Encompass: Community and Collaboration for Foster Families

MSPCC launches a pilot program to implement an enhanced foster care system that provides Worcester-based foster parents with trauma coaching, a peer support program, and the ability to connect with supportive community volunteers.

IECMH Endorsement®

MSPCC partners with MassAIMH to strengthen and expand the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Workforce in Massachusetts. Learn more here!

Foster Care Survey

MSPCC conducts a statewide survey of foster parents, giving voice to their experiences, concerns, and needs.

Eliot Community Human Services

MSPCC combines with Eliot Community Human Services in 2016 to further strengthen the agency’s services and better address the needs of children and families.

Prevention of Sexual Abuse

Spearheads legislation to establish Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse

CHINS Reform

MSPCC joins forces with legislative leaders to pass CHINS reform, ensuring community-based services for at-risk children and establishing Family Resource Centers.

CMHC is Formed

MSPCC and Boston Children’s Hospital join together with the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Health Law Advocates, and Health Care For All to form the Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC).

Children’s Mental Health

MSPCC and Children’s Hospital Boston collaborate on a policy paper that has become the platform for a campaign to reform children’s mental health services in Massachusetts.

Foster Care Policy Paper

In collaboration with more than 30 organizations and legislators, MSPCC releases “18 and Out: Life After Foster Care in Massachusetts,” a policy paper that addresses the significant challenges faced by teens exiting the foster care system.

National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

MSPCC hosts the 15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Approximately 2,300 individuals attended, taking part in roundtable discussions, seminars, experiential learning opportunities, plenary sessions, and workshops.

“A State of Decay”

MSPCC releases “Oral Health and the Commonwealth’s Most Vulnerable Children: A State of Decay,” a policy paper that highlights the poor oral health and lack of access to dental care faced by low-income and foster children in Massachusetts.

Child Investment Bill

MSPCC works with legislators to file the Child Investment Bill allowing the Commonwealth to establish a newborn home visiting program which leads to the start of the Healthy Families program.  The Healthy Families program now operates as a program of the Children’s Trust, a key partner of MSPCC.

Kid’s Net Contract

MSPCC launches the first statewide foster care contract, Kid’s Net. Kid’s Net trains and supports foster, kinship, and adoptive families in caring for children who have suffered major trauma and loss and are currently in the Department of Children and Families custody.


The GoodStart home visiting pilot project receives the American Humane Association’s National Model Program Award.

MSPCC’s First Clinical License

MSPCC wins endorsement from the Child Welfare League of America’s Council of Accreditation and obtains its first clinical license.

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act

Congress passes the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, requiring care-and-protection cases to go exclusively to state agencies.

Creation of DSS

MSPCC and other child welfare agencies are instrumental in advocating for the creation of the state’s Department of Social Services (DSS), now known and the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Mandated Reporting Law

MSPCC’s Robert Mulford chairs the Governor’s Committee on Child Abuse, that leads to legislation in 1973 relating to the protection of children. Known as the “mandated reporting law,” Chapter 119/Section 51A requires professionals such as teachers, social workers, and law enforcement officials to report suspected cases of child abuse and…Read More

Standards for Child Protective Service

Robert Mulford, MSPCC General Secretary from 1947 -1979, leads the national effort to draft a new statement of “Standards for Child Protective Service” under the auspices of the Child Welfare League of America. These standards became “quality control” guidelines for child welfare agencies across the world.

Abuse Prevention Becomes a Priority

The Third White House Conference on Children determines that prevention of factors that cause abuse and neglect must be a national priority in order for children to be able to remain in the home.

Lothrop chairs The Children’s Commission

MSPCC General Secretary Thornton Lothrop is named by Massachusetts Governor Frank Allen to chair The Children’s Commission, designed to investigate all state laws relating to children. The Commission returns 60 recommendations for legislative change, of which 37 are enacted into law.

CWLA is Formed

MSPCC aids in efforts leading to the formation of the Child Welfare League of America.

Grafton D. Cushing, MSPCC Board President

Grafton D. Cushing, MSPCC Board President, inspires the agency to change its operating philosophy from enforcement to a prevention approach. Until then, MSPCC served as a supportive adjunct of the police and the courts. “Prevention of Cruelty to Children” had meant protecting abused and neglected children by taking them away…Read More

Boarding Homes Regulation

MSPCC and Boston’s Board of Health succeed in passing legislation to regulate infant boarding homes. Common in the 1800’s, these “baby farms” were places where any unwanted child could be disposed of for a fee of about $25.00. Horrifying by today’s standards, the “farms” exhibited high mortality rates, and most…Read More

Exhibition of Children Banned

Legislation is passed banning the exhibition of deformed children for money, and shortly thereafter a new law prohibiting the use of children in street entertainment and begging is established.

First Prosecution of a Parent

The first known prosecution of a parent for mistreating a child in Massachusetts is the mother of Sarah Gambion who was brought to court and found guilty of beating her daughter.

MSPCC is Founded

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is incorporated “…for the purpose of awakening interest in the abuses to which children are exposed by…parents and guardians, and to help the enforcement of existing laws on the subject, procure needed legislation and for kindred work…”

New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals declares it cannot handle the load of cases involving children coming to them as a result of the Mary Ellen case.  The SPCA recommends forming a separate organization to deal with abused and neglected children. The New York Society for the…Read More

The Mary Ellen Case

The Mary Ellen case reaches court in New York: Etta Wheeler, speaks up and seeks help from the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to stop the brutal treatment of Mary Ellen, a 12-year old girl in her neighborhood. This case marks the first legal gathering for children’s rights…Read More

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