HopeWell is a nonprofit social services agency headquartered in metro Boston with regional offices across Massachusetts and in East Hartford, CT.
Our programs provide a range of critical services to children, youth, and adults in need. We are one of New England’s leading providers of intensive foster care, we support young adults transitioning out of foster care, and we offer residential settings and support services for adults living with disabilities.
HopeWell’s roots go back to 1964, when founder Gerry Wright saw an urgent need for an alternative to court-involved teens being warehoused in juvenile detention centers. Determined to find a better, more humane alternative, Wright launched the state’s first community-based residential program for boys. He named the new nonprofit DARE: Dynamic Action Residence Enterprise.
This pioneering program evolved into Dare Family Services, which by the 1970s had grown significantly and become a state leader in providing intensive foster care services to children and teens with a history of serious challenges and family trauma.
As the concept of deinstitutionalization took root, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health sought out Dare’s help to find better alternative for adults with developmental disabilities. Dedicated to the idea that all individuals deserve security, stability, and opportunity to grow, Dare also began to provide staffed apartments for adults with developmental disabilities who had spent years in state hospitals with little hope for any other future. Dare also became one of the first providers in the state to offer a residential program for pregnant and parenting mothers with mild to moderate developmental disabilities.
In 2016, the organization began to re-envision itself for the 21st century. Building on an impressive record of more than 50 years of high quality care for children, families, and adults with disabilities, we began evaluating the current state of care: gaps in social services, promising new approaches to helping people heal and thrive, and how to address fluctuating levels of state support and find sources to fund acute unmet needs. We have since put more emphasis on data-informed best practices, moved our Administrative Office to a new location, created a more user-friendly website, and launched a new initiative to support youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
In 2017 we took the name HopeWell as a symbol of our renewed commitment to positive, innovative models of care and our central mission of enriching lives and expanding opportunities for the individuals and families we serve.
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