About Us

We work together with kids and families to build resilience and a sense of worth

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

Since 1877, 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 with three program areas:

  • Residential Services provide housing and treatment for youth ages 6-18 including a full range of individual, group, and family clinical services.
  • Outpatient Services, known as The Shepherd Program, provides a variety of therapy and community-baded programs to support children, adults, and families impacted by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and other trauma, such as family violence and physical abuse.
  • The George N. Hunt Campus School (GNHCS) provides highly structured, individualized special education instruction and therapeutic services for to K-12 Residential and Day Students with learning, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

Children are treated and cared for in the residential, outpatient, and educational programs located on our campus in North Providence, Rhode Island, and in the community around the state. 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: kids 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.

Mission: Partnering with youth, adults, and families, St. Mary’s Home for Children fosters resilience and potential through a continuum of innovative residential, community-based, education, and prevention services.

Vision for Our Community

We envision a future:

  • Where all children are safe and well cared for in their homes and communities, and become healthy adults engaged in healthy relationships;
  • Where those we serve are engaged in positive reciprocal relationships within their family and community systems, and develop the skills and strengths they need to attain well-being and thrive in their family, school and community;
  • Where families, neighbors and community members have a meaningful understanding of the short and long term impacts that trauma has on individuals & families; and they provide appropriate supports to youth and families who have been impacted by trauma;
  • Where our local, community and state systems respond to crisis situations with informed curiosity, active support and the expertise or resources needed to maximize the safety and well-being of all involved.


Vision for Our Organization

We envision a future for St. Mary’s where:

  • Our evidence-informed programs and innovative practices continue to evolve to meet the needs of the individuals we serve today and in the future;
  • We actively expand to include a more defined focus on prevention;
  • We are sought out and recognized more (locally and nationally) for our expertise in specialized services and as a thought leader;
  • Families and adults seek out our support and consistently view our organization as a partner and resource;
  • We are able to expand and diversify our revenue sources to improve our financial sustainability and our ability to recruit and retain a diverse pool of top talent.


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


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.

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Learn more about St. Mary’s

Watch a client story video and St. Mary’s story on the Rhode Island PBS Series “Our Town: North Providence.” Also, read our Annual Reports, Newsletters, Blog, and Press page.

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Receive news from St. Mary’s

Join our email list to receive periodic emails about things happening at St. Mary’s Home for Children and the George N. Hunt Campus School.

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Learn about our Programs and Services

Learn details about each of our programs and also how you can obtain services from St. Mary’s.

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Help make a difference for children and families

Learn ways that you can get involved and make a difference for children right here at home in Rhode Island.

Let's keep in touch!


420 Fruit Hill Avenue North Providence, Rhode Island

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