Fernandes Center for Children & Families Celebrates 10th Anniversary


There has been much to celebrate at the Fernandes Centerfor Children and Families (FCCF) in Fall River, Mass., as it marks a decade of providing outpatient care to children who have special healthcare needs with a unique, first-in-the-nation program that integrates specialty services in one location.

Founded in 1997 as a joint partnership between Saint Anne’s Hospital and May Institute, the Center for Children and Families — renamed the Fernandes Center in honor of Sister Joanna Fernandes, OP, in 2004 — has been celebrating its 10th anniversary for the past 12 months.


FCCF provides research-based interventions to the community including outpatient diagnostic evaluations, psychological assessments, and treatment groups for children with diverse developmental, behavioral, or special health needs.


“Its flexible model allows for individualized care that addresses patient needs in collaboration with pediatric primary care providers,” says FCCF Director Deidre Donaldson, Ph.D., who also serves as Director of Pediatric Psychology Services for May Institute. “Our unique program has four service divisions and is now serving as a model for other healthcare organizations throughout the country that are interested in building similar programs.”


FCCF’s Special Medical division offers clinics for a variety of needs including autism spectrum disorders, cardiology, genetics, gastrointestinal, growth and nutrition, and neurology. Its Rehabilitation division offers speech/language, physical, and occupational therapy, and the Behavioral Health division focuses on behavioral psychology, social work, and child psychiatry consultation. Group treatments are available to address issues such as bullying, parent training, and social skills.


The Center’s Community Consultation Services provide direct behavior consultation and trainings to educational settings as well as psychological, educational, and functional behavior assessments.