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Our Mission


Inspiring and empowering people to reach their full potential and live successfully in their community.

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 and 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.

Our History

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), 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 eight states, continuing its mission of Creating Diverse and Innovative Services for People. The organization is comprised of four corporations; the parent corporation, North American Family Institute (NAFI), NFI Massachusetts, NFI North, NFI Vermont, and NAFI Connecticut, Rhode Island & NY.

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.

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