ALL IN THE FAMILY: Child & Family made plans to take over Casey Family Services in the state after the Annie B. Casey Foundation announced it would shutter its program. Pictured above are Alan Feinstein, left, director of foster care for Child & Family, Arleen DiCicco, an administrator at the nonprofit, and Peter DiBari, president and CEO of Child & Family.
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
By Rebecca Keister PBN Staff Writer
Child & Family, a Middletown-based, social-services nonprofit, has in its 146-year history embraced change and revitalization several times in order to meld to community needs and foster growth.
Since first opening its doors in Newport in 1866, it has expanded from a shelter for orphans and children of destitute parents to incorporate elder services, child care, services for at-risk families, and substance-abuse programs, among other initiatives, while establishing a presence in Providence and East Providence to carry out its ideal of providing a community-driven, safe place for those in need.
So when the Annie B. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based charitable organization focused on improving the lives of disadvantaged children, announced earlier this year that it would close Casey Family Services, its foster-care services program that Child & Family long had utilized, the Rhode Island organization saw it as one more opportunity to continue its mission.
Child & Family announced in mid-November that it has assumed program responsibility for the Rhode Island operations of Casey Family Services, which is based in New Haven, Conn., and also runs programs in that state, Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont, serving about 400 children throughout all its branches.
“Our commitment to children and families that we serve is really what has driven [our] organization,” said Peter DiBari, president and CEO of Child & Family. “It’s somewhat of a risk, but we are committed. We are investing, and I think we’ll ultimately be successful.”
DiBari said Child & Family had been talking with the Annie B. Casey Foundation about acquiring the Rhode Island operation since June, when the foundation, which was founded in 1948, announced it would discontinue its direct-service arm by June 2013.
In a press release, the foundation said the move was part of its shift to a “grant-making strategy that will help hundreds of foster care and other nonprofit human-services agencies” with innovative and proven child-welfare practices.
Child & Family had about 30 children in foster care with Casey Family Services at the time. Casey Family Services, established in 1976, has 50 slots for children in its program, which emphasizes securing lifelong family connections for children and youth within, or at risk of entering, the foster care system.