Child & Family Services

CFS strengthens families and the communities in which they live. Our mission… “to heal and strengthen the lives of children and families” is built on the following beliefs:

  • Communities thrive when supported by strong families
  • Society is strengthened by ensuring that children and families attain their full potential
  • Families are the foundation of a strong community and are essential to a healthy society
  • Families have the right to raise children in a safe and nurturing environment
  • Every person has inherent worth and dignity

These beliefs influence the services we provide in our community and have guided our growth since we first opened our doors in 1843. Today, Child & Family Services is the largest and most comprehensive social service provider in Southeastern Massachusetts and the largest provider of adoption services in Massachusetts.

Demand for our services has grown and we are expanding to meet that need. At the same time, we continue to work both internally and with community partners to find new and better ways to help people overcome problems and find strength within their family circle.


Clients & families helped by CFS staff each year


Locations accross Massachusetts offering services to all


Staff ready to help provide services to all our clients and families

Executive Leadership

Jenny Wilson

Wendy Botelho


Chanda Coutinho


Kim Moore


Elizabeth Cabral


Jenny Wilson

Brad Scott



Kari Coelho

Associate VP of Human Resources


Barbara Beckmann

VP Behavioral Health & Outreach Services

Osborn St, Fall River

Pam Bolarinho

VP of Acute Care Services

Church St, New Bedford

Krista Machado

VP of Behavioral Health Initiatives & Psychiatry Services

Church St, New Bedford

Jane Bergeron

VP Outreach Services

Acushnet Ave, New Bedford

Jenny Wilson

Sonia Mancini

Associate Vice President of Outreach Services

Osborn St, Fall River

Jenny Wilson

Jeanne Bissonnette

VP Behavioral Health & Outreach Services

Cape Cod

Jenny Wilson

Susan Remy

VP Development & Community Engagement


Jenny Wilson

Paula Medeiros

Director of Finance


Jenny Wilson

Erin McAlonan

VP Quality & Compliance


Jenny Wilson

Vivian Smith-Barnes

Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion Strategy


Board of Directors

Carl W. Taber


BayCoast Bank

Matthew H. Roy

1st Vice President

UMASS Dartmouth

Len Murphy



Johnna Tierney


Halloran, Lukoff & Smith, PC

Jamie Boulay


Boulay Consulting

Mark Kelly


Bainco International Investors

Marigloria Murphy


Southcoast Hospitals Group

Arthur Desloges



Karen Pereira


Community Nurse Home Care

Jacqui Springer


University of Rhode Island

Stacey Miner


New York Life/Nylife Securities

Our History

Getting Started

Child & Family Services is one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Massachusetts. We 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 Orphans’ Home weathered the last part of the 19th century and more importantly, was a good “friend” to homeless children.

New Bedford Orphan's Home

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.”*

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Our 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 our 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.

Name Changes

By 1999, our 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, we are able to keep the commitment we first made in 1843 of helping those in need. Our mission remains:

“…to heal and strengthen the lives of children and families.”


Information and excerpts compiled from ‘Caring for New Bedford’s Children (1839-1949)’ by Mary Jean Blasdale, a book celebrating the history of Child & Family Services

Accreditations & Affiliates



Accreditation is one of the means by which the agency strives to champion quality of services



Meeting all requirements by governing agencies to best server our clients & families



Our affiliated organizations which we currently work and do business with


Partners & Members

Organizations in which we work with on a day to day basis



Council on Accreditation

Accreditation is one of the means by which the agency strives to champion quality of services.

Child & Family Services’ has received our re-accreditation by The Council on Accreditation until 2027. This represents the fulfillment of countless hours of hard work and the dedication of many people–most notably our staff and the members of our board and leadership.

The Council on Accreditation (COA) partners with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards. COA envisions excellence in the delivery of human services globally, resulting in the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

The Department of Public Health licenses our mental health clinic and MCI program. The Department of Early Education and Care licenses our Adoption Program. Department of Mental Health Licenses our ACCS and YCCS programs.

Learn more


Department of Public Health

Our Mental Health Clinic and MCI program is licensed by Department of Public Health (DPH) under the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality (BHCSQ): BHCSQ promotes, preserves, and protects the health of all people in the Commonwealth by ensuring an optimal health care delivery system that provides safe, effective, high-quality care.

Our Mental Health Clinic is also licensed by Department of Public Health (DPH) under the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS): BSAS oversees the statewide system of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for individuals, families, and communities affected by substance addiction.

DPH licensure is required for us to operate as a mental health clinic and is renewed every two years upon sufficient completion of on site survey and regulatory reviews of policies and procedures

Learn more

Affiliates, Partners & Members

United Way of Fall River

We’re the collaborators, the volunteers, the funders, the change-makers. We fight for the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs of everyone in Greater Fall River.

United Way of Greater New Bedford

Since 1953, United Way of Greater New Bedford has been a leading institution on the SouthCoast. Today it is one of over 1,800 independent, self-governing United Way organizations throughout the United States and is overseen by a local Board of Directors.

Association for Behavioral Healthcare

For over 30 years, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) has been the leading advocacy organization in Massachusetts’ mental health and addiction services arena. Fighting for high-quality, community-based care for families and individuals with mental illness, addiction and substance-use disorders, ABH provides leadership and statewide coordination on important public policy, financing, preferred clinical models and quality assurance issues.

One Southcoast Chamber

The One SouthCoast Chamber is a progressive organization that participates in initiatives that positively impact our business members and the quality of life in the SouthCoast region. Initiatives include education, economic development, trade shows and legislative affairs. Read on to learn more about the Chamber, what we do and the multitude of programs we tackle every day.

Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance

The GNBYA supports a diverse community in which all children have equal access to a quality education, meaningful employment, personal fulfillment, civic engagement and success that is within the reach of all.