In 1874, we were just getting started.
Founded in 1874 by local businessman James Huntington, CFCS was established as an orphanage called The Avon Home. Huntington’s vision was to help the growing number of homeless youth wandering the streets of 19th century Cambridge. With the help of volunteers who became trustees, The Avon Home opened its doors to eight children who lived together and attended the nearby school.
Shortly after opening, the Avon Home rapidly grew. After five years of operation, the Home housed nineteen children and had facilitated its first adoption of a boy by a family in Wollaston. In ten years, up to fifty children were cared for by the home each year. With the help of Cantabrigians moved by the work we do, we became a fixture of Cambridge social services.
In 1891, the Avon Home built a second building to house forty more children. By 1918, the Home’s services had grown to include foster care services, a therapy clinic and a community center. Working with local organizations like the Associated Charities of Cambridge and the Sewing Guild of the Cantabrigia Club improved the education and medical care we provided to our clients.
In the 70’s, it was time to make a move.
In 1973, the Avon Home officially became Cambridge Family & Children’s Service. We needed a new home to go along with our new identity, so we moved to 99 Bishop Allen Drive in Central Square.
Our services in the 70’s and 80’s had different names than they do today, but our intentions haven’t changed much. From “Adolescent, Adult and Family Counseling” to “Project HELO” – Help for Exceptional Little Ones, which provided respite to families with developmentally disabled children – we expanded our work to include all families of Cambridge, not just the “destitute children” observed by our founding trustees 100 years ago.
During our time in Central Square, we:
Became entrenched in combating the modern problems families were facing all over Cambridge.
Served hundreds of people a year at a time when 14% of Cambridge families lived below the poverty line, and the poverty rate for single women with children was 49%.
Found our true mission: to support and advocate for all children, adults and families in Massachusetts.
In 2003, we settled into our current home.
In the early 2000’s, we happily moved into 60 Gore Street and made it our forever home. Shortly after, our five programs settled into their present iterations.
Our Adoption program works to ensure that all children and teens have the opportunity to grow up in a safe, healthy, loving family that provides unconditional love, a sense of security and a community for the child to call their own.
The Developmental Disabilities Program provides training, advocacy and social opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. We offer our clients skills and knowledge that will make their lives not only easier but richer and full of bright experiences.
Our Family Services program recruits, trains and supports adoptive and foster parents from the very beginning of their adoption or foster care journey to the very end. Family Services makes sure the parents we work with are prepared to offer a safe, loving and therapeutic home to the children they will care for.
Family Support & Stabilization provides resources and training to families who are at risk of being separated. We make sure those families stay together. We also make sure that youth transitioning out of foster care into living independently have the tools and community support they need to succeed.
In Intensive Foster Care, we find caring foster homes for children who were born exposed to substances, were subjected to abuse and/or neglect, or have complex medical needs.
Our Residential Services program oversees two group homes for youth ages 16 to 21 who are transitioning out of foster care and need a safe space where they can live and learn. While staying in the group homes, our residents are supported by our counselors as they pursue education and employment opportunities. They can also develop and strengthen their relationships with family members and committed adults.
Today, we serve over 1,500 people across Massachusetts every year.
We give tired mothers a break. We give people with developmental disabilities a space to have fun and try new things.
We encourage teens to go to college. We keep families together.
And we bring children home.
We look forward to serving Greater Boston for many years to come. We hope you’ll join us.