Improving care. Changing lives.

President's Blog ~ February 2017

Dr. Robert P Franks

It is hard to believe, but Judge Baker Children’s Center is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary in 2017!

One hundred years ago, the Center was established to honor the late Judge Harvey Humphrey Baker, an early pioneer in children’s mental health. Judge Baker was one of the first juvenile court judges in the nation and when he saw the troubled children and adolescents coming through his court, he knew that they needed more than punishment. He paved the way for looking at these children and adolescents differently with an understanding perspective that acknowledged their challenges and risks. He wanted to provide them with the guidance they needed and deserved and help them get back on track. Judge Baker Children’s Center was established on these principles. For one hundred years we have been improving the lives of children and families by working at the policy, systems, and practice levels to advance quality care. We continue that work today with a robust range of services and programs that meet the needs of children and families with mental health and special education challenges.

We honor our history today by celebrating our Centennial year through several exciting activities. We are getting back to our roots by identifying the key issues and concerns that we must address as a society to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families. To that end, we have been working with key stakeholders from across the state in recent months to identify and explore the importance of early childhood and its implications for health and well-being across the lifespan. We have conducted interviews with policy makers, providers and experts in children’s mental health and reviewed research and best practices that focus on young children. We have synthesized this information into a policy brief that we will distribute on March 30th at a statewide policy forum to inform legislators, the executive branch, state agencies, providers, and parents. Our goal is to share actionable policy recommendations that can move Massachusetts forward to be a national leader in early childhood development, care, and education. Young children are both our most valuable, and most vulnerable, asset. By investing our collective knowledge and resources in young children and their families, we can ensure a better, healthier future for all of our citizens.

Our Centennial year is a kick-off to our next hundred years of improving the lives of children and families. We will continue to promote policies that support children, work with our state systems to improve, coordinate, and integrate care, and train and implement practice changes that help ensure that all children have access to the highest quality care. We hope you can help us celebrate our hundred years of serving children and help make the hopes and dreams of the next generation of children and families and reality.