100th Anniversary Celebration

By Haley Burton

100th Anniversary Celebration

May 23, 2012 Updated May 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Children's Home has spent 100 years proving a safe place for abandoned or abused children.

Its goal for the future? Get more kids adopted.

The Children's Home celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a luncheon at the Binghamton Riverwalk.

Around 500 people attended the event.

The Children's Home started in 1912 with three orphanages. Today, it serves 600 children and their families and runs 18 programs.

Its mission is to not only provide homes to those kids who do not have one, but enhance their safety, stability and well-being now and into the future.

"We're really looking at trying to maintain a community focus and work with children and families in their homes and the community and we're looking to increase the number of children that are adopted over the years," said Chip Houser, President and CEO of The Children's Home.

Last year in Broome County, 52 children were placed for adoption. Houser says this is a huge number compared to previous years. He credits a joint effort by the Children's Home and the County Department of Social Services. Houser says he'd like to see 20 to 25 kids adopted in 2012.

Rita Soronen, President of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, was the guest speaker. She spoke about the critical need for adoptions.

"Here in Binghamton, across New York and across the nation, there is still a need to focus on children in foster care that are awaiting on adoption," said Soronen.

She says the need is great especially in finding homes for those children in their pre-teens and teens.

"It's an older child that is beginning to linger in foster care so an awareness about older children waiting in care, understanding who they are, dispelling some misconceptions and stepping forward and making a commitment in your community to say it's not okay for an 18 year old to turn 18 and leave foster care without a family," said Soronen.

If you can't adopt, Soronen says there are other opportunities to volunteer and mentor children at The Children's Home or you can help by getting the word out in your community about the need to find these children homes.

WBNG-TV's Candace Chapman was the MC of Wednesday's luncheon at the Riverwalk.