About Us

Who Are We?

We are a nonprofit, state-of-the-art children’s hospital with a medical staff of more than 550 physicians. In California, we treat more inpatient cases than any pediatric hospital north of San Diego. With 358 licensed beds, Valley Children's Healthcare is one of the largest pediatric healthcare networks in the nation.  

We are the first children's hospital west of the Rockies to receive Magnet Nursing designation, the highest nursing benchmark in the world, and we are one of fewer than 10 pediatric intensive care units in the nation to have received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. We are also accredited by the Joint Commission.

We perform more than 12,000 pediatric surgeries a year and our pediatric and neonatal intensive care units have some of the lowest mortality rates in the country while treating some of the sickest kids. Our Cancer and Blood Diseases Center is a member of the nationally-recognized Children’s Oncology Group, and sees more than 120 new cases a year. Our Willson Heart Center has pioneered pediatric heart care for over 50 years.


Our History

Valley Children's Healthcare began as the vision of five civic-minded women who saw the need for a dedicated pediatric hospital in Central California. For more than 60 years, Valley Children's Healthcare has grown to a 358-bed, nationally respected pediatric healthcare network. See the timeline below to learn more about our history:

1949 - As the dream of a children's hospital in Central California started to become reality, fundraising wheels were set in motion and many hospital guilds were founded. The Llanada Guild donated $6,000 to the building effort in September.

1950 - A building fund campaign successfully raises $325,000.

1951 - Groundbreaking is held at the future site of Valley Children's Hospital. Later that year, the first medical equipment begins to arrive.

1952 - The Hospital is dedicated to the children of the Central Valley. An open house welcomes dignitaries and visitors to see their dream realized. A few weeks later, Valley Children's Hospital cares for its first patient.

1953-60 - As the Hospital continues to grow, an iron lung and electromyography are added for polio patients. A cardiac clinic is also opened, serving both adults and children.

Heart surgeons use the only cardioscope in the Valley to perform surgery in the Hospital's first-ever cardiac catheterization.

1961 - Hospital acquires a heart defibrillator.

The Intensive Newborn Service Center opens to care for premature infants. 
In order to calm patients' fears and help them feel comfortable, the Hospital starts a program to take patients on pre-operative tours.

The first adult heart surgery is performed at Valley Children's.

1971 - A new intensive care unit for premature babies opened, followed shortly by a "preemie transport system". This specially equipped van brought premature infants to the Hospital from across the Valley.

1974 - First "bloodless" open-heart surgery performed.

1975 - The Hospital opens a 24-hour emergency room. To this day, it remains the only dedicated pediatric emergency room between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

1978 - In a first for Central California, doctors at Valley Children's separate conjoined twins.

1978-1980 - "AM Admissions" unit opens. Now known as Day Surgery, children could check in for surgery in the morning and be back at home that night.

Expansion groundbreaking occurs at the Hospital.

1980 - A newly remodeled intensive care unit opens.

Plans for a Ronald McDonald House progress.

Adult Cardiac unit closed to accommodate more pediatric programs.

1985 - Camp Sunshine Dreams – which gives kids with cancer and their siblings a chance to have a week away at summer camp – is born.

1990's - During the 90's one big story dominated coverage of Valley Children's Hospital – the move to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Madera County. Planning and building stretched over a decade.

1998 - At one minute past midnight on the last day of August, the move to the new facility begins.

2004 - Valley Children's Hospital is designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Nursing hospital. This prestigious designation recognizes the highest levels of excellence in patient care through nursing services and is awarded to less than 3 percent of all hospitals in the United States. Excellent nursing is part of what makes this a great place to get better.

2007 – Valley Children’s Hospital admits more inpatients than any California pediatric hospital north of San Diego, making it the second largest children’s hospital in the Golden State.

2008 –The ANCC designates Valley Children’s as a Magnet Nursing hospital for a second time. (Hospitals may apply for redesignation every four years.) Also in 2008, Valley Children’s Hospital becomes the first hospital in the state to offer private rooms in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

2009 – Valley Children’s Hospital initiates our first major fundraising campaign in thirteen years. Co-chaired by Bill and Linda Smittcamp, the $42 million Campaign for Children’s builds upon our rich history of success. We also launch Children’s 101 this year. The half-day event provides community leaders a hands-on look at the exceptional care provided at the Hospital, and creates greater public awareness of our role as the only pediatric specialty hospital in all of Central California.

2010 – Our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) receives the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence, an award given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to fewer than 10 PICUs in the nation. The Willson Heart Center’s new $4 million, state-of-the-art pediatric catheterization laboratory opens in May, and The Maternal Fetal Center opens in July. Also this year, Valley Children’s acquires the Healthcare Interpreters Network, a system featuring video/teleconferencing units that provide remote access to an interpreter in any language. And finally, Valley Children’s takes an important step and joins more than 50 percent of hospitals nationwide in becoming smoke and tobacco free.

2011 – Paramount Farms Plaza opens for our first patient on May 31. The 60,000-square-foot, $66 million expansion includes new surgical suites, increased medical imaging, an expanded emergency department, and an extension of the Hospital’s PICU. In June of this year, Valley Children’s begins our adaptive sports program, which provides recreational and athletic experiences for children and adults with disabilities.

2014 – Valley Children’s expands its footprint in the Central Valley by launching Valley Children’s Healthcare, a network focused on expanding our care-delivery model to provide high-quality pediatric care to every child and family in our vast, 45,000-square-mile service area. This healthcare system incorporates our main hospital campus in Madera, medical foundation, and network of physicians, clinics and satellite facilities throughout the region – the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) we own and operate in Fresno, Hanford and Merced, our specialty care centers in Modesto, Merced, Madera, Bakersfield and Visalia, partnership locations, and primary care physicians and clinics. 

Today – The continuation of the dream of five women has become a bright, beautiful reality in the form of a healthcare network dedicated exclusively to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of children. As a tribute to our founders, Mrs. Agnes Crockett, Mrs. Gail Goodwin, Mrs. Helen (Maupin) Ross, Mrs. Carolyn Peck and Mrs. Patty Randall, the roads surrounding Valley Children's main campus in Madera bear their names.