Ädelbrook was founded in 1900 by the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church. Dedicated and opened as The Swedish Christian Orphanage, its purpose was to “provide a home for homeless and neglected children… and provide not only for the physical needs of a child, but that the Word of God be taught…so that each child may discover the joy and security of a Christian faith.”
Our current location was a gift from several farmers and in 1915 a new three and a half story “home“ was built and seventy-two children, plus staff, moved to the 60 Hicksville Road location. With many farm amenities still on campus, the children who resided at the home were taught to do many of the farm chores.
From 1920 to 1950, the campus was home to a Christian summer camp and many conferences. Dormitories and dining halls were built to accommodate the residents and summer population. To this day the original Dining Pavilion of the Camp still graces the hilltop on campus.
By the 1960s, orphanages, in their truest sense of the word, were a thing of the past. But there was still a need to house children whose homes were not safe. Thus began our partnership with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. We met the need by expanding our mission to include a therapeutic approach that brought more children into the fold, and provided an environment for them to heal from trauma, and reach their fullest potential.
In 1972, The Unity Center was built, offering a more home-like atmosphere for the boys and girls and also to allow for “on campus” educational classes. Prior to this, residents had attended local public schools. Additionally, clinical, medical, dining and recreational areas were incorporated into the facility to meet the needs of the residents.
By 1980, the need for an educational facility on campus, and in the community, was so great that the Learning Center was built to provide special education to Ädelbrook’s residents as well as day students from surrounding school systems.
For one hundred years, Ädelbrook was an affiliate of the East Coast Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. In 2000, the agency became affiliated with the denomination’s Covenant Ministries of Benevolence (CMB). Now, the eastern side of our hill is the location of the Covenant Retirement Communities of Cromwell, a ministry of the elderly also affiliated with CMB.
In 2002, an affiliate, Community Services Inc., was created to better serve some of our neighbors needs. Community Services provides a growing range of community based services that assist children of all ages and their families to maximize their potential. Programs offered through Community Services are the Family Treatment Center, three group homes for girls and other outpatient and clinical programs.
In 2012, In-Home Support Services, professional and behavioral assistance to families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities, began and has been offered in 50 of Connecticut’s communities.
In 2013, Shiloh House, a residential assessment program for boys and girls, opens in Cromwell. The first Continuous Residential Support (CRS) Home opens in Waterbury, five more homes come on line before the end of year. Day support services are offered for young adults who need programming to improve activities of daily living and connect with the community. Transitional Academy I opens in Middletown accepting students ages 18–21 who need additional educational and vocational training. The Learning Center—Manchester, a special education school for children ages 3–10, opens.
In 2014, Transitional Academy II opens in Middletown to serve young persons 18–21 who require more intensive job coaching and individualized educational programming. Five additional CRS homes are added bringing the total to 10 homes across Connecticut. Genesis House, an extension home, is created in the community to support transition into the community for three of our Cromwell residents. The Processing Center opens to house all business and human resources operations and staff.
From 2015 to 2018, Sense-Able Solutions, an Occupational Therapy program for individuals with sensory challenges, opens in downtown Middletown. The Learning Center—East Hartford opens as an expansion of our school in Cromwell. A second residential extension home for Jordan House is opened. The Staff Training Academy moves from Cromwell to our East Hartford school to share space. Within just three years Ädelbrook’s staff number has grown from 150 full and part time positions to over 650.
After more than 100 years of caring for children and their families, Ädelbrook continues to adapt to meet the changing needs of the community while remaining dedicated to the principles of its original mission. Today, we are a state-of-the-art residential treatment center, special education school, and family treatment center.