The National Children's Home Society was formed in Illinois in 1883 on the new idea of placing orphaned children for adoption in family foster homes rather than in orphanages. In 1895, Reverend Brown and his wife were assigned to supervise the society's work in Oregon. In 1896, they began their work in Seattle, finding families for orphaned children. In 1899, the society built a small receiving home at Dow's Landing on Green Lake. Loina (Mrs. J.N.) Irvine received $1.50 per child per week to care for children until they could be placed.
On December 29, 1907, a fire destroyed the Green Lake home killing two infants. The society constructed Brown Hall on property donated by M. F. Jones in Ravenna Heights. The site on NE 65th Street at 33rd Avenue NE has been the headquarters of the society since then. Brown Hall was demolished in the early 1970s to make room for more modern facilities.
In 2001, the Children's Home Society of Washington served children and families at 38 locations in the state.