“EVERY CHILD IN A FAMILY, EVERY FAMILY IN A COMMUNITY”
Berkshire Children & Families has a long history of serving Western Massachusetts families, with the well-being of children and families central to our mission. We know that children achieve their highest potential growing up in supportive, healthy families. Partnering with families is the best way to promote healthy, happy children to make strong families and better communities. BCF helps families to recognize and build on their strengths to address challenges.
Our work is concentrated in four key areas: early education and care; child and family well-being; intensive foster care and adoption; and Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive classical music program for social change. BCF’s goals are to provide services and supports that transform the lives of children, families and communities by creating opportunities that inspire hope, promote possibilities, and fulfill dreams.
STRENGTH. OPPORTUNITY. RELATIONSHIPS. COLLABORATION.
Every child deserves to grow up in a healthy family, connected to a community, with access to opportunity. All children need and deserve successful, diverse, consistent and nurturing relationships in order to become strong, engaged adults. Berkshire Children and Families cares for families and children through a lens of strength, working to identify individual and family strengths, values and belief. We believe connecting families with community resources can help them meet the challenges of everyday life.
BCF focuses on families across generations. This long-term view, and our agency’s stability, help us respond to the changing needs of children and families with an eye toward the future. Emerging social trends and the changing demographics guide our work in Western Massachusetts, shape our work facilitating child adoption, foster care, parent support services and family success.
Each plan created by, and with, families represents a “personal fit.” These plans reflect understanding of child and family development and the recognition that everyone is at a different stage of their journey to find opportunities for growth and change. Each plan uses the right measure of support — at the right time.
Relationships are the foundation of BCF’s practice. We recognize that relationships among families, children, friends, colleagues and others create the foundation for life-enriching and trusting connections. We view relationships as a way to “stand with” families so they are seen and heard, as well as ways to model and teach social skills that bring success for children and families. The relationships we create are appropriate, non-judgmental, and balanced regarding choices and consequences.
BCF fosters partnership and collaboration at all levels of work inside and outside of the agency, among BCF colleagues and programs, with other systems and service providers, and through entrepreneurship and advocacy on behalf of the children and families we serve.
BCF’s practice is reflective and creative. It is part of a culture of shared learning, of questions and discussions, of continuous professional development and ongoing improvement in the ways we serve our communities.
Since 1887, when first incorporated as the Union for Home Work, Berkshire Children and Families has been a source of stability for our communities. Today, early education and care, parenting and family skill-building, foster care and adoption services are the cornerstones of BCF.
In the early 1900’s and during the Great Depression, the agency and its focus evolved in response to society’s changing needs. In the 1950’s, three agencies – The Association for Family Services, The New England Home for Little Wanderers and the Pittsfield Day Nursery – merged to become one agency. In 1974, the name was changed to Berkshire Center for Families and Children. Children’s Aid and Family Service of Northampton, MA, (now located in Hadley) founded in 1910, merged with BCF in 2006, creating Berkshire Children and Families, Inc.
Throughout its history, BCF has been sensitive and responsive to the needs of children and families. Just as importantly, it has been a leader, showing the way forward with innovative services, effective collaborations, and system development ideas that have made BCF a highly regarded organization locally, regionally and statewide.
More recently, BCF has expanded its efforts to focus on bringing pro-active, opportunity-based support services to children and families — before problems arise. Our Kids 4 Harmony initiative is the new model driving our proactive approach.
BCF is funded by a variety of sources: Berkshire United Way, the United Way of Hampshire County, Northern Berkshire United Way, the Williamstown Community Chest, state agencies and hundreds of private and corporate donors. We are deeply grateful for each and every funding relationship: public, private and personal.
As its founders were in 1887, we remain committed to children and families in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley. We welcome the chance to engage with new, proactive and community-based opportunities that will benefit our clients and communities.