Our History

Wayside’s story began in 1977 when a group of citizens formed one of the first residences in New England for runaway and homeless youth—Harbinger House. As the need for alternatives to orphanages, reform schools, and psychiatric hospitals grew, Wayside responded by expanding to include an array of services which support youth and families in their community.


Over the years, the Wayside network has incorporated a number of long-standing, local community organizations.  They share Wayside’s commitment to helping the children and families of the region, complementing Wayside’s overall spectrum of care.  Today, Wayside is one of Massachusetts’ most respected child and family serving agencies.

Wayside Timeline



Framingham Youth Guidance Clinic opens on Lincoln Street in Framingham to provide counseling services to children. It is later renamed Metro West Mental Health Center and in 1997 joins Wayside, becoming the cornerstone of Wayside’s Family Counseling Services.



Milford Assistance Program opens to serve youth and adults at risk of substance abuse. It merges with Blackstone Valley Youth Guidance Center in 1985 and joins Wayside in 1997 as Wayside Community Counseling Center.



Pearl Street House opens in Framingham as a group home for troubled teens.



Harbinger House Inc. is incorporated in Massachusetts as a non-profit corporation and corporate predecessor of Wayside Youth & Family Support Network. Other programs and agencies are subsequently brought under Wayside’s umbrella. Harbinger House opens in Framingham as MetroWest’s first emergency shelter for teens.



The Board of Directors of Pearl Street House and Harbinger House merge to Wayside Community programs, Inc. which is later renamed Wayside Youth & Family Support Network.



The HomeBase program is started at Beaverbrook Counseling Center in Waltham to help families in crisis.



Wayside opens FamilyWorks in Framingham, a family preservation and reunification program.



Wayside is awarded a new DMH contract for Twelve Prescott, a transitional residential program for young adults located in Arlington.



Blackstone Valley Rape Crisis Team, which first operated in a local church in 1981, joins Wayside via merger and joins with Assabet Valley Rape Crisis, and changed its name to Wayside Trauma Intervention Services.



Wayside merges with Children’s Behavioral Heath Care, the parent company of Beaverbrook Guidance Clinic, and Watertown Multi-Service Center. Its largest program HomeBase/Take Charge is the major service provider for DCF and DMH in the area.



Wayside expands its outpatient counseling services to include MetroWest Mental Health Center and Community Counseling Center of Blackstone Valley. As a result, Wayside now operates counseling centers in the towns of Framingham and Milford in addition to the sites already operating in Waltham and Watertown.



Wayside Youth & Family Support Network is officially accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), the internationally recognized accreditor of child welfare and social service organizations.



Shortstop Inc., a Somerville-based agency providing residential services to homeless youth, merges with Wayside.



Wayside purchases 14 acres of land in Framingham, the site of the future Wayside Campus.



Wayside is selected as the Family Network Lead Agency by DCF in Arlington, Framingham, Malden, South Central (Blackstone Valley), and Worcester East.



Wayside celebrates 30 years of service with a fundraising Gala attended by over 250 supporters and friends.

Wayside wins two court cases and receives the necessary permits to move ahead with its long-standing plans to build a campus for its residential and day programs. A groundbreaking ceremony is held at the Lockland Avenue site in Framingham.

Tempo, a community collaboration funded by the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, opens in Framingham to provide career development and employment support for young adults with mental health conditions.



The Wayside Campus opens with six residential townhomes serving 12 teens each, Wayside Academy a chapter 766 special education school, and Wayside Day Center, a psychiatric day treatment and partial hospitalization program.

Wayside is selected as the Community Service Agency under the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) in Framingham. Wayside is also approved to provide CBHI services of Mobile Crisis Intervention (MCI), In Home Therapy, and Therapeutic Mentoring.