For more than 175 years, DCCH Center for Children and Families has served the needs of more than 3500 children in Northern Kentucky. Each of these children has become part of our family tree.

June 4, 1848

First meeting of the group destined to organize a home for Catholic orphans in Kenton County. The St. John’s Orphan Society selected Frank Derhaber as Chairman and started with $62.56 capital.

January 28, 1868

Building and property off Lexington Pike (now Dixie Highway) were purchased for about $17,000. Property formerly housed St. Aloysius Seminary. New orphanage dedicated in spring of 1871, housing nine girls. Benedictine nuns were in charge of the facility.


St. John’s began accepting boys as well as girls, creating the need for additional buildings. By 1892, a three-story facility with classrooms, playroom, dormitories and living quarters was completed.


St. John’s Orphans Society celebrated its 75th anniversary. Approximately 50 children lived at the facility. An estimated 1,200 people attended a special mass held at Mother of God Church in Covington.

February 10, 1926

A major fire consumed the school building. The fire’s origin was traced to a furnace. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze. Four months later lightning struck, causing a fire in another one of the buildings. In July, the Society announced plans to build a new school and rectory.


Almost $100,000 was raised for the project and construction began. By Labor Day 1928, the financing was completed. By 1929, 104 children lived in the new facility.

March 5, 1935

Fire again claimed a place in the history of the home. The Chapel, dining room, and the kitchen were consumed by the blaze. By Thanksgiving 1935, the damages of the buildings were repaired.

January 1949

St. John’s celebrated its 100th anniversary. Records show 118 children lived here at that time.


Orphanage name changed to St. John’s Children’s Home. Sisters of Notre Dame assumed charge of the residence.

July 11, 1961

The Diocese of Covington announced the merging of St. John’s Orphanage and St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Cold Spring into one facility in Fort Mitchell. The name was changed to Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home.

June 30, 1963

The current residential building was dedicated with room for 48 children in four family- style apartments, central kitchen, chapel, and convent.

September 1966

The program was changed to meet the needs of children with serious emotional disabilities. Guardian Angel School began holding classes on campus.

May 1989

Sr. Jean Marie Hoffman, SND is named Executive Director.


Renovation of the Residential Building was completed from dormitory to individual bedrooms for the children.

July 1997

H.A.L.O (Helping All the Little Ones) League is formed to provide additional funding for the organization.

June 1998

DCCH celebrated it's 150th anniversary.

July 1, 1998

Assessment/Crisis Stabilization/Treatment (ACT) Unit opened as a short-term placement for children with emotional and behavioral needs.

April 1999

Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) Program launched to assist the needs of children in a home based environment.

August 2000

Flea Market first opened its doors to help fund programs at DCCH.

June 2002

DCCH becomes a state-licensed adoption agency for our TFC Children.

June 2008

ACT Unit converts six beds to residential treatment beds.

September 2011

Equine Therapy added to residential treatment program.


The name was changed to DCCH Center for Children and Families.

January 2012

The Therapy Center at DCCH officially opens, providing quality mental health services to children, adults, couples and families.

April 2012

The new Sisters of Notre Dame Welcome Center and relocated Guardian Angel School are dedicated.

February 2013

Construction begins in the Residential Building to expand the children’s living spaces. Six new beds are added, raising the total bed count to 40. These new beds allow DCCH to serve approximately ten more children per year.

December 2014

Bob Wilson is named Executive Director.

August 2017

The new Independent Living program started to assist young adults transition from foster care to being on their own.

July 2019

Targeted Case Management program begins assisting families in Northern Kentucky with wrap-around services.

March 2023

Denise Govan is named Executive Director.

June 2023

DCCH celebrates it's 175th anniversary.