Our Mission & History

Catholic Charities of Onondaga County helps people in need regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality. We assist nearly 13,000 people annually through programs for people of all ages and stages of life. We believe that all people have infinite value and are worthy of our respect and compassion. Above all, we are committed to creating hope and transforming lives.

Mission Statement

Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is dedicated to caring for those in need while promoting human development, collaboration, and the elimination of poverty and injustice. We strive to empower those served to transform their lives in the spirit of God’s love and compassion.

The History of CCOC

Catholic Charities of Onondaga County began in 1923 under the guidance of Bishop Daniel Curley, who dreamed of developing an organization that would allow people an opportunity to reach beyond their parish communities to assist individuals and families experiencing hardship. Bishop Curley envisioned an organization that would provide basic needs to the economically disadvantaged, serve as a catalyst for keeping families intact, help children to reach their full potential, and speak out about social injustices.

Today Catholic Charities of Onondaga County is an agency that has expanded to meet the needs of a larger population. What started as little more than an extension of neighborhood parishes is today a major provider of services for families and children in Onondaga County. We remain committed to providing for those in need, advocating on behalf of the disadvantaged, and assisting people to reach their fullest potential.

The House of Providence

The House of Providence is located on the west side of Syracuse and serves today as our headquarters. The original House of Providence was southwest of the city. It was founded in 1872 by the Daughters of Charity as an institution for orphaned and homeless boys. The home served up to 300 boys during its early years. In 1907, the original House of Providence was destroyed by fire. The Sisters moved with the boys to temporary quarters while awaiting construction of a new building. In 1908 Bishop Ludden laid the cornerstone of the new House of Providence at 1654 West Onondaga Street in Syracuse, NY, and construction was completed in 1910.

St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum

St. Vincent’s Home, later known as St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum, was established in 1857 as a home for orphaned and homeless girls in Central New York. In 1948, St. Vincent’s closed its downtown building (since demolished) and merged with the House of Providence. During the 1950s, the House of Providence began to receive girls as well as boys. In the 1970s, the building ceased to serve as an orphanage.

Adoption Records Request

For many years, we at Catholic Charities of Onondaga County coordinated adoptions, but the service was phased out in the early 2000s. Please be aware that access to these records is limited. For information regarding these records, please visit the NYS Department of Health Adoption Information Registry website or call 518-474-9600 for additional assistance. 

House of Providence Resident Records Request

Archives for the House of Providence and St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum are stored at the House of Providence. Please be aware that the archives are not complete and do not contain files for all of the children who ever resided at either orphanage. Many files were lost when the original House of Providence was destroyed by fire in 1907. Policies also once allowed files to be removed by residents and family members, which is no longer permitted. Records from other Catholic orphanages are not stored at the House of Providence.

You must be a former resident or a direct descendant of a resident to request or view information about that resident.  

To make a request for House of Providence and St. Vincent Orphan Asylum resident records only, please email Sarah Roberts at saroberts@ccoc.us. Your email must contain the following information in order to be processed:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your mailing address
  • Your phone number
  • Individual whom the request is for
  • Your relationship to the individual
  • Birthdate of the individual
  • Details about the information you are requesting

If a file exists, you will be asked to mail or email a written request with proof of your identity and the relationship in order to view or receive copies of the file. For questions or concerns, please call 315-424-1800.

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