A History of Father Maloney’s Boys & Girls Haven
Father James C. Maloney. Many great stories rest on the shoulders of a mighty protagonist facing a difficult quest. For Boys & Girls Haven, our hero came in the form of a Catholic priest whose heart was moved by the hundreds of orphaned, abandoned, and/or abused young people with nowhere to turn in 1940s Louisville.
In the opening half of the 1900s, girls and boys who were either biological orphans or came from abusive or otherwise unsatisfactory homes were sent to orphanages until the age of 14. At that time, the orphanages were required by law to return children to their families or send them to foster homes. While girls were more easily placed in homes, teenage boys often had no choice but to move into a rooming house and make their way alone in the world.
In July 1948, armed with little more than a conviction and a prayer, Father Maloney secured homes for nine boys in the basement of St. Raphael Church and in private boarding homes. Almost exactly two years later, these nine young men, a cook, and Father Maloney moved into Kelly Cottage, the first building on the now iconic Goldsmith Lane campus.“This home is being established to take care of boys who are too old to remain in the orphanage and yet too young to make their own way unsupervised in the world. We will take care of the needy boys who want to continue their education and those who need adult care and living quarters while they are establishing themselves in a job.”
Same Story. New Era. Due to many changes in society and in the social services sector over the last 70 years, the small home off of Bardstown Road has evolved and flexed to continue meeting the needs of young tweens and teens in the community.
Here are a few milestones in the evolution of Father Maloney’s Boys & Girls Haven:
- 1980s: Boys Haven* formally aligned with the shifting foster care system in Kentucky to continue housing young people most in need of support.
- 1998: On August 22, 1998 Father Maloney passed away. Despite his 1983 retirement, Father Maloney continued living on the Goldsmith Lane campus and providing insight to the home for his remaining years.
- 2004: A significant change came in 2004 when the Boys Haven family expanded to serve young women in their programs. This spurred an official name change to *Father Maloney’s Boys & Girls Haven to better reflect our population.
- 2005: After 50 years of service, the Boys & Girls Haven cottages received a much-needed $2 million renovation thanks to generous donations from Louisville-area families and businesses.
- 2007: Boys & Girls Haven opened service in its one-of-a-kind Equine Program. The program primarily serves as an equine assisted psychotherapy program but also functions as a job training program as young people earn high school credits for working with the horses and completing a Junior Achievement career training curriculum.
- 2018: Recognizing alarming rates of homelessness, incarceration, joblessness and underemployment, and other negative factors for young people aging out of foster care, Boys & Girls Haven launched a revolutionary Independence Readiness pilot program focused on an individualized, trauma-informed approach to Mentoring, Life Skills, and Career Readiness.
A Home and A Future. From its humble beginnings as a dream in the heart of a compassionate priest, Boys & Girls Haven blossomed into a nonprofit agency employing over 100 staff members and serving more than 1000 individuals in our five core programs each year.
The story of Father Maloney’s Boys & Girls Haven is one of community and a single-hearted mission: to provide “a home and a future” for young people with no other path. 70 years behind us and we’ve only just begun.