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For More Information Contact:
Center for Behavioral Health: 617.523.6400

Family Based and Youth Services: 617.523.6400

Family Independence Teen Living Program: 617.541.0944, or 617.427.9966
























Programs for Children

Think About This

More than half of Boston’s low-income children have been harmed by physical or psychological abuse, or have witnessed violence done to others.  Many have lost parents or siblings to homicide.  They bring their inevitable psychic damage to school, to the playground and to their relationships.

Imaging studies make clear that children’s earliest experiences leave an indelible imprint on the brain’s architecture.  The evolving neural network forms the foundation for future learning, behavior and health.  Children abused or exposed to adult violence typically can have short- and long-term physical problems, e.g., increased aggression, decreased responsiveness to adults, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, hyper-vigilance and hyperactivity, eating and sleeping problems, and developmental delays.

At Family Service, we believe this is unacceptable.

Our programs are designed to reach these children before the damage inevitably limits their options in life.


Strong Start is a collaboration model that places a Family Service clinician on-site at individual, under-resourced urban early childhood development centers to significantly upgrade the centers’ capacity to address the mental health needs of low-income children through clinical assessments, child and family therapy, teacher training and consultation, and parenting skill building.

Family Independence/Teen Living Program (TLP) provides group home living for teen mothers (and their children) receiving public assistance and unable to live with their families or the fathers of their children due to abuse, neglect, substance abuse or other extenuating circumstance.  They have low educational attainment and few job skills.  TLP helps them move toward independence and economic self-sufficiency, graduate high school (or pass the GED), practice good parenting and life management skills, avoid child abuse, and raise healthy, emotionally stable, and school-ready children.

The Family Focused Strengthening Team offers in-home behavioral therapy and mentoring; and guides parents and other family members to discover and develop strengths, skills and resources while coping with behavioral and emotional challenges they face.  Clinicians help families reduce safety risks, enrich child-family relationships, improve child behavioral health, expand coping skills, and reduce the need for out-of-home placements for children/youth with significant behavioral issues.

The Center for Behavioral Health focuses on stabilizing at-risk children and pre-adolescents who have experienced traumatic stress and dysfunction due to family violence, sexual assault, emotional or physical abuse, chronic neglect, traumatic loss, or school and community violence.  Clinicians work with clients individually and in a family context to help them identify their own strengths; understand choices available to them; and assist in discovering inner resources that will help them to understand and cope with the traumatic feelings they experience.  The Center counsels parents how to restore children and families to optimal functioning at home, at school, or at work; to reduce risk of hospitalization or out-of-family placement for children; and to help parents support children who are trauma survivors, coping with learning disabilities, or attention deficit disorder.  The Center also offers psycho-pharmacology services, and Family Service clinicians provide mental health services to children and pre-adolescents enrolled in the Boston Public Schools.

Family Service is a key participant in the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative, a statewide, interagency initiative that seeks to assure a community-based system of care that will enable families and their children facing significant behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs to access the services required to achieve family stability.  CBHI seeks increased timely access to services; reduce health disparities, and ensure an integrated behavioral health system across state agencies.  Family Service clinicians will provide in-home therapy, in-home behavioral health and therapeutic mentoring services to such children and their families.