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Summer Hours Update!  The Up Center will be closing at 1:00 PM on Fridays every week until August 30, 2024.

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About the Up Center

The Up Center provides more than 20 critical support services for children and families in our community, including mental health counseling, parenting education and support, youth mentoring, foster care and adoption, housing and financial counseling, and services for people with disabilities.

We have served as a safety net for people in crisis for 140 years and have been a longstanding United Way partner organization. Today, we operate five locations throughout South Hampton Roads and impact over 10,000 people in our community every year by providing evidenced-based services and programs that work.

Mission / Vision / Values

Our mission: We are committed to partnering with children, families, and communities to improve lives and outcomes through prevention, intervention, and support services.

Through innovative services and community collaboration we build strong families.  By promoting equitable access and opportunity for all families we create the foundation of a resilient, flourishing community.  Our trauma-informed, equity-driven programs meet the diverse needs of our community, including:

  • Counseling and mental health skill-building
  • Early childhood education and youth mentoring
  • Foster care
  • Financial and housing education and counseling
  • Disability services

Our vision is a healthy community where children and families thrive.

We believe that families are at the foundation of a thriving community. When we invest in all families, children are ready for school, parents are prepared to invest their talents in the workplace, home is a place of security, love and hope, and neighborhoods flourish. Our community becomes a better place to live, work and give.

Our 7 core organizational values include:

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Operational Excellence

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Our History

The Up Center began its work in 1883 when economic hardships led to the creation of Norfolk United Charities to help alleviate homelessness and poverty. In our early years, we operated an orphanage for abandoned children, distributed coal to families to heat their homes, and gave shoes to children so they could walk to school.
Over the decades, our leadership brought various organizations together and our name changed several times through mergers and evolving services. In 2004, a landmark merger brought Family Services of Tidewater, headquartered in Norfolk, and Child & Family Services, headquartered in Portsmouth, together to form Child & Family Services of Eastern Virginia. In 2008, we changed our name to The Up Center.
Today, we continue the work of our predecessors by responding to the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children, families and individuals. And we continue to evolve to meet emerging and unmet needs, including mental health counseling, substance use counseling, counseling for veterans and military families, and service delivery through telehealth.

Celebrating 140 Years of Excellence

In 2023, The Up Center celebrates its 140th Anniversary. A community wide celebration event will be held on June 2nd, revealing a new exterior mural at our 19th Street location. For more information about this event, please reach out to us at

Our Commitment to Equity & Social Justice

We envision a world where society and its systems are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential. We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity. Systemic and institutional inequities, especially in matters of race, remain significant barriers for people and communities working to reach their full potential. We recognize that to achieve our vision, we must lead our social sector in making the changes we want to see in society.



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