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Public Statements

125th Anniversary Of The National Crittenton Foundation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, today marks the 125th anniversary of The National Crittenton Foundation, the nationwide organization that supports empowerment, self-sufficiency, and an end to cycles of destructive behavior and relationships by at-risk girls and young women. The organization began as the National Florence Crittenton Mission, founded in 1883 by 19th century philanthropist Charles Crittenton of New York City a year after his daughter Florence died at the age of 5. His goal was to assist girls and young women in trouble, and in the years that followed, Florence Crittenton Homes became famous in communities across the United States and in foreign countries as well.

One of the leading members of the Foundation today is the Crittenton Women's Union in Boston, which began as a Florence Crittenton Home in the city in 1896. It was launched by a pioneering group of women activists who wanted it to be a ``big sister'' to ``unfortunate New England girls'' young unmarried mothers in need of shelter and moral guidance.

In the years that followed these two organizations joined forces and combined with other organizations to create the Crittenton Women's Union, which today empowers low-income women in our city by providing safe housing, caring support services, education, and workforce development programs.

In addition to using its on-the-ground experience to shape public policy and achieve social change, Crittenton Women's Union is also Massachusetts' largest provider of transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children and the founder of New England's first transitional home for victims of domestic violence. The organization continues its innovative approach to today's compelling social problems through its focus on workforce development and post-secondary school training to enable women to become economically self-sufficient.

Its services are further strengthened by its unique partnership with the National Crittenton Foundation, which gathers valuable insights from its nationwide network of frontline agencies and provides a forum to share best practices and shape national policies to benefit all young women and girls at risk.

Today, 125 years after Charles Crittenton began his historic work as a an agent for positive change for young women and girls, Crittenton Women's Union and the National Crittenton foundation remain true to his vision. I welcome this opportunity to commend the Foundation and its extraordinary members on this special anniversary for their continuing vision and commitment to their goals in Massachusetts and throughout the Nation.

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