Children’s Friend and Family Services, a division of JRI providing children’s mental health, youth mentoring, teen parenting and juvenile court services to families north of Boston, is celebrating its 180th anniversary this May.  To celebrate its anniversary and Children’s Mental Health Week (May 3-9), Children’s Friend will be hosting the following special local events:

  • Free Four-Week Positive Parenting Program every Wednesday night during the month of May from 6:30 – 8 p.m. or Thursday morning from 10:30 a.m. – Noon, starting May 4, 2017 at Children’s Friend and Family Services at 110 Boston Street, Salem, MA. Attendees are urged to register in advance by calling 978-744-7905. Topics include:
    • Week 1: Dealing with disobedience
    • Week 2: Managing fighting and aggression
    • Week 3: Bedtime routines
    • Week 4: Hassle-free shopping
  • Fundraiser at Flatbread on Thursday May 2, 2017 from 5 – 9 p.m. at 311 Derby Street, Salem, MA, with proceeds going to Children’s Friend and Family Services therapeutic garden located at its Salem Clinic.
  • Children’s Mental Health Table on Saturday May 6, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Peabody Institute Library at 82 Main Street, Peabody, MA

Children’s Friend and Family Services is a premier provider of children’s behavioral health services and is dedicated to its mission to improve the lives of children and promote strong families.  Since its founding in 1837, Children’s Friend has grown and tailored its services to meet the ever-changing needs of the families in the communities it serves.  Children’s Friend began by serving families in Salem and now operates three additional sites in Lynn, Gloucester and Lawrence.

Last January, Children’s Friend and Family Services merged with JRI, which operates similar services in Boston and Southeastern Mass., to better support the needs of the growing population it serves.  With this merger, the organizations now share best practices and Children’s Friend and Family Services staff is able to gain access to the benefits, training and support that JRI offers. 

“In the 1800s, it was issues such as fathers getting lost at sea, the civil war and tuberculosis that tore families apart,” said Stephanie Sladen, Executive Director for Children’s Friend and Family Services and Vice President for JRI. “Today we serve families facing the opioid crisis, homelessness, and trauma. Families are resilient, however, and we are thankful to have the opportunity to continue helping families overcome these challenges with our partner, JRI.”

“Children’s Friend and Family Services’ mission to improve the lives of children and promote strong families has remained strong for its long history over the past 180 years and now is bolstered by JRI’s mission of social justice and opportunity,” said Andy Pond, President and CEO of JRI.  “As a division of JRI, Children’s Friend can take its mission and work further than ever before to provide the necessary behavioral health and supportive services to the families who need it most.”


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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.