In Honor of Carolyn Mower Burns


Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Carolyn Mower Burns, President and CEO of Berkshire Children and Families, died on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.  She was at home, surrounded by her family, and at peace.

Carolyn was a visionary in the area of children and families and dedicated 47 years to that work.  She was a leader locally and statewide in her efforts because of the relationships she established and her constant eye on emerging social trends, most recently in the area of child and family well-being.

Carolyn joined BCF in 1989 after working 20 years at the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, now Department of Children and Families, nine years as the Area Director. Under Carolyn’s leadership, BCF has become one of the most comprehensive family service agencies in Western MA, providing innovative programs that create lasting opportunity for children and their families in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley. Carolyn has served on many local and statewide boards and organizations during her career. She was the leader of the City of Pittsfield-funded Pittsfield Family Consortium, served on the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Steering Committee, the Pittsfield Promise Initiative, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Statewide Advisory Board. She offered numerous workshops at regional and national conferences and held a Master’s Degree in Social Work from SUNY Albany and was a licensed independent clinical practitioner.

When family support met child welfare years ago, she founded the Patch Approach, a community team practice model that brought together child protection and community-based services to enhance family resilience, caring capacities, and well-being. With her guidance, the Patch Approach took root in Massachusetts in a way that continues to evolve to this day.

In 2010, Carolyn led Berkshire Children and Families in taking a bold step to challenge the root causes of social obstacles facing children and families.  She believed passionately that all children and families had strengths and talents, yet not all had opportunity.

Programs such as Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive after school music program in Pittsfield and North Adams, were developed, creating long-term opportunity and corridors of care to help children succeed in school and in life.  BCF enlisted families as partners in that initiative.  Because her vision was so true, she was a trusted advisor, consultant and colleague everywhere she worked.

Our team at BCF is heartbroken by this news yet determined to carry out the vision Carolyn has ignited in us.  Please join us in keeping her family and friends in your thoughts through this difficult time.  Notes of appreciation can be sent to the Burns Family at PO Box 55, Housatonic, MA  01236.

The Board has appointed Diane Robie as Acting Executive Director. Please address any questions or concerns to Diane Robie at 413-448-8281 ext.248 or by email,