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5th Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence







Police Chief Dean Esserman Receives the Richard Manware Award at Spring Event



At its annual signature fundraising event on May 7, 2015, Family Centered Services of CT honored New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman with the Richard Manware Award. The events theme was Opening Doors, because so much of what happens to abuse victims - child and adult - happens behind closed doors, and it is hoped that the event will raise awareness and make more prevention and treatment services available. Family CT Executive Director Cheryl Burack explained further, however: "The Chief has opened the doors of the police station to the community, inviting agencies like Family CT to work collaboratively with the police. Thanks to the Chief's innovation, we actually have an office at the police station so that we are available, on the spot, to serve survivors of child abuse and domestic violence at a time when they need help the most." In inspirational remarks, the Chief told the audience of over 100 community members that the job of the police is about more than law enforcement, and they must partner with social workers and other community-based providers for the welfare of the City. The award was presented by Tomas Reyes, Chief of Staff to Mayor Toni Harp, who offered a proclamation in honor of Chief Esserman.


The award is named after Richard Manware, a respected member of the Family CT Board of Directors until his sudden death in 1998. Family CT established the Richard Manware Award in his honor to recognize individuals whose community involvement and leadership has forwarded the mission of Family CT and its work to prevent abuse, neglect and victimization across the lifespan. Rich's widow Marcy Manware was in the audience.




15th Annual Real Ale Festival Benefits Family CT


The 15th Annual Connecticut Real Ale festival, Connecticut’s premier cask Ale event was held on Sunday January 25, 2015 at the Bru Rm BAR on Crown Street in New Haven.  Hosted by Jeff Browning, Head Brewer, over 40 Connecticut breweries and beyond participated.  The event, which has raised over $65,000 in the past 15 years, once again benefited Family Centered Services of CT and New Haven Reads. 


The Festival has always supported local children's charities, thanks to the commitment of BAR and brewmaster Jeff Browning. In 2010, Mr. Browning received the Champion Partners Award, given by Family CT to celebrate his commitment to New Haven's children and families. 


Above, Family CT Development Officer Sue D'Orvilliers and Jeff Browning.



145 Families 'Adopted' for the Holidays


Thanks to our generous community of donors, 145 families had a once-in-a-lifetime experience when they were 'adopted' for the holidays, receiving gifts from their wish lists and learning that hopes do come true. The Adopt A Family program does not focus on the commercial but is about sending a message to young children that they are valued and cared for. It is about helping them to go back to school and share holiday stories like all their classmates. Thank you to the many generous donors who made this possible.


15th Annual Real Ale Festival to benefit Family CT


The 15th Annual Real Ale Festival sponsored by BAR Restaurant in New Haven will once again benefit children's charities including Family Centered Services of CT, Inc. The event will take place at BAR on January 25. Tickets are $45 and include entry, collector’s glass and two 5 oz. samples and two slices of pizza. Additional samples $1 each. The Festival has always supported local children's charities, thanks to the commitment of BAR and brewmaster Jeff Browning. In 2010, Mr. Browning received the Champion Partners Award, given by Family CT to celebrate his commitment to New Haven's children and families. For tickets or more information go to



Our Food Bank is stocked again


The students and faculty at Southern CT State University once again ran a campus-wide food drive for the families at Family CT, collecting 407 boxes of food. This will hopefully be enough food to feed families throughout the year. SCSU has been a long-time friend of Family CT and we have come to count on their annual "adopt a family" food drive.





Thank you to the New Haven Angels

at Gateway Community College!


The New Haven Angels have been working to make life better for children and families at Family Centered Services of CT. They have helped to stock our food bank (our shelves were bare) and held two fundraisers to benefit Family CT and its program services. Thank you also to Buffalo Wild Wings on Church Street in New Haven, and Chili's in East Haven, for participating in these efforts.


The New Haven Angels believe that children, regardless of age, race, sex, creed, social or economic status should live in a safe and flourishing community in which they have an opportunity to be successful. Their focus is to affect change in the city of New Haven, CT. by assisting local agencies in providing resources that will improve the quality of life for New Haven residents. They believe that children in New Haven should have a sense of pride, a sense of value, and a sense of belonging in their community. As New Haven Angels, GCC, they strive to enrich the lives of the total community by establishing partnerships with local agencies and business to maximize resources for distribution for our cause.


Their work is consistent with Family CT's mission to help families become safe and nurturing places where children can succeed. Thank you, New Haven Angels of Gateway Community College, for your compassion and community activism.


You Braved the Rain to Walk Against Domestic Violence...One Step at a Time


Over 100 people came out on Saturday, October 4 to participate in Family CT's annual Walk Against Domestic Violence. Held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Walk is a way to raise awareness about domestic violence and to celebrate survivors. The rain did not deter the many community and family members who felt that their presence would support the cause - and it did! Doreen (pseudonym) spoke from the heart when she told her story of resiliency and hope and described why she stayed. " I stayed because I loved him, I really did" she said. "I stayed because he had rescued me and I felt I just couldn’t leave him when he needed me to be there for him when he was “stressed”. I stayed because I was his good African wife and I didn’t want to become bad. I stayed because I didn’t want to face the shame of a failed marriage. I stayed because marriage is hard, and you have to work hard to fix it.  I stayed till I could stay no more..." Click to read more of Doreen's story.


