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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 Parents & Families

Think About This

More than half of Boston inner city families are headed by a single parent, and over 75% of those single parents are women.

Absentee fathers are a vital missing link in parenting—especially as they relate to pregnant teens and single mothers living in poverty.  Children of teen mothers are at high risk of developing behavioral and health problems and becoming socio-economically disadvantaged.  However, a child of a teen mother has more promising life prospects with an involved father.  Children with a responsible father in their lives are up to five times less likely to live in poverty; three times more likely to develop healthy social-emotional characteristics and to succeed in school; and far less likely to have disciplinary issues.

Engaged fathers tend to spend a higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers.  From such interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior.  Fathers tend to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world.  They often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to healthy development.  As a result, children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self-control and pro-social behavior.

At Family Service, we believe engaging fathers AND mothers in children’s development is vital to family and community health.

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. Finally, our clinicians are available to help clients with alcohol or drug issues through assessment, referrals and treatment, including counseling and medication, as indicated.

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.