Family & Children’s Service (F&CS) has been serving the residents of Greater Lynn and surrounding communities since 1885, and its history provides a window into the evolution of social services over the past 136 years.
Our Day Nursery of the 1880’s gave way to the beginnings of family day care services in the early 20th century. Family day care has since become a private enterprise, run primarily by women entrepreneurs in the community, and F&CS supports them with opportunities for professional development and access to quality resources and facilities that supplement what they can provide to the children in their care.
Our penny lunch program for immigrant children, begun in 1913, became a Lynn School lunch program in 1922.
A baby clinic implemented in 1913 to treat sick children, evolved to dispensing preventive advice about feeding and hygiene for babies. Today, teachers and family advocates in the Family Resource Center teach parents how to nurture their children's cognitive, social and emotional development.
The Lynn Home for Children cared for “destitute children” until 1924 when services were developed that worked to preserve families whenever possible. Counseling for individual children and their parents has expanded to include parent education and support groups as well as activity groups for children and adolescents. Services previously available only in "the clinic" are now also delivered in more accessible, diverse community locations, such as the schools, homeless shelters, Head Start and public housing.
Today, F&CS offers a broad base of child and family-oriented social services in Lynn, Chelsea, Charlestown, East Boston, Revere and Winthrop, with a particular focus on partnering with the schools as well as other agencies to address the complex issues facing our constituents. We emphasize community-based, preventive, capacity building services that honor and expand upon the strengths of our clients.
Who We Are
Our mission is to strengthen the life skills of families, children and individuals of all ages. This is accomplished through a range of programs offered directly or in collaboration with other organizations in our community.
Furthermore, our agency goals are to: supplement the educational offerings available to preschool children; reduce familial stress through the provision of parent education and support; support and facilitate the achievement of youth; promote diversity and foster inclusion in our community; and ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations.
We touch the lives of more than 2,000 individuals each year, many of whom are low-income, minority, refugee, and immigrant youth and families. Most of the adult family members we serve in our family service programs are women, and particularly women of color. The most common language spoken by our participants is Spanish, English, and Khmer. While some providers in the communities we serve offer similar services in Spanish, to our knowledge our Khmer-language groups are unique in Lynn. Providing a service in the family's or youth's preferred language is not only a practical matter, but also one that demonstrates our commitment to the community and strengthens our capacity for engagement.
Our resiliency and commitment to serving youth and families in our communities was well-observed during 2020 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite our transitions from in-person to virtual programming, we still managed to support many youth and families through our family and youth services via ZOOM, outdoor socially-distanced summer programming for youth, regular phone calls, and other safe outlets. It is an understatement to say that our communities of Lynn an Chelsea were hit hard by COVID. In order to respond to many families' dire needs during 2020, F&CS staff shifted their normal duties and activities.
From May 14th - June 28th of 2020, we carried out a Diaper Drive Campaign for all families in Lynn, Chelsea, and surrounding communities who were struggling with access to baby essentials. In total, we distributed approximately 35,000 diapers to over 500 families in these communities. In October, we held our annual Family Fun Day virtually, which in a typical year usually attracts well over 500 individuals with games, food, prizes, and raffles outside our main office in Lynn. This year, this event was broadcast live on Facebook, YouTube, and Lynn Cam. Youth in our youth development programs continued to carry out summer garden projects safely, raised money for two different holiday drives, and participated in our "Learning Pods" which we started in October. Our learning pods is a safe space for youth to collaborate on school homework and socialize, since all schools in the Lynn area carried out distanced-learning during this time. Ultimately, we ended up serving more youth in 2020 than in previous years due to the outreach possible via virtual platforms.
From a perspective of social inequity and social justice, we endeavor to fill service gaps in the communities we serve. Cultural affinity is sustained through our concerted effort to recruit, train, and maintain competent and diverse professionals and paraprofessionals that reflect the cultures of the populations we support. We approach our families and youth's diversity as an asset to be supported and celebrated - it is a strength. We understand that living in a multicultural society is frequently a new reality for our families and we seek to bridge the differences they may feel in their new surroundings. We will respond to our families' and youth needs in times of crisis, and have overcome one of the most challenging times in the agency's history during the past year.
F&CS has developed an extensive network of providers, participates in many local coalitions, and has received various awards for our service in our communities. In November of 2019, F&CS was awarded the Tufts Health Plan Foundation Angel grant for our role in addressing the economic and social conditions that influence health in diverse communities. Our Parents as Teachers (PAT) program was recognized by the PAT national office as the only provider in MA to have met all of the essential requirements for the model. In 2020, F&CS received the Community Service Award from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in recognition of our work with the LatinX community. Also in 2020, we were confirmed as the lead agency for the 11th consecutive year for the Lynn Police Department's Shannon Community Safety Initiative, which is a multi-agency grant addressing community and gang-related violence among high-risk youth and young adults. Other providers and partners with collaborate with include but is not limited to:
Throughout F&CS's long history, our programs and events have been generously supported and sponsored by many long-time donors, foundations, and corporations each year. Our long-time foundations and corporations include the Harvard Memorial Church, Spinney Mudge Funds, Deborah Monroe Noonan Memorial Fund, John McNair Charitable Trust, Edward & Winifred Moseley Foundation, Neal Rantoul Foundation, East Boston Savings Charitable Foundation, McCarthy Family Foundation, Nordblom Family Foundation, Lynn Cultural Council, Henry Pevear Trust, St. Stephens Housing Corporation, and the Cummings Foundation. In a new and exciting development, F&CS was chosen in 2021 as a recipient of a $100K, three-year grant through the Cummings Foundation's $25 Million Grant Program. We are so grateful to our long-time funding partners for your investment in our work with children and families in Lynn, Chelsea, and surrounding communities, and we sincerely thank you for your support!