Children's Center of Hamden
1400 Whitney Ave
Hamden CT 06517
Contact Information
Address 1400 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT 06517-
Telephone (203) 248-2116 x
Fax 203-248-9339
Web and Social Media
The Children's Center of Hamden is a private nonprofit multi-service Agency dedicated to providing quality treatment and education in a safe, nurturing environment for children and families in the least restrictive setting. Our Board of Directors values the contributions of its diverse workforce and monitors the management of Agency resources so that employees can be successful in their efforts to provide an environment that fosters positive age appropriate experiences for children and youth with behavioral, emotional and/or learning disabilities. Multidisciplinary treatment teams are trained to enhance the wellness and to protect the privacy of those we serve. While continuously assisting each child and family to assess their needs and access their strengths, we strive to provide services that are respectful and welcoming of diverse cultures and identities.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1833
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Daniel Lyga MSW, LCSW
Board Chair Krista Hart
Board Chair Company Affiliation Homemaker
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
The Children's Center of Hamden is a private nonprofit multi-service Agency dedicated to providing quality treatment and education in a safe, nurturing environment for children and families in the least restrictive setting. Our Board of Directors values the contributions of its diverse workforce and monitors the management of Agency resources so that employees can be successful in their efforts to provide an environment that fosters positive age appropriate experiences for children and youth with behavioral, emotional and/or learning disabilities. Multidisciplinary treatment teams are trained to enhance the wellness and to protect the privacy of those we serve. While continuously assisting each child and family to assess their needs and access their strengths, we strive to provide services that are respectful and welcoming of diverse cultures and identities.
Founded in 1833 as “The New Haven Orphan Asylum,” The Children’s Center of Hamden is Connecticut’s oldest child-caring agency. Its mission then was described as “relieving, supporting and educating children who are friendless and destitute” and served as a major adoption agency for much of its existence. In 1925 The Children’s Center of Hamden moved to its present location in Hamden. It proved to be a model institution for its time, introducing the concept of small home like residential “cottages” for group living, instead of large dormitory-style institutional buildings.

Throughout its history, the agency evolved in the services it offered to meet the changing needs of children. In the late 1930s it served as a convalescent home for children with polio and rheumatic fever. In the early 1940s it served as a refuge for 125 children and 19 mothers from Oxford, England, who were sent to America to escape the Nazi bombing raids. In the 1950s The Children’s Center of Hamden evolved into a Residential Treatment facility for children identified with social or emotional problems and at risk of abuse and neglect.

Today, The Children’s Center of Hamden offers a full array of services ranging from outpatient therapy to after school treatment programs, special education and residential programs addressing a variety of conditions and circumstances. While each program provides its own specialty, generally speaking the children suffer from one or more of a variety of problems; psychological and social problems; physical and/or sexual abuse; learning disabilities; substance abuse; and family trauma. Approximately 200 boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 18 are served on a daily basis.




