sister-mary-kathleen-clarkOne of the oldest and most respected non-profit organizations in Tucson, Casa de los Niños has been caring for  children and families in crisis since 1973.

Our founder, Sister Kathleen Clark, was an emergency room nurse at St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. Having seen the same children in the emergency room — over and over again — Sister Kathleen prayed that someone, somewhere would do something about child abuse. Soon, she realized this “someone” needed to be her.

Using a home she was offered on the corner of N. 4th Avenue and E. Speedway Boulevard, Sister Kathleen opened one of the first crisis nurseries in the United States. In subsequent years, a number of similar programs were launched around the country using Casa de los Niños as their model.

Sister Kathleen was tireless in her efforts to help the children. Her “little black book” of local business leaders was probably the best in Tucson. She befriended them all. And she was not shy when it came to asking them for help!

Casa de los Ninos with workersCasa de los Niños quickly became a source of pride for the Tucson community. Volunteers came forward to help in the nursery. Others brought diapers, clothes and toys. Still others sent financial gifts. Such support enabled the organization to survive…and then to grow. Today, our work has expanded far beyond shelter care. We provide a wide array of programs and services designed to promote child well-being and family stability.

In 1983, friends persuaded Sister Kathleen to publish a history of Casa de los Niños entitled “A Dream Come True”.  It is a moving narrative of the organization’s early years. To get a copy of Sister Kathleen’s book, please call 520-624-5600.

Casa de los Niños: a History

Hover over each date in the timeline to see the photos.

1973
Sr. Kathleen Clark opens Casa de los Niños, the first crisis shelter in the nation designed specifically for infants.
1978
Recognizing the need for a shelter for older children, a new 18-bed shelter is opened for children ages 4-11.
1987
Sr. Kathleen Clark retires as Executive Director and Jeanne Landdeck-Sisco begins her 17 year tenure as Executive Director.
1989
Angel Charity for Children provides a gift of $823,144 to help fund the construction of a new shelter for infants and children under the age of 5.
1998
The O'Rielly Family Foundation, after years of generous support, provides a gift to renovate the shelter for school-age children- now known simply as "O'Rielly".
2004
Jeanne Landdeck-Sisco retires and Susie Huhn, MA, becomes the 3 rd CEO.
2014
Our new Family Center designs are complete and a $12M capital campaign is launched.
We Need Your Help!
2017
Construction is moving along as planned on the Cole & Jeannie Davis Family Center