Vanessa Stevens, singer/songwriter, survivor and founder of The Purple Song Project also inspired the crowd, first with her own story and then with her music. Family CT Chairperson of the Board Pamela Matocha said " The women spoke with confidence as they shared their stories.  They are brave beyond belief, not only to leave an abusive relationship, but to also get up in front of an audience and share their experience of how they ended up in an abusive relationship – why they thought they couldn’t get out – and how they finally were able to leave."

Family CT is committed to fostering hope and help to survivors of domestic abuse and empowering these individuals to heal and thrive. Family CT’s mission is to work with families to ensure that they are safe and nurturing places where children can succeed.

To make a donation, you can still go to The Walk is always held the first Saturday in October. See you in 2015!



Family-Based Recovery is One Year Old!



The Family-Based Recovery Program (FBR) at Family Centered Services of CT, Inc. celebrates its first anniversary July 2014. The FBR program was Family CT's first experience in pairing reinforcement based therapy to treat parental substance abuse with parent-child psychotherapy, to improve secure attachment. Its purpose is to ensure that children ages birth-three develop optimally in drug-free, safe and stable homes with their parents. After some time in the program, JO says FBR helped her to take the first steps toward completing goals she didn't have the initiative to start earlier. For more info, see



Teen Outreach Students Volunteer at New Haven's

Davenport Children's Community Garden


Grade 8 students in the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) spent a Saturday with other community volunteers to weed, rake and prepare the Davenport Children's Community Garden for planting. The garden cleanup was organized by the United Way of Greater New Haven as part of their Hands-On Saturday. The TOP students are not new to volunteering: Each of them must complete 20 hours of service learning during the academic year. Program Facilitators Barbara Osahon and Cassandra Nonossi explain that the work "gives the students a sense of purpose, a feeling that they can make a difference in their community." "If they see the work it takes to keep this garden clean, they might be more likely to keep their own neighborhood clen, and that could help them in thinking about keeping the environment clean in general." To read the entire story, go to



Family CT Awards Judge John T. Downey the


Richard Manware Humanitarian Award


Note: November 21, 2014 - We were saddened to learn of the death of Judge Downey


On May 2, 2014, Family Centered Services of CT, Inc. honored Judge John T. Downey with the Richard Manware Humanitarian Award. Over 170 friends and supporters rose in a standing ovation for a man who has had an incredible life, earning the trust and respect of Connecticut's judicial and child welfare community.


After his graduation from Yale University, John Downey entered the Central Intelligence Agency and was sent to the Far East.  On November 29, 1952, while on a flight over Northeast China, his aircraft was shot down. Downey and Richard Fecteau were captured by the Chinese.  Downey was tried and sentenced to life in prison.  Through the efforts of President Richard M. Nixon, Downey was released in March 1973, having served 20 years and three months.


On his return to the United States, Downey entered the Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 1976.Downey has spent much of his judicial career in Juvenile Matters, serving as Presiding Judge of the New Haven Juvenile Matters Court.  In 1990, he was named Chief Administrative Judge for Connecticut’s Juvenile Matters Courts, serving until his retirement in 1997. 


In September 2002, the Connecticut Judicial Branch re-named the New Haven Juvenile Matters Courthouse, the John T. Downey Courthouse.

The Central Intelligence Agency has awarded Downey its Distinguished Intelligence Medal, its Medal for Distinguished Service and the Director’s Medal.

Judge Downey lives in Wallingford with his wife, Audrey Lee and son, John Lee Downey, Wwesleyan '02.

Family CT has named the Richard Manware Humanitarian Award in memory of its much loved Board member Richard Manware, who died before his time after contributing much to the community.


Family CT to honor Judge John T. Downey with

the Richard Manware Humanitarian Award


Family CT is pleased to honor Judge John T. Downey on Thursday, May 1, 2014 for his work on behalf of children and families. Judge Downey survived 20 years of captivity after being shot down on a mission over the People’s Republic of China. He returned to civilian life, ultimately becoming Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile Matters in New Haven. The New Haven Juvenile Matters and Detention Center has been named for him. The Connecticut Bar Association has honored Judge Downey with its highest honor for a judge, the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award, for his outstanding contributions to the judicial field in Connecticut.


The Richard Manware Humanitarian Award is given to an individual who has impacted the child welfare field. It will be presented at Family CT's annual signature event, a cocktail party at Amarante's Sea Cliff on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $50/pp and include hors d'oevres and open bar. A Silent Auction will be held to further support Family CT's child abuse prevention and family strengthening work. Tickets may be purchased here or send your payment to Manware Event, Family Centered Services of CT, 235 Nicoll Street, New Haven, CT 06511.


2014 Richard Manware Humanitarian Award Sponsors








Yale-New Haven Hospital


Jury Sponsor



Community Foundation of Greater New Haven


Esquire Sponsor


Advanced Office Systems


Biller, Sachs, Raio & Zito