About Us

NFI North, Inc. (NFI) is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation and individualized support services to children, youth, families, adults and seniors in a variety of settings. From high levels of clinical treatment, specialized academic programming, school and day programming, intensive residential services, in-home and individualized wraparound services. NFI’s continuum of services are visible throughout rural, suburban and urban communities across New Hampshire and Maine. NFI North, Inc., is a subsidiary of North American Family Institute, Inc., (NAFI/NFI) and was established as a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation in 1992.

NFI North has been providing key services for children, youth, families, adults and seniors within New Hampshire and Maine since the early 1990s. For more than two decades the organization has continually worked to develop small community-based services, using trauma-informed and evidence-informed approaches that are designed to meet the psychological, emotional, behavioral, and educational needs of individuals and their families.

Our strong organizational culture and longevity of our leadership team are key to our lasting success. NFI North has a diverse array of services with a focus on continued high-quality care. Best-practice research and program data collection is the cornerstone of our work. We believe every service should operate at their best and that all consumers must be in the drivers seat of their treatment and support. At a state and programmatic level, performance quality indicators are being tracked daily in order to provide statistical and measurable data upon which to make appropriate changes and improvements. NFI North has been accredited by the The Joint Commission (TJC) since 2010 and continues to practice the national gold seal standards of best practice.

NFI NORTH’s mission is to inspire and to empower people to achieve their full potential so they can live successfully in their own home and own community.

Rooted within all of our diverse scope of services and programs is our common core values and beliefs that everyone is social and seeks belonging and by creating opportunities for growth that are meaningful people will change. These are important tenants of our Normative Community Approach. This not a prescriptive model but rather a culmination of our basic assumptions and beliefs about helping others.

Our fundamental beliefs, values and assumptions are:

  • People can change
  • Empowerment of individuals in their own care
  • Respect and dignity must be maintained at all times
  • Education and skill building is essential for sustainable change
  • Recognize and honor each person’s unique strengths and needs
  • Engage, listen and respond to participants at all times
  • We strive for cultural and linguistic competence
  • An individualized, cultural and gender responsive, trauma informed and holistic approach to treatment
  • Community connections and a relational approach are key for long term success of youth, families and adults

Our Mission

For more than 40 years, NFI North has served as an indispensable resource for individuals with mental and behavioral health including children, adults, seniors, and families. NFI North provides an array of services across Maine and New Hampshire. The agency is an accredited, well-recognized, high-quality, nonprofit organization whose focus is on helping people help themselves. We accomplish this by providing specialized education, counseling, supported employment, care management, foster care, residential services, perinatal addiction services, as well as many other forms of care.

Our Culture & Beliefs


NFI North is committed to not only advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace but also in our work with the people we serve.  We know that children, families and young people can face inequity in child welfare and justice systems, so we empower our team members to make an impact on our organization and in our communities.  We foster a culture that is unconditionally inclusive and in return ask that our people contribute all their differing perspectives, ideas and experiences for one common purpose: to empower and inspire people to reach their full potential. NFI North is opposed to stigma, prejudice and racism in any of its forms and is committed to inclusion, equity and diversity. We believe that respect for each other is crucial in the work that we do each day


NFI North is an equal opportunity employer and provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.


North American Family Institute (NAFI/NFI) was founded by Dr. Yitzhak Bakal, who continues to serve as its president and chief executive officer. Dr. Bakal was inspired to launch the nonprofit after serving as Assistant Commissioner in charge of institutions for delinquent youth for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services in the early 1970s. In that role, he became one of the architects of the reform that created the closing of the state’s juvenile correctional facilities in favor of privatizing community-based alternatives. As a result, Massachusetts became the first state to embrace a non-institutionalized approach to care for children and youth that eventually spread across the nation.

After leaving DYS in 1974 Dr. Bakal launched NAFI/NFI (then called Northeastern Family Institute, Inc.), joining a small group of burgeoning nonprofits serving youth in the juvenile justice and mental health systems. He began with one contract, the Outreach and Tracking program in Malden, MA, which he operated out of his home. After its initial success, NFI continued to help meet the needs of this formerly institutionalized population by developing a foster care component. As the effort to privatize services for adjudicated delinquents grew, NAFI expanded its services to Vermont, followed by New Hampshire and several other states.

Today, NAFI/NFI operates numerous residential and community-based programs across nine states and the District of Columbia, continuing its mission of Creating Diverse and Innovative Services for People. The organization is comprised of five corporations; the parent corporation, North American Family Institute, Inc. (NAFI), NFI Massachusetts, Inc., NFI North, Inc., NFI Vermont, Inc. and NAFI Connecticut, Inc. Within the parent corporation (NAFI), there are three regions: NAFI New York, NAFI Rhode Island Network and the NAFI Southeast region, made up of our programming in Florida.
NAFI continues to grow and expand, developing continuums of care and services for youth, adolescents, families and adults at-risk. Under Dr. Bakal’s leadership, NAFI/NFI is also pioneering prevention and early intervention initiatives to help at-risk communities strengthen and thrive in struggling public housing developments and high crime neighborhoods.

On the Air with NFI North!

Recently, Executive Director, Paul Dann, PhD, and Chief Operating Officer, Karen Cusano, M. Ed., recorded an episode of the Reporter’s File at Townsquare Media. The episode aired on Sunday, March 31st at 6:00 am on WOKQ 97.5, The Peak 103.7, The Shark 102.1 and WHOM 94.9, but you can listen to it here!