Accomplishments Over the Past Year

  1. Culling together six years of research that illustrates the demographics served and changes thereto and longitudinal outcomes related to services provided in our residential treatment program. Presentations of this data were made to the Board of Directors as well as the State's Department of Children and Families in response to their request.
  2. Significant modification in treatment models utilized to service children and families in programs offering varying intensity of intervention.
  3. The implementation and enhancement of vocational training and clinical/social work services for youth and families enrolled in our special-education program.
  4. Implementation of rigorous checks and balances in order to satisfy the medical necessity requirements of Medicaid.
Goals for the Currrent Year
  1. Broaden the array of services we offer that service children who are able to live in the community.
  2. Attract experienced, licensed and/or certified staff to fill future staff vacancies.
  3. Continue to find more efficiency through shared training and experiences with other area and state-wide service providers.
  4. Identify and develop community events that will bring awareness to the community of children's experiences and needs, while at the same time raising funds for our organization.
  1. Increasing training of direct care employees with regards to dealing with more psychiatrically complex clients and their families.
  2. Complete revamp and refocus of fundraising efforts and the commensurate required commitment.
  3. Increased data collection and sophistication of analysis as relates to treatment outcomes.
  4. Increased funding and/or substantial decrease in expenditures related to the provision of treatment services as this organization is virtually 100% dependent on state and municipal funding, which is decreasing in actual dollars and obviously purchasing power.
CEO Statement
The Children's Center of Hamden has had a long history of adapting and evolving to meet the needs of Connecticut's children and their families. As an organization we are evolving in terms of staff qualifications, training and focus in order to provide psychiatric, behavioral and special education services to an ever increasing level of acuity. As an organization that has achieved and continues to aspire to maintain national accreditation with the Joint Commission, and a partner with Connecticut's managed care system through the Behavioral Health Partnership, we continue to migrate towards a more medical model focused on targeted treatment in order to serve children and youth in the least restrictive but most appropriate level of care. In part that is being shaped by an increased reliance on psychiatrists, registered nurses and licensed clinicians. The challenge that must be addressed in this process is the consequence of current economic conditions adversely affecting the nonprofit community who has devoted its resources to serving disadvantaged children and youth whose treatment services are funded by state and municipal funds.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Youth Development / Youth Development Programs
Secondary Organization Category Education /
Areas Served
State wide
Description The Children's Center of Hamden has: residential treatment; day programs; an adolescent substance abuse program; short-term family integrated treatment program (S-FIT); stabilization bed program; intensive residential program; a group home; intensive outpatient treatment; outpatient treatment; extended day treatment; state approved Special Education school on grounds; therapeutic recreation; and medical care.
Population Served / /
Services adolescents experiencing significant emotional, behavioral and/or psychiatric difficulties requring an intensive out of home treatment program. As a Residential Treatment program for up to 38 children, it operates 365 days a year. There are two boys' and one girls' living units, often referred to as cottages. Average length of stay is approximately 9 months. Children receive recreational services and participate in individual and group therapy. Family therapy is strongly recommended and provided whenever possible. The living environment is moderately structured with an individualized behavioral Management Program.
Population Served At-Risk Populations / /
Services 5 adolescent boys (up to age 18) for a varied length of stay and are ready for community living with intensive therapeutic support. Emphasis is on assisting youth to develop necessary skills to live successfully in the community.
Population Served Males / /
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
Given the average youth's length of stay in residential prior to transitioning into the Group Home, a vital component of this program is to assess youth's areas of proficiency in order to teach practical life-skills that will assist in preparing them to re-integrate back into the community, and to allow them to lead independent lives and become a productive member of society. Prior to dischage from the Gate House, a youth should have the ability to demonstrate competence in personal care and hygiene; money management and budgeting; meal preparation and accessing and using public transportation.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Youths housed at the Group Home are referred by the Department of Children and Families and are transitioned from Residential Programs from in and outside of the State of Connecticut. The average length of stay in a residential program for youth transitioning into the Gate House is 2 years. The primary focus of the Gate House is to prepare youth for successful re-integration back into the community.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Following admission, at the end of the youth's first year in placement at the Gate House his ability to adapt to the program successfully is gauged by how well the youth has internalized the programs rules and expectations, and his willingness to actively engage in treatment and work toward achieving his treatment goals. The youth will also be able to show an ability to function independently in the milieu and the community with less of a need for verbal prompts and coaching from staff. For example, at the end of a six week cycle of cooking group a youth will have the ability to prepare a meal without assistance from staff.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
The group home setting is considered to be less of a restrictive environment than residential treatment. Some youth transitioning into the group home can have difficulty acclimating to a setting with less structure. For example, a youth was successfully discharged from the program recently into independent living after residing at the group home for over three years. Early into his placement, this youth required inpatient hospitalization on three separate occasions due to experiencing significant psychiatric decline. He also needed to be placed in therapeutic holds on multiple occasions in order to ensure his safety. Prior to admission to the Gate House, this youth had a longstanding history of residing in residential placement and receiving psychopharmacological treatment to assist with stabilizing his mood. With consistent emotional support, along with modifying his treatment plan and medication regimen, this youth was able to maintain behavioral and psychiatric stabilization for two years prior to discharge. During this two year time period, this youth did not require inpatient psychiatric hospitalization or physical therapeutic intervention.
Whitney Hall School provides an integrated educational experience for clients living in the Residential Treatment Program and youth living in the community (Day School) and referred by local school systems. The students, elementary through high school, receive 25 hours a week of academic instruction and clinical support in a single-gender classrooms which average 10 students each. A full compliment of core subject matter as well as physical education, art, computers, life skills, reading support and speech and language services when needed.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) / /
Services boys and  girls who are at risk of out of home placement or hospitalization or who need a therapeutic program following one of these levels of care. The program meets after school during the academic year and full days during school breaks. The program provides therapy, case management, referral and advocacy to children and their families so that the youth's symptoms and behaviors are managed and the youth is able to live in the community.
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) / /
Description The Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment program services male and female adolescents between the ages of 12-17 in the greater New Haven area who are abusing or dependent on drugs and/or alcohol, but whose substance abuse does not necessitate intensive out-of-home treatment. 
Population Served / /
CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Daniel Lyga MSW, LCSW
Term Start May 2015

Dan has been in the role of Chief Executive Officer since 2015. He has oversight responsibility for the functioning of the organization. Dan is responsible for the provision of treatment and special education services in accordance with state and national standards. He has a more direct role in overseeing business services, personnel and fundraising. Dan is also the primary liaison between The Children’s Center and state elected officials as well as cognizant state agencies. Prior to his position as Chief Executive Officer, Dan functioned as the Agency’s Chief Operating Officer. 

