18 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Pleasantville, New Jersey 08232

Child Federation of Atlantic City, Inc.
Well Baby Clinic

& Parenting Support

About Us

HISTORY OF CHILD FEDERATION

Child Federation was founded in 1916. It is the first organized service for infants and pre-school children in the State of New Jersey resulting as an outgrowth of the celebration of “Health Week”. Child Federation is the inspiration of Dr. W.J. Carrington and a group of dedicated women in Atlantic County.

Mrs. Warren Somers was the organization’s first President and served with great dedication in the capacity for 36 years. The first home of the Federation was the American Ice Company at 2014 Artic Avenue in Atlantic City. Financial backing came from memberships at $1.00 a year, donations and benefit entertainments. By the end of its first year, Child Federation had added a new pre-natal department and listed 332 babies enrolled in its program: 50% white American, 20% Afro-American and 30% of foreign parentage.

In July 1919, a clinic was opened with the cooperation of the Atlantic City Board of Health and under the supervision of the newly created New Jersey Bureau of Child Welfare. Baby clinics were held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Pre-natal classes were held on Friday afternoons. In 1921, the Federation was looking to expand its services and began advertising in the local newspapers. One of the issues it wanted to bring to the attention of the public at this time was the benefit of breast-feeding over formulas.

In 1922, Child Federation moved its headquarters to the Atlantic City Hall Annex where it received rent-free quarters through the cooperation of the Mayor and Commissioners. In 1923, the Child Federation of Atlantic City was formally incorporated.

Through the years from 1916 to 1938 Child Federation operated on faith in the generosity of friends. However, in 1938 the Community Chest, now The United Way of Atlantic County, was organized and Child Federation became one of the agencies it supported. It was at this time that Child Federation headquarters and the Baby Keep Well Station were moved to the Boardwalk Hall.

In 1940, a new service was added to provide for the needs of uptown mothers. For their convenience, a branch of the Baby Keep Well Station was opened at the Massachusetts Avenue School. At the Boardwalk Hall site, a lending library with books on childcare was established. This period also saw an increase in the social consciousness of the public, which led to the proliferation of social services, some of which overlapped. In order to coordinate maternal and child health care, Child Federation collaborated with the City and State to coordinate through the Atlantic City Health Department.

With the advent of World War II, the clientele of Child Federation changed. Crowded living conditions and the low incomes of young military wives many miles from home brought heavy demands on Child Federation. In response, Child Federation established a baby carriage lending service with a grant for ten coaches from the Community Chest. Donations from the Charity League and other benefactors enabled the Federation to expand the service to include cribs, bassinets, playpens, highchairs and other such needs.

Child Federation continued to flourish after the war years. In 1964, the renovation of Convention Hall necessitated another move for Child Federation, this time to 22 N. Georgia Avenue. By now, Child Federation was providing a complete immunization program with a salaried physician in attendance at the clinics. The late seventies saw another move for Child Federation, this time to 3603 Winchester Avenue.

Cooperation with the Atlantic City Health Department continued throughout the years and in 1977 an agreement was reached to work cooperatively to conduct a weekly Child Health Conference. These conferences included immunizations, hearing and vision screening, Denver Developmental and Articulation Screening, laboratory testing and WIC services. Adult Health Screening for cancer, diabetes and hypertension was also available. This joint endeavor was discontinued in 1980 along with the adult screening. However, at this time, Juvenile Hypertension Screening was added to the services provided by Child Federation. Parenting skills are also an important part of the services provided by Child Federation. These needs are fulfilled by discussion on a one to one basis. Born Learning Child Development Guidelines are used at clinic visits.

In Atlantic County a shift in population was occurring due to the gambling era, Child Federation felt there was a need to expand its services to the Mainland. In 1986 the satellite Baby Keep Well Station was opened at the Recreation Center on Brighton Avenue in Pleasantville. Two years later, the satellite was moved to 211 South Franklin Boulevard in Pleasantville, NJ.

Services are offered for children from birth to 18 years of age. We offer full immunizations to uninsured children. There is no charge for our services but we do ask for a $5.00 donation per child, but no one is ever turned away.

In October 1993, after many months of hard work, we moved our entire facility to Pleasantville. We were able to purchase and renovate a house on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Our office and clinic are now in one location. This location is near public transportation and we have a large secure parking lot for those who drive. This was made possible through the generosity of Charity League and other private contributors. We rely heavily on volunteers to act as receptionists and to weigh and measure the children on clinic day. Child Federation also offers temporary help with all other child needs (diapers, formula, etc.). Child Federation relies on word of mouth, networking and other agencies, and school nurses to spread the word of our services.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of immunizations required for school attendance. In 2002, the State of New Jersey required all fourth grade students to be fully immunized against Hepatitis B in order to attend school.

In 2002, only 33% of Atlantic County children (2,154) were tested for lead. We are very pleased that since 2003 Child Federation has been offering lead-screening blood tests. The State of New Jersey requires children to be tested for lead poisoning by the age of two. Most uninsured parents cannot afford the fees that are charged by physicians and professional laboratories for these services, resulting in children not being tested. Atlantic County’s population is high-risk because many families live in older housing (houses constructed before 1975) containing lead-based paint.

In 2009, New Jersey began requiring that all high school students complete the series of Hepatitis B shots in order to attend school. Immunizations are now recommended for 16 diseases requiring multiple clinic visits.

Throughout the years since it’s founding, Child Federation of Atlantic City has changed with the times and needs of the mothers and young children in this area. It is the goal of Child Federation to continue to grow and fulfill the needs of the total family unit so that the youth of tomorrow will have the opportunity to enjoy a full and healthy life.

We have ongoing collaborative relationships with numerous public and private agencies, both as a referrer for services and the recipient of referrals, for services we supply. We routinely work with all Social Services Agencies in Atlantic City and Atlantic County, in addition to numerous private sector organizations, including:

  • AC Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies
  • Atlantic County School Nurses
  • Atlantic Human Resources
  • Catholic Charities
  • Charity League of Atlantic County
  • Department of Human Services,
  • Department of Family and Community Development
  • DYFS
  • Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church
  • Head Start
  • Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County
  • Kiwanis of Atlantic City
  • Stroser Foundation
  • Success by 6