Improving care. Changing lives.

President's Blog ~ October 2017

Dr. Bob Franks

As we celebrate our Centennial Year, we look back on the history of Judge Baker Children’s Center. Established in 1917, the Center was developed to address the social and mental health needs of the children of greater Boston as a legacy to the work of Judge Harvey H. Baker who was the first juvenile court judge in Massachusetts. Judge Baker saw children in his court who were labeled as “delinquent”, but he saw them differently. Through his court, he worked to try and get children the help and support they lacked. He believed these vulnerable youth needed intervention and support—not punishment. To this day, Judge Baker Children’s Center works to serve our most vulnerable children and youth to help ensure they have a brighter future.

One hundred years later, children and adolescents with behavioral health challenges still struggle with stigma and often must navigate multiple systems—juvenile justice, child welfare, behavioral health and special education. Many of these children do not get the help and support they need. Early signs of difficulty are missed. Reactions to traumatic events or exposure to domestic and community violence are often misdiagnosed and treated as behavioral or educational problems. We know that early exposure to trauma and negative childhood experiences can have a long-lasting impact on a child’s life as they grow into adulthood. Research has shown that if we do not intervene early these early challenges can lead to life-long problems, including chronic social, behavioral and health problems.

However, in the past century, we also have come to better understand the impact of adversity on children as well as the many factors that may impact their development. We also know what treatments work best for a wide range of problems such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD and behavior problems. The staff at Judge Baker provides cutting-edge treatments and helps train others to improve access to high-quality care for families in need. Our goal is to ensure that every child and family get the care they deserve.

More than ever we need your support to help achieve our mission. As funding for high-quality services for children becomes scarcer, we need to rely on the generosity of our donors. Please consider making a donation in honor of our Centennial. Every donation helps a child and family in need. If you would like to help us help others, please click here.

On behalf of the children and families we serve, thank you!