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Children's Friend Fund
By Jean Cohoon / March 10, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
For more than 180 years, Children’s Friend has served Rhode Island’s most vulnerable young children. President and CEO David Caprio says, “We have a responsibility to continue that legacy and to build upon it, as we move forward.”

Founded in 1834 as an orphanage for abandoned children in the India Point section of Providence, Children’s Friend now focuses on preventive, community-based services. “Our understanding of kids’ needs has evolved over time. Prevention and community-based services are the focus of our agency,” David states.

Children’s Friend works to strengthen vulnerable families through an array of social services, often in partnership with other organizations. Among the multitude of services are Nurse Family Partnership for families with children from birth to age two and Head Start for children from age three to five.

“We can intensively and comprehensively work with a vulnerable family and get children ready for kindergarten,” David explains. Children’s Friend now has Head Start classrooms in both a Providence and Central Falls elementary school to ease the transition from Head Start to elementary school.

“In the last five years, we’ve had an increased understanding of the health and nutrition component of child development, the value of good mental and physical health both for parents and kids. Based on this we have added WIC nutrition services and programs targeted to fathers,” David explains.

With centers in Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls, Children’s Friend has more than 400 employees; social workers and educators comprise the largest groups. The agency’s endowment benefits its mission, with David noting, “The endowment allows us to fill gaps for families even with cuts in federal and state grants and downturns in the economy. It gives stability to our agency. All of our administrative costs are paid by the endowment.”

Children’s Friend’s endowment was established in the 1800s. “Partnering now with the Foundation will help us build on our strengths…and was a no-brainer for me and our board. This brings two great institutions together to improve the positive impact that we are making in the lives of our most vulnerable kids,” David concludes.
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