Kennedy-Donovan Center provides developmental services to more than 7,500 individuals and families in 150 communities in Massachusetts.
Kennedy-Donovan Center (KDC) provides help to children as they progress toward milestones, and adults as they find the most supportive, least restrictive ways to meet their goals, according to the KDC website www.kdc.org.
KDC was founded in 1969 by Luella Donovan, private duty nurse to the children of Joseph Patrick and Rose Kennedy.[See sidebar]
The stated mission of KDC is to empower and support people to realize their full potential. Their vision is to create “a world where every individual and family thrives, no matter the circumstances.”
KDC delivers “life-changing outcomes” to people of all ages including children, adults, and families who experience developmental delays, disabilities, or challenges. KDC’s “unique approach utilizes pioneering data-driven approaches, a wide breadth of family- and community-based services, and a passion for human empowerment.”
KDC offers 15 different programs that support individuals and families of all ages, throughout the lifespan. The Family Services Division offers 5 programs: Intensive Foster Care (ages 0-22), Lives in Forward Transition AKA LIFT (ages 16-22), Independent Living (ages 0-18), Support & Stabilization (families of all ages) and Family Visitation Center (families of all ages).
KDC’s Intensive Foster Care program provides support to children who are “in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. These children range in age from birth to 22 years. Historically, our Foster Care program served children with developmental disabilities, medical issues, or special needs of any kind. With the huge need for foster homes we have experienced recently, we now take referrals for all levels of function and care,” says Adele Cabral, CFC Program Coordinator at KDC.
“Our Foster Care program works closely with each foster parent to match their abilities with the child’s needs, and we help identify the age range they would be most comfortable fostering. We understand that fostering a child is an important decision to make. We come across people who are at different stages of wanting to become a foster parent, and we know it is critical to meet them where they are at. Some people may be just starting to skim the surface of the foster world and are not 100% sure they want to commit to caring for a foster child, and just some need information on what to expect. We do all we can at the beginning stages of assessing a potential foster parent to equip them with the information and tools they need to be ready and comfortable to move forward with fostering,” says Cabral.
KDC also offers more than 3,000 trainings to its clients.
To find out more about KDC and its services, ways to get involved, and ways to donate to its mission, visit www.kdc.org.
The Kennedy-Donovan Center originated with the connection between Luella Hennessey Donovan and the family of Joseph Patrick and Rose Kennedy.
Luella joined the Kennedy family in 1936 as a private duty nurse and tended to the needs of the Kennedy children. Rosemary, the eldest daughter, had developmental disabilities and was institutionalized in 1941. When Rose confided to Luella that she wished her daughter could have attended a local school to remain with her family, Luella was inspired to embark on a new career. In 1969, after earning her degree in public health nursing from Boston College at the age of 59, Luella fulfilled her dream: she opened one of the first community-based educational and therapeutic programs for young children.
The program now known as the Kennedy-Donovan Center was launched with a three-year grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. In gratitude, Luella named her program the Kennedy Center for Handicapped Children. The Center began serving four children in a borrowed space; Luella was their teacher, and she worked with a physical therapist to serve the children.
In 1987, when Luella retired, the agency was renamed the Kennedy-Donovan Center.