About Us

Our History

We has been providing residential services to at-risk families since 1991. In 1996, we opened our first teen living program. Today Family Independence offers a safe, comprehensive, supervised, structured residential teen living experience for fifteen homeless teen parents, ages 12-21, and their children. We also run an adult shelter program for five young adult parents and their children. Since 1996, over 550 girls have been enrolled.

Family Independence is dedicated to continuing its mission of providing single homeless mothers and their children a stable living environment; focus on the mental health of both mother and child/children; giving the teenagers and young adults an opportunity to complete or continue their education; and to keep families together which, in the long term, benefits everyone in the community. The city of Boston benefits from organizations, like Family Independence, that are there to help improve the lives of its citizens when they need it most.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide hope and stability for at-risk families, children, and youth living in their teen parent program and their adult shelter program. Through the care and services provided by Family Independence young families are given the opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives by helping them build confidence in their abilities as parents as well as discovering the essence of their true self and becoming contributing members of society.

Our Management Team

President and CEO

France Neff

The President & CEO has worked first for FSGB as a Program Director and now for FI in her current role for over 20 years with passion and commitment to helping each teen develop the skills to create a stable environment for their children, with the aim of aiding both young parent and child to reach their full potential. She formed FI to be a successor of FSGB’s Teen Parent Program. She provides life coaching, mental health services, and personal and professional development for individuals and families and serves as FI’s clinical supervisor, coaching others in best practice and effective documentation. She is a Doctoral candidate in the International Psychology program with a focus in trauma at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She received a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies and Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology and Performing Arts with a focus in Dance at The University of Saint Joseph (formerly St, Joseph College).

FI’s Clinical Care Coordinator has been employed, first at FSGB and now at FI for over 15 years. She provides clinical care and case management services to the residents, conducting comprehensive assessment and formulating individual treatment plans. She provides supportive services through referrals both internal and external resources, as well as individual and group counseling and parenting groups. Angela has extensive experience leading the following groups: Power Source Parenting, Strengthening Families/Protective Strategies, Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA) Nurturing, Literacy, Self-Care, Health, Fitness, Wellness and Life Skills. Angela also is familiar with Children's Behavioral Health Initiative Wraparound Services. She has received the following trainings: First Aid & CPR, Psychological First Aid(PFA), Safe Sleep, Trauma, Trust & Truth, Human/Trafficking: Building Partnerships Between Community Health Centers and Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs, Fostering Resilience in Trauma- Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework, MA Play Therapy: Effectively Diagnose and Assess Through Play, MA Trauma, PTSD & Traumatic Grief: Effective Assessment and Immediate Intervention, EQ2- Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

FI’s Program Director brings over 24 years of experience, first with FSGB and now FI. As a founding member of FI, she has served tirelessly supporting, mentoring, and encouraging single parents to move past societal labels and aspire to greatness. Working her way up the ranks to management from a direct care position, she currently implements grant funded projects, monitors and reports progress in accordance with sponsoring agency requirements, and provides ongoing communication with referring and collateral agencies, as well as community organizations regarding all program and resident concerns, she supervises and support staff initiating and coordinating professional development opportunities. She has received training in the following areas, and has, at times, facilitated a number of these trainings for the young families served. First Aid/CPR and AED training, Psychological First Aid(PFA), Safe Sleep, Trauma, Trust & Truth, Human/Trafficking: Building Partnerships Between Community Health Centers and Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs, Power Source, Power Source Parenting, Strengthening Families/Protective Strategies, Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Nurturing, Fostering Resilience in Trauma- Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework, MA Play Therapy: Effectively Diagnose and Assess Through Play, MA Trauma, PTSD & Traumatic Grief: Effective Assessment and Immediate Intervention, and EQ2- Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth.

The Resident Assistant Coordinator has been first on FSGB and then on FI’s management team since 2002, supporting and advocating for homeless teen/young adult parents who may have been affected by abuse neglect, domestic violence, mental health, parental substance abuse etc. In her role, the Resident Assistant Coordinator coordinates direct care staff schedules, collects and maintains current resident and program data, and supports all staff in reporting to stakeholders. Her background is in office administration, and she is proficient in computer applications. She is trained in the following: First Aid/CPR and AED training, Psychological First Aid(PFA), Safe Sleep, Trauma, Trust & Truth, Human/Trafficking: Building Partnerships Between Community Health Centers and Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs, Power Source, Power Source Parenting, Strengthening Families/Protective Strategies, Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Nurturing, Fostering Resilience in Trauma- Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework, MA Play Therapy: Effectively Diagnose and Assess Through Play, MA Trauma, PTSD & Traumatic Grief: Effective Assessment and Immediate Intervention, and EQ2- Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth, Supporting and Welcoming Refugees in our Housing Communities training. As a volunteers with several community organizations, she has dedicated the past 15 years to supporting and advocating for adult homeless families experiencing substance use and addiction as well as mental disorders.

