family members are inclusive members in each child’s treatment, and enrichment programs such as horticultural, equine and canine therapies support and enhance successful outcomes.
In 2014 Trillium Family Services provided care and treatment for 3400 Oregon children.