About Us

We work together with children, adults, and families to build resilience and a sense of worth

145 years of taking care of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children

Since 1879, St. Mary’s has been caring for Rhode Island’s children. As a non-profit agency, we increase the safety, stability, and well-being of children facing issues such as psychiatric illness, sexual abuse and trafficking, and special education challenges. Today, we also help adults overcome trauma experiences. We offer three program areas:

    • Residential Services: Five houses on our North Providence, RI, campus provide safe, supportive living for children ages 6-18 with a full range of individual, group, and family clinical services.
    • Outpatient Services (Known as the Shepherd Counseling Center): Working with children, adults, and families, Outpatient provides in-office and in-community mental health programming using multiple unique methods to support those impacted by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and other trauma, such as family violence and physical abuse.
    • The George N. Hunt Campus School (GNHCS): Working with both Residential and Day Students, our school provides highly structured, individualized special education instruction and therapeutic services for K-12 students with learning, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

At St. Mary’s, we focus on treatment and healing while providing the support and skills necessary for the preservation of families through programs tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients. The work we do together can be difficult. It takes extraordinary effort and dedication on the part of staff, volunteers, community members, and especially those we serve. But the result is inspiring: children, adults, and families who once again believe in themselves and their ability to lead fulfilled, meaningful lives.

Whether you are an individual whose child requires special attention for mental health or special education, an adult seeking therapeutic help, an individual donor, a community partner, or a representative of a business or government agency, we welcome you to discover more about what our services can do for you and the children you care about.

St. Mary’s does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or any other protected category in accordance with applicable law.

Our Mission

We provide innovative and equitable mental health and special education services that strengthen the resiliency of children, adults, and families to help them reach their full potential.  

Our Vision

We will be the trusted leader and partner of choice for equitable trauma-informed care.  

Our Values

Innovative: We create new knowledge in our field, use creative solutions to solve problems and meet the needs of those we serve.

Equity: We meet each youth, adult, and family where they are to meet their unique needs through care that is both culturally and linguistically aware.

Person-Centered: We partner with those we serve and individualize our services to ensure that they have voice and choice in determining their desired outcomes.

Respect: We treat everyone with dignity, compassion, and an appreciation for their unique strengths.

Integrity: We are ethical, honest, and trustworthy; we are transparent in all of our interactions, and responsible stewards of our resources.

Excellence: We are committed to the use of evidence-informed practices in all that we do, and ensuring that our staff are well trained and supported to deliver the highest quality services.

Collaborative: We seek to partner with others to build relationships and networks of support for those we serve.

Empathy: We establish a safe and trusting environment to ensure that all employees and clients feel understood.

Our History

St. Mary’s Home for Children opened its doors in 1877 as an orphanage within the Episcopal Diocese. Reverend Daniel Ingalls Odell was rector of St. Mary’s Church in East Providence, Rhode Island, when a couple in his parish died, leaving two children. During the same winter another couple died, leaving five children. Father Odell took them in and provided for their care. 

In 1879, St. Mary’s became an Incorporated Institution, under the name of St. Mary’s Orphanage, governed by a Board of Trustees, with the Bishop of the Diocese as President.

By 1925, so many applications were being received that it became necessary to find larger quarters. In 1926, Mrs. Theodore Gibbs from Newport, contributed one hundred thousand dollars to St. Mary’s Orphanage. Seven acres of land were purchased in North Providence for a new location. After fifty years in East Providence, Rhode Island, St. Mary’s moved to its present site on Fruit Hill Avenue in North Providence. In 1928, the charter was revised to rename the orphanage, “St. Mary’s Home for Children.” St. Mary’s has always been a non-profit agency, committed to serving the changing needs of children and families.