Skip to main content

Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps

Added Nov 30, 2010

11 Beacon Street
Suite 200
Boston, MA 02108

Phone (617) 227-4183

Fax (617) 227-2069

The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps (RFKCAC) was founded in 1969 as a memorial to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. RFKCAC is a private non-profit, non-partisan, licensed child welfare agency with approved private schools, foster care and adoption services in addition to residential and community-based programming. Nearly 700 children and families come to its 19 residential and community-based programs each year. RFKCAC is a leader in child welfare and juvenile justice in Massachusetts. Every year, it helps hundreds of children, youths, and their families deal successfully with behavioral and emotional issues. RFKCAC’s innovative and comprehensive programming, which includes residential treatment, educational services, community-based services, and therapeutic support, helps the children it serves to grow into healthy and productive members of their communities. RFKCAC’s long history of services to youths and families has positioned the agency as an advocate not only in Massachusetts but as an advocate nationwide for juvenile justice and child welfare systems. This advocacy is to aspire as Robert F. Kennedy did to achieve a better future for children.

“We recognize also that many young offenders may be redirected toward constructive activities through successful treatment efforts. However, these programs deal with the end results of delinquency – not the sources. We must broaden our attack and focus as much energy in the future on prevention as we have on control and treatment in the past.”

-Robert F. Kennedy, National Committee for Children and Youth Conference on Unemployed, Out-of-School Youth in Urban Areas. Washington, D.C. May 24, 1961.  Page 59. Quoted in Make Gentle the Life of this World, The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy, Edited with an introduction by Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, 1998.

Areas of Expertise

Advocacy, Residential Treatment including Life Skills, Education, Clinical Services with Children and Families, Systems Integration, Corrections, and Probation

Partners and Clients

RFKCAC works with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families as well as the Departments of Mental Health and Early Education and Care. It also accepts referrals from judges, probation officers, and public school systems. Another of its partnerships is with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Since 1991, RFKCAC has been the national operational center for NYPUM (National Youth Project Using Mini-bikes,, a program originally funded by Law Enforcement Assistance Agency and supported by Honda since 1969. The program uses a Honda mini-bike as a motivational tool in working with at-risk children.

RFKCAC partners also with corporations, foundations and individuals who support its work with and advocacy for children. And, it is joined with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in Washington DC, combining the advocacy and the policy expertise of the Center with the direct service and juvenile justice and child welfare experience of RFKCAC to set a national platform/forum for juvenile justice and child welfare issues.

Strategies and Services

The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps (RFKCAC) partners with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights in the creation and work of The RFK Juvenile Justice Collaborative. The Collaborative urges legislative reform of the juvenile justice system and promotes the integration and coordination of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems to achieve better outcomes for multi-system youth. The systems integration work under Models for Change reinforces the agency’s commitment to focus on national policy and advocacy work and to prioritize the issues impacting reentry of juvenile justice involved youths back into the community.

With the generous and ongoing support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, RFKCAC continues the work initiated by the Child Welfare League of America to guide numerous jurisdictions in achieving greater system coordination and integration for children, youth, families, and communities that populate multiple youth serving systems.
Systems integration and reform is best accomplished through a comprehensive, strategic planning process that embraces and values inclusion of youth, families, and a broad representation of youth-serving agencies and organizations. This approach has been built from years of collaborative expertise and practice, use of the most credible research, and the best available information to guide the process; it is accomplished by:

  • Providing consultation, training, and technical assistance resources to implement systems integration and reform and to implement appropriate and effective responses to reduce juvenile delinquency and juvenile victimization.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information on child welfare and juvenile justice practices and policies that promote positive youth development.
  • Advocating for implementation of sound legislation, policies and procedures that contribute to juvenile justice system reform and the development of effective delinquency prevention and intervention programs and practices.

RFKCAC works diligently to improve and disseminate the tools, resources, and publications that support systems integration and juvenile justice reform. It makes them available to state and local jurisdictions around the country and within the Models for Change sites in order to improve outcomes for maltreated and traumatized children and youth entering the nation's delinquency systems.