Although the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps has been around and thriving since 1969 in Boston, it only became a member of the Crittenton Family of Agencies recently. Its historic connection to National Crittenton lies with the Florence Crittenton agency in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 2011, RFK Children’s Action Corps’ Bright Futures Adoption Center decided to take on the care and protection of the adoption records from the Florence Crittenton League of Lowell. RFK became a member of the Crittenton Family of Agencies the following year in 2012.

Today, RFK runs a variety of programs and services, including community-based services, educational services, adoption services, residential treatment services, and a national resource center for juvenile justice.

RFK’s community-based services include a Detention Diversion Advocacy Program, a Children of Alcohol and Substance Abuse program, a High Risk Youth Network, and Support and Stabilization. DDAP is a voluntary intervention alternative to court-ordered detention, providing young people with community-based support and supervision. CCOASA advocates for children and develops appropriate supportive educational groups, facilitates school and community-based prevention/intervention services, adapting supports to meet the particular needs of the children served.

Among the organization’s educational programs are the Experiment with Travel School, RFK Lancaster School, and Adventure Education. The Lancaster School is a state approved special education residential and day school that services students 6-18 years of age with social emotional disabilities. Includes students from residential program and surrounding communities. The school’s ARC (Attachment, Regulation, and Competency) model, trauma informed, therapeutic integrated program combines education, therapy, recreational and social services. The school also includes a school-to-work program, real-life job skills training, experiential learning, and clinical services.

Residential treatment services at RFK include the short-term Cape Cod Adolescent Treatment Center which provides crisis intervention, individual and family therapy, and respite care for those aged 12-17; the Lancaster Residential Treatment Campus which provides multiple levels of residential treatment, emergency assessment, respite care, flexible private pay service offerings, and special education services; the RFK (Middleton) School which serves youth for crimes ranging from drug possession to assault; and the South Hadley Girls Treatment Program for young women 13-18 years old providing educational, life skills, therapeutic, recreational, and support services needed to improve behavior and return home. It’s a staff-secure program for girls stepping down in treatment.

RFK CEO, Edward Kelley, began his human services career in 1968 as an outreach youth worker for the city of Cambridge’s Division of Community and Youth Services, a community-based agency that worked with at-risk and delinquent children. He later served as its director. In 1981, he joined Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps as deputy executive director, and in 1985, he was appointed executive director. Ed holds a Bachelor of Arts from Roger Williams University and a Master of Arts in education from Boston University.