FRIENDLY IN DEED:
A number of Children's Friend staff took part last summer in training given by The Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence over the course of 30 hours.
LEILA M. HILL
Rhode Island’s disadvantaged children have special advocates who are always ready to make their burdens lighter. The nonprofit Children’s Friend, founded in 1834, provides vital services like child welfare, family support, mental health and youth development.
President and CEO David Caprio said that from 10 sites clustered in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, the organization is active throughout the state, helping more than 30,000 children and family members annually. “Children usually are ages birth to 6, but we will never abandon anyone because of age,” he said.
For the second year in a row, employees have ensured Children’s Friend was selected as one of Providence Business News’ Best Place to Work. They point to numerous benefits, including parenting leave for both mothers and fathers, domestic partner benefits, flexible work schedules, subsidized child care, affordable health care – even adoption assistance.
Personal “fun things” like birthday gift cards, holiday parties and a staff barbecue promote camaraderie among the diverse staff. There are also gift cards for every employee’s birthday, staff retreats and quarterly, agency-wide meetings.
Supervisors meet frequently with employees one-on-one, and a staff-run committee focuses on diversity and inclusiveness. There are incentive bonuses for a variety of accomplishments, including securing new foster families.
“Our work is inherently very rewarding, and many employees go above and beyond the call of duty to serve our clients,” Caprio said.
That includes community cleanups and weekend events with client families and even taking personal time to care for the facilities and to promote green practices. •