During the Civil War years, the B'nai B'rith Midwest District accepted a proposal by Clevelander Benjamin Franklin Peixotto that members be taxed a dollar a year to raise a charitable fund. Women from nine cities were also asked to raise money for the fund. In 1867 the District decided to establish a home for Jewish orphans of the Civil War and considerable lobbying led to its establishment in Cleveland.
By 1900 the orphanage, under the direction of Dr. Samuel Wolfenstein, had grown to serve 400 children.
In 1929, now named the Jewish Orphan Home, it moved to Belvoir Road and Fairmount Boulevard in University Heights and adopted a new name: Bellefaire.
Bellefaire's focus changed in 1940 to include residential therapeutic care for emotionally disturbed children. It stopped accepting orphans in 1943 and is now known as Bellefaire-JCB (Jewish Childrens Bureau). In 1954 it opened its doors to children of all faiths. Now Bellefaire-JCB (Jewish Childrens Bureau) it has continued to expand its services to children and teens.
Today, Bellefaire JCB is among the nation’s largest, most experienced child welfare agencies providing a variety behavioral health, substance abuse, education and prevention services to approximately 21,700 youth and their families each year through its more than 25 programs.