Success Stories

At Hillside there is so much more to healing than just the therapy. It was the environment, the staff, the "family" closeness that you felt there. I felt safe and protected.

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Our History


Founded in January 1888, Hillside is one of Atlanta’s oldest nonprofit organizations. It began as a shelter for homeless women and needy children through the efforts of a sponsoring group of women led by Mrs. Levi Nelson, Mrs. Edgar McBurney, and Mrs. J.P. Averill.

The home, which was to become Hillside, was initially named Home for the Friendless and operated from a ten-room house in Downtown Atlanta. The home cared for women, children, and newborn babies. Foster care placements and adoptions were also arranged as needed.

Space quickly became inadequate, and the home moved in 1889 to a house at Peters and Fair Streets, and then again in 1892 to a site at Highland Avenue and Randolph Street.

As other agencies were formed to care for adults, the Home for the Friendless became exclusively a shelter for school-aged children. In the 1920’s the home made a number of improvements necessary to bring the program into compliance with a new set of child welfare standards, which were developing nationally.

During this time, the Kiwanis Club became interested in the home, through the efforts of Mrs. McBurney. The Kiwanians made financial contributions to help bring the home up to the national standards and to help enhance the life experiences of the children in care.

As the home grew, it needed more space. In 1926, eight acres of rolling woodland at 690 Courtenay Drive were purchased, and a contest was held to select a new name for the home. Mrs. Mabel Walker suggested the name Hillside Cottages, which was chosen as the new name along with the tag line “A friendly home for children.”

The Kiwanis Club of Atlanta donated the funds to build the first of the Hillside Cottages. It was completed in 1927, today serves as residence for young boys, and is still known as the Kiwanis Cottage.

Just as Hillside’s location and facilities have changed over time, the mission of serving the most needy children has also evolved. Today Hillside operates as a private, nonprofit organization offering a continuum of services for children and adolescents struggling with emotional and behavioral issues.

Still located on Courtenay Drive in the Morningside neighborhood near Midtown Atlanta, Hillside’s campus has grown with the expansion of an additional five acres of land next door to its original campus and bordering Monroe Drive. Hillside now has a 13-acre campus that houses its Residential treatment program, administration offices and Community programs offices.

Our Mission

Since our beginning in 1888, Hillside’s mission has been to help children and families thrive by providing outstanding residential and community mental health services.

Our Residential Program, Outpatient Services, Community Intervention Program, and Day Treatment Program all keep focus on the strengths of our children and therefore encourage the growth and improvement they need to become future self-sustaining citizens.

Hillside’s Mission Statement

Hillside helps children and families thrive by providing outstanding residential and community mental health services.

Hillside Resources

Visit some of our top-visited pages. This content is for parents, volunteers and the community at large.


News & Info

The New Mental Health Parity Act

Many advocates, agencies, families and caregivers are celebrating a roller coaster 2022 General Assembly with the passage of HB 1013, otherwise known as the Mental Health Parity Act. One component of the bill addresses the parity law that has been on the books for...

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Upcoming Events

DBT Seminars

View our upcoming DBT seminars and reserve your spot today.

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