In 1949 a group of pioneering women changed the lives of children at Bellevue Hospital. At that time, gloomy, overcrowded children’s wards were scattered throughout the huge Bellevue complex. Many of the children needed months of bed rest, and “foundlings” were brought in from the streets to live in the hospital. Children of Bellevue’s journey began with the simple purchase of a washing machine. The children had to wear skimpy gowns embossed with a large letter B so that the uniforms would not get lost when they were sent to the laundry. The new washing machine allowed for the laundry to be done on the premises so children could have their own clothes. This spirit and vision to provide the highest level of care during hospitalization is the lasting foundation for Children of Bellevue’s programs.
Children of Bellevue (CoB) is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 to initiate, fund and develop special programs and to act as an advocate for children and their families within Bellevue Hospital Center. In the 1940s a group of dedicated volunteers joined together to create programs for children who were receiving medical care. CoB now funds programs throughout the pediatric and psychiatric programs.
The work of Children of Bellevue is to touch every child who comes to Bellevue Hospital. We seek to address and alleviate the fear, pain and potential trauma from being hospitalized, having a chronic or mental illness or being abused. We also seek to leverage health care to enhance early development and school readiness in children at risk because of family poverty.
The programs of Children of Bellevue help ease pain, loneliness and other difficult aspects of children’s hospital experiences, help abused or neglected youngsters to cope, recover and heal, advance language development among children at risk of delay, and nurture children and adolescents hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. They fall into five general areas: Child Life and Development, Child Protection and Development, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Reach Out and Read and the Video Interaction Project.