Program Director

Sharee Gittens

Sharee Gittens, is a Program Director with twenty-four and a half years of experience working for Family Independence Teen Parenting Program. As a founding member, Ms. Gittens has served tirelessly supporting, mentoring, and encouraging single mothers to move past the societal labels and aspire to greatness.

Working her way up the ranks to management from a direct care position, Sharee is a powerful force in the workplace and community using her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. Whether it is on the job or in her community, she is inspired daily to continue this rewarding work.

In her current role, she implements grant funded projects, monitors and reports progress in accordance with sponsoring agency requirements, she Provides ongoing communication with referring and collateral agencies as well as community organizations regarding all program and client concerns, she supervises and support staff initiating and coordinating professional development opportunities.

In her free time. She serves on various boards and auxiliaries in her faith based community, she sponsors an annual back to school event for school aged children, she hosts Thanksgiving Dinner for those in need, and sponsoring families in need at Christmas. Service and empowering people to be their best has always been and continues to be the fuel that drives her.

Over the years she has been trained in the following, and has at times facilitated a number of these trainings for the young families in her care. First Aid/CPR and AED training, Psychological First Aid(PFA), Safe Sleep, Trauma, Trust & Truth, Human/Trafficking: Building Partnerships Between Community Health Centers and Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs, Power Source, Power Source Parenting, Strengthening Families/Protective Strategies, Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Nurturing, Fostering Resilience in Trauma- Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework, MA Play Therapy: Effectively Diagnose and Assess Through Play, MA Trauma, PTSD & Traumatic Grief: Effective Assessment and Immediate Intervention, and EQ2- Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth.

Clinical Care Coordinator

Angela M. Williams

Angela M. Williams, M.Ed., Clinical Care Coordinator, Teen Parenting Program. Angela has been employed at Family Service of Greater Boston’s, Family Independence Teen Parenting Program, now Family Independence Inc. for over 15 years. She provides clinical care and case management services to the clients. She conducts comprehensive assessment and formulate individual treatment plans. Angela provides supportive services through referrals both internal and external resources. She also provides individual and group counseling and parenting groups.

Angela has extensive experience leading the following groups: Power Source Parenting, Strengthening Families/Protective Strategies, Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA) Nurturing, Literacy, Self-Care, Health, Fitness, Wellness and Life Skills. Angela also is familiar with Children's Behavioral Health Initiative Wraparound Services.

Trainings: First Aid & CPR, Psychological First Aid(PFA), Safe Sleep, Trauma, Trust & Truth, Human/Trafficking: Building Partnerships Between Community Health Centers and Domestic Violence Advocacy Programs, Fostering Resilience in Trauma- Impacted Youth and Families: The Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Treatment Framework, MA Play Therapy: Effectively Diagnose and Assess Through Play, MA Trauma, PTSD & Traumatic Grief: Effective Assessment and Immediate Intervention, EQ2- Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Resident Assistant Coordinator

Angell Jones

Since 2002, I have been a Family Independence management team player by supporting homeless teen/young adult parents who may have been affected by abuse neglect, domestic violence, mental health, parental substance abuse etc. Our goal is to help these families improve life skills, complete/further education and develop parenting skills while providing a nurturing familial atmosphere.

Board Members

Board Member

Affiliation

France A. Neff, LMHC, BCC
Family Independence, Inc.
Sue Rushfirth, RPT
Registered Physical Therapist
Tiesha D. Hughes
Associate Director, CCBL
Lasell College
Center for Community-Based Learning
John J. Kuhns, MBA
Operations Manager
Department of Family Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Shaina Wamsley London
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP
Two International Place, Boston, MA 02110
Carlie Cherry
Development Officer, Research
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Funding

Family Independence has received generous funding from Family Services of Greater Boston (FSGB) as they disperse the remainder of their funds: a grant to cover our operating costs for a year; and a large grant of unrestricted funds from FSGB which will create an endowment fund to help FI plan for the future.

We are also creating a fundraising prospect pool for future support and have already received our first grant from Liberty Mutual.