Number of Full Time Staff 220
Number of Part Time Staff 22
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 4
Staff Retention Rate 99%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 111
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 96
Hispanic/Latino 16
Native American/American Indian 4
Other 13 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 105
Female 124
Unspecified 13
Former CEOs and Terms
Anthony DelMastro May 1999 - May
Senior Staff
Title Administrator of Community Services
Sarah joined The Children's Center in May 1991 as a Therapist and Intake Coordinator. She has since worked as a Program Director for both the Extended Day Treatment and Substance Abuse Treatment Departments. Sarah is currently the Administrator of Community Services. In this position she provides leadership to the Extended Day Treatment, crisis Stabilization Bed unit, New Choices and our 2 outpatient clinics. Additionally, Sarah co-chairs the agency safety Committee and is Chairperson of the Professional Staff Organization. She is also the Agency's HIPPA Privacy Officer. Sarah is an Approved Supervisor by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Title Administrator of Residential Programs
Cheryl joined The Children's Center in 1995 as Director of the Residential Treatment Program. In this capacity she was responsible for leading treatment teams in their work providing care and therapeutic services for 62 youth ranging in age from 8-18. In her current position as administrator for Residential Programs she oversees the Residential Treatment Program, Gate House Therapeutic Group Home, Kids Cottage Safe Home, and the START Program (Psychiatric Residential Treatment facility).
Title Administrator for Program Support Services
Todd joined The Children's Center in 1987. He has served the Agency in many capacities such as childcare worker, aftercare discharge coordinator, intake coordinator, clinical therapist, admissions, Director of Training and Recruitment and currently serves as Administrator for Program Support Services. He is responsible for the oversight and supervision of a range of services that provide direct support to the programs offered at The Children's Center. These include; Nursing Services, Recruitment and Training, Dietary Services, Agency Research, and Agency Childcare Scheduling and Overtime.
Title Chief Administrator of Financial Services
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Connecticut Association of Nonprofits2010
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce2010
United Way of Greater New Haven2010
Board Chair
Krista Hart
Company Affiliation Homemaker
Term June 2014 to June 2018
Board of Directors
Sharlene Adams Sales Executive
Elizabeth Bacon Retired
Stearns J. Bryant Jr.Attorney
John Caldarella Jr.Insurance Sales
Kent W. Crook Insurance Broker
John M. Cuozzo Jr.Real Estate Broker
Emily Fasano Design Consultant
Tina Garrity Community Volunteer
Claudia Grantham School Administrator
David Ladd Investment Advisor
Leonard Matteo Businessman
Susan Netter Business Owner
Christine Patella Recreational Therapist
Jane Tendler Retired - Human Resources
John Watts CPA
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Risk Management Provisions
Disability Insurance
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Business Income
Directors and Officers Policy
Employee Benefits Liability
Employment Practices Liability
General Property Coverage
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Professional Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2011
Fiscal Year End June 30 2012
Projected Revenue $17,275,522.00
Projected Expenses $17,242,432.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 5%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals ChartHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201020092008
Total Revenue$16,198,814$16,342,813$15,532,261
Total Expenses$16,611,899$16,331,374$15,546,210
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201020092008
Total Assets$5,290,875$5,810,098$5,778,537
Current Assets$2,692,783$2,875,201$2,570,678
Long-Term Liabilities$255,166$7,553$11,869
Current Liabilities$2,454,664$2,808,415$2,783,976
Total Net Assets$2,581,045$2,994,130$2,982,692
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201020092008
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountJohn Aksamit Revocable Trust $25,000State Department of Children & Family $9,070,859Department of Children and Families $8,497,939
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Medicaid $3,195,774Medicaid $3,033,018
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --SDE/LEA $3,175,584SDE/LEA $2,933,950
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 1400 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT 06517
Primary Phone 203 248-2116
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Daniel Lyga MSW, LCSW
Board Chair Krista Hart
Board Chair Company Affiliation Homemaker


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