© Photo Courtesy of Children of Bellevue
Bellevue Hospital—not just a place, part of the lexicon—is home to one of the nation’s first nursing schools founded in 1873 and a residency training program initiated in 1883 that is still the model for surgical training worldwide. Bellevue also opened the nation’s first children’s clinic and welcomed its very first pediatric patients in 1874.
Following World War II, a group of women volunteers began donating their time and money to Bellevue Hospital with the hopes that every New York City child had access to world-class care regardless of income. More than just supporting children and families in need, these dedicated New Yorkers wanted Bellevue to offer the best care for the best kids in the best city in the world. Children of Bellevue (CoB), an independent 501c3 charitable organization and auxiliary to Bellevue Hospital, has been doing just that for the last 73 years.
Built on the passion of that ﬁrst group of New Yorkers, CoB has quietly grown to become an integral part of Bellevue Hospital and New York City since its founding in 1949—providing essential funding and advocacy to support innovation and expand services for pediatric patients. What began as a concerted effort to deliver companionship, support, and smiles to the young patients of Bellevue Hospital has since evolved into a professional organization on the front lines of pediatric care—developing, funding, and delivering world-class therapeutic programs, innovative services, and thought-provoking research in support of children nationwide.
Children of Bellevue supported the creation of the first emergency pediatric and adolescent psychiatric unit in the nation, and the first dedicated child life program at any public hospital in the United States to help children and families cope, adapt, learn and develop with and through their health care and life experiences. CoB backed the formation of the first dedicated multi-disciplinary child abuse and neglect unit in New York State as part of the pediatric emergency room at Bellevue. Since its inception, Children of Bellevue has served more than 1.5 million children.
In 2021, CoB’s programs served nearly 40,000 children and families alone, a population that truly represents the rich diversity of New York City. Through it all, Children of Bellevue’s mission has been to advocate for children and families that lack access to equitable resources and innovative care and support due to family poverty so that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The needs of New York City’s children and families have evolved over the more than seven decades since CoB was founded. However, it still serves working families, immigrants arriving in New York City, and children from every borough. In 2020 and 2021, the household income of the families supported by CoB fell under $36,000 annually—dramatically below the federal poverty guidelines for a family of four. With many families still struggling with the economic effects of COVID, CoB has continued to support food insecurity programs and outpatient services.
CoB is constantly working within Bellevue Hospital and throughout the community to expand the ways in which it can serve. Programs that support LGBTQ+ youth, teen parents, and expanded care for youth in foster care are all part of the new projects under consideration by the volunteers who make up CoB’s Board of Directors.
Jennifer J. Giasone, Chair of the Children of Bellevue Board of Directors is quick to note: “One of the best attributes of Children of Bellevue is our ability to quickly adapt to the pressing needs of the children and families we serve. Whether it is to treat the children who were separated from their families at the border, address food insecurity during the pandemic, or provide resources to unhoused LGBTQ+ youth coming from out of state, CoB has a flexible model to stay on top of urgent and ongoing trends that impact our most vulnerable populations here in New York City.”
Children of Bellevue has long understood that caring for the needs of children, the next generation of New Yorkers, requires more than medicine. Children and families in New York City need advocacy for their needs, support for their mental health, attention to creating healthy lifestyles, and much more.
Your contributions make it possible for the next generation of New Yorkers not just to survive but thrive in our city.
Learn more and donate at childrenofbellevue.org