Family ACCESS is a community-based non-profit organization that empowers and strengthens families through a set of four integrated programs: The Family ACCESS Early Learning Center, Family ACCESS Early Literacy Services, Family ACCESS Counseling and Consultation Services, and CAP Child Assault Prevention, a program of Family ACCESS. For over 100 years, the organization has served thousands of families, regardless of their economic status, from Newton and neighboring towns.
The word ACCESS is an acronym of the phrase “A Center for Comprehensive Education and Support Services”, a phrase that clearly defines the organization’s work in the community. Formerly known as Newton Community Service Center, our new name, specifically the word ACCESS, describes the impact of that work. It reminds us of the doors that open, and the rich journeys that result, when children and families have access to the very best education-based resources and programs.
Founded in 1907 as a day nursery for local laborers, and formerly known as Newton Community Services Center, Family ACCESS was one of the first organizations in the state to focus on early education. Since then, it has provided access to quality childcare and preschool for working families, added services to engage seniors and youth, and introduced proven programs to strengthen young families. For example, in the 1970s, the Center was the first agency in the state to adopt the Parent Child Home Program (PCHP), a national model for engaging parents in early child development.
In the 1990s, Family ACCESS introduced the Child Assault Prevention (CAP) program, which has reached every school age child in Newton for over 20 years, and is now expanding to other communities. In 2012, Family ACCESS was certified as a Brazelton Touchpoint site, in association with Boston Children’s Hospital, infusing all services with this strength-based framework for child and family development. Also in 2012, the Center became a satellite of Raising a Reader (RAR) Massachusetts. In 2014, we adopted the name Family ACCESS to reflect this growing focus on family development and our commitment to support vulnerable young families. Our work remains deeply embedded in the community, with staff supported by community volunteers, including former clients, to deliver multi-lingual services on-site, in homes, at community centers, shelters, and schools
Within the first five years of a child’s life, 80% of the ‘hard wiring’ crucial to learning, emotional intelligence, relationships – even physical health – occurs. At Family ACCESS, we’re focused on helping children from all backgrounds benefit from a rich educational opportunity grounded in care and inclusivity. Here, children explore, learn and build relationships and parents gain confidence as nurturers, understanding their roles in a child’s development that is key to their progress.
MISSION & IMPACT
The mission of Family ACCESS is to strengthen children, families and the community by providing programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills, and support working parents. We actively engage a racially, economically, and culturally diverse population in Newton, Waltham and surrounding communities. We focus our services on less-advantaged families and their young children. We help teens and adults with significant challenges become better parents and help very young children develop the social, emotional, and intellectual skills they need to succeed in school and in life. By linking children, parents, and other caregivers to services they need in-house, as well as externally through community partners, Family ACCESS provides a social safety-net for vulnerable families throughout the most critical years of their children’s development.