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About NAFI

The North American Family Institute (NAFI/NFI) was built upon our belief in the power of community to unite, grow and transform individuals into their best selves.

Who We Are

NAFI/NFI is a parent corporation overseeing four subsidiary corporations that are united by our mission to create diverse and innovative opportunities for children, families and adults to heal and grow. Key to the agency’s decades of success is the common thread of its core values, honored through its adaptive therapeutic and management system called the Normative Community Approach. The methodologies have consistently proved effective at empowering staff and clients to form healing communities of support.

Our Leadership Announcements

Philosophy & Approach

From its inception, NAFI/NFI was built upon a set of core values that remain central to our ongoing operations. The agency’s longevity and continued relevance can be attributed to our dedication to the beliefs that:

  • People can change
  • All people deserve to live in a stigma free environment
  • Given a supportive environment, tools and opportunities for success, all people can become positive, pro-active community members
  • Community can be a powerful source of healing and growth


Our History

North American Family Institute (NAFI/NFI) was founded by Dr. Yitzhak Bakal in 1974. The years leading up to its creation had been tumultuous in Massachusetts. Adjudicated delinquent youth were being warehoused in antiquated institutions, far from their families and with minimal care. These abusive practices came to the attention of the Department of Justice, which led to a call for major restructuring. Dr. Bakal became a key architect in a group of reformers who closed the state's draconian reform schools. 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.

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