Child & Family Services: Helping Children & Families of Cape Cod

child and family services logoChild & Family Services is dedicated to assisting children, adults, families and those with special needs through mental health and child welfare services. The compassionate staff is deeply committed to bringing those in need the best possible service and support. Child & Family Services has and continues to be a crucial effort in maintaining the well-being of our community.

A Helping Hand: Cape Cod Broadcasting Media and Child & Family Services

Cape Cod Broadcasting Media (CCB Media) has had the opportunity to partner with Child & Family Services for just under two years and participate in their Christmas Wishes holiday drive. The feedback received from Christmas Wishes was both positive and powerful:

“The Smith family who had lost their home and have 3 children under the age of 10. Father had an accident and lost his job. The 2 youngest children have special needs and they were in a shelter. They had asked for food & clothes during the holiday drive. Mom called the office crying because of everything they had received through their king CCB listener/sponsor.

A young woman who had given birth to twins at the age of 17 and had been kicked out of her home. The CCB Media listener who had sponsored her family got them clothes, diapers, baby essentials. Amazing generosity.

There was one family whose Mom only asked for slippers. She wanted everything given to her children. A CCB listener  sponsored their family and ended up getting Mom several special things besides the slippers. Mom cried thinking a stranger would be so kind.

These are just a few examples of the amazing things that have happened throughout our holiday drive. No words will ever be able to express our gratitude!”

History of Child & Family Services

Child & Family Services is one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Massachusetts. They began as the New Bedford Orphans’ Home in 1843 to help children left homeless and without families during the whaling era. There were children without parents, orphaned by mothers who died and by fathers lost at sea. There were children left to beg on the streets, often forced to steal to seek out their paltry existence.

Through continued fund raising, collaboration with other service agencies and the support of the community, the New Bedford Orphan’s Home weathered the last part of the 19th century and more importantly, was a good “friend” to homeless children.

As new theories about caring for disadvantaged children changed with the times, so did the New Bedford Orphans’ Home. By the turn of the century, “placing-out”* (what we call foster care today), was considered the best course of action for children in need. After much study and consideration, the decision was made to close the Orphans’ Home in favor of a placing-out system.

The children flourished under the new system. The women worked hard to identify homes where needy children would receive “not only food, clothing, and shelter, but also wise and loving care.”*

SINCE 1843:

  • New Bedford Orphans’ Home 1843 – 1910
  • New Bedford Children’s Aid Society 1910 – 1948
  • New Bedford Child and Family Service 1948 – 1999
  • Child & Family Services 1999 – Present

The annual report of 1951-1952 points to the direction in which the agency was headed:

“The purpose of the New Bedford Child and Family Service is to strengthen family life. Counseling service is available to any family or individual with a family difficulty or personal problem. The Agency provides also temporary foster home care and adoption placement of children.”

In the 1970s, the agency added Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater New Bedford to their services. In 1980, the agency opened a mental health clinic and family support office in Fall River. In 1995 another was added on Cape Cod in Hyannis.

By 1999, the geographic footprint extended well beyond the borders of New Bedford. To signify this fact, the board voted to officially change the agency’s name from New Bedford Child & Family Service to simply Child & Family Services.

Through counseling, prevention programs, family support and psychiatry services, they were able to keep the commitment they first made in 1843 of helping those in need. Their mission remains: “…to heal and strengthen the lives of children and families.”

How Can You Support Child & Family Services?

Child & Family Services could use your help either through donations, volunteering or participating in one of their community projects. For more information on ways to give and Child & Family Services, please click the discover more button below.

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