About Oesterlen

Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc., located in Springfield, Ohio, is a comprehensive multi-program social services agency with a focus in mental and behavioral health serving approximately 1,000 children and their families annually.

Mission Statement

On behalf of the church, in witness to Christ, this agency’s mission is to serve children in need from infancy through transition into adulthood and to promote their mental, social, physical, and spiritual well being. To carry out this mission, Oesterlen is dedicated to promoting healthy families and utilizing the highest possible standards within the professional fields of our service. The provision of services by this agency shall be consistent with its mission, and all person shall have equal access to such services and to employment by the agency in accord with all applicable affirmative action and equal opportunity policies.

Our Heritage

Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc., was founded in 1903 as the Oesterlen Orphans Home by several major synods of the Lutheran Church in Ohio. It remains affiliated today with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the present successor body of the organizing synods in 1903.

Oesterlen began transitioning into a mental health, behavioral health, and social services agency in the late 1950’s. Today’s Oesterlen offers a complete spectrum of residential, community-based, treatment foster care, home-based, and school-based therapeutic services, and the respite and resource center, serving more than 1,000 clients and families annually.

Historical Highlights

  • Founded in 1903. 100-acre farm with house and barn purchased, staff selected, welcomed the first orphaned children in 1904.
  • 1960s: Fully transitioned to a residential Mental and Behavioral Health Services agency, including Foster Homes.
  • 1970s: Community-based, non-residential programs opened.
  • 1980: Modern George Stevens Learning Center, with Community Counseling Center, gym, pool, theater, art studio classroom, and ancillary program areas opened.
  • 1980s: Secure Residential Treatment Programs added.
  • 1990s: Home-based programs begun, and Residential and Community-based programs significantly expanded in 1990’s.
  • 2000s: National accreditation (COA) achieved, three brand new 10-bed, all private bedrooms, secure cottages serving severely emotionally disturbed clients opened.
  • 2000s: New off-campus programs added, others expanded, including in-schools counseling services, Clark Greene Madison Counties Respite and Resource Center, and Oesterlen
  • 2010s: Life Skills Center opened.

Agency Credentials

Oesterlen is licensed and/or certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The Ohio Department of Mental Health also certifies services provided by Oesterlen. Oesterlen is accredited by COA.

Oesterlen is a full member of the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies and Lutheran Services in America. Oesterlen is affiliated with the Northeastern, Northwestern, and Southern Ohio Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.