History of Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York

Since 1930, Little Flower has been committed to improving the lives and well being of those we serve by providing foster boarding home care, residential treatment care and where appropriate, adoption.  Our work focuses on strengthening the family so that they can provide a safe nurturing environment for raising children and to overcome a myriad of obstacles that threaten a child’s safety.

Little Flower’s growth as a service provider reflects its social history and parallels the development of the child welfare system in New York.


  • New York State Board of Charities approves the incorporation of “Little Flower House of Providence for Homeless Colored Children”, a residential center for orphaned, abandoned, and neglected children, founded by Monsignor Bernard J. Quinn.


  • Walter Smith, the first child, arrives on campus.
  • Mother Katherine Drexel and the The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament agree to staff the home and school.
  • The Little Flower House of Providence School opens with nine students and is staffed by 24 Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth replacing the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • 283 children were now in the home and school.
  • Msgr. Quinn, now a Monsignor, passes away on April 7, 1940 and is replaced by Monsignor Raymond Campion.
  • John Fagan, a sophomore at Cathedral College, joins Little Flower’s “Camp Claver” as a counselor, serving as a lifeguard and cottage parent for 20 boys.
  • Sister Medarda becomes the first Sister Social Worker.


  • A Chapel is built on the Wading River campus and dedicated to Msgr Quinn.
  • The non-Catholic children by-law is revoked to allow all children, regardless of religion.
  • The Foster Boarding Home Program is established.
  • The first adoption is accomplished on August 28th,1957.
  • Father John Fagan is elected Executive Vice President by the Board of Directors.
  • The Little Flower School becomes a Special Education School of the New York City Public Education System.
  • Little Flower initiates a Group Home Program that served adolescent children until 1995.


  • Little Flower establishes The Adoption Services Program.
  • New York State Legislature signs a bill creating the Little Flower School of Wading River, Union Free School District No. 3.
  •  In response to the Willowbrook scandal, Little Flower opens the first Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) for developmentally disabled adults on East 21st Street in Brooklyn.
  • A fire destroys the children’s dormitories on the Wading River campus, forcing emergency relocation of all residents.


  • A dedication ceremony is held for the first of the children’s rebuilt cottages destroyed by the fire and all children return to the campus.
  • Msgr. John Fagan begins his weekly radio programs, “Seed for Hope”, on WLIM in Patchogue and continues for more than 2010 editions.
  • Msgr John T. Fagan is appointed Executive Director by the Board of Directors.
  • McSharry’s Hope ICF, a home to 20 developmentally disabled adults, opens in Wading River.
  • The “Little Guys Project” is established to address the issue of “boarder babies”, infants left in city hospitals waiting to be placed in foster homes.
  • Father Quinn’s room for abused women welcomed it’s first family.
  • The 700th child is placed with a foster family as part of the “Little Guys Project”
  • The “Starting Over” Program, currently known as the Therapeutic Foster Boarding Home (TFBH) Program, is established to serve adolescents at risk.
  • The “Family Day Care Program” is established to serve children in provider homes across Suffolk and Nassau Counties and Queens.


  • Little Flower Children’s Health Center, designed to provide medical treatment to children in care, opens in Brooklyn.
  • The first television spot of the “Little Flower Journal” with Msgr.John Fagan appears on Channel 55.
  • Mary Ryder is appointed Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.  Msgr. John Fagan remains as Executive Vice President.


  • Seven new cottages are built for the children residents of the Residential Treatment Center in Wading River.
  • Msgr. John T. Fagan retires as Executive Vice President of the agency after 42 years of service.
  • The Honorable Herbert W. Stupp is hired as the new Executive Vice President of the agency.
  • Little Flower Children’s Services of New York officially changes its name to Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York.
  • A new Infirmary/Respite building, the “Bonnie & Betty’s House”, opens on the Wading River campus.
  • Two new two-bed Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) facilities open in Jamaica, NY.
  • Msgr. John T. Fagan passes away at the age of 79.  Services are held in the chapel on the Wading River campus.
  • Little Flower is awarded one of the largest contracts in New York City to serve Brooklyn youth at-risk of out-of-home placement due to their involvement with the juvenile justice system as part of the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI).
  • Realizing the strong demand from employers and employees for high-quality eldercare counseling, Little Flower establishes the ElderCare Solutions program.
  • The Bridges to Health (B2H) program begins serving the needs of children in foster care and their families with the goal of keeping them in the community and preventing placement for the child in a more restrictive setting.
  • Grace G. Lo Grande retires as Executive Director of the agency after 19 years of service.
  • Corinne Hammons is appointed Chief Executive Officer.