Who We Are

Our Mission

The Centers is committed to meeting the unique and evolving needs of individuals by providing comprehensive, integrated care that promotes physical, emotional, and social wellness for all.

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serving arkansans since 1884

Meeting the Unique and Evolving Needs of Our Community

More About Us

We are a private, 501c3 non-profit mental and behavioral health provider with locations in Little Rock and Monticello. Our programs address typical concerns that individuals today encounter along with serving specific populations such as socially and emotionally challenged and at-risk youth, runaway youth, foster children and families, victims of human trafficking, and adults suffering from a variety of mental and behavioral challenges.

Life is not picture perfect. Traumatic events may cause emotional and social challenges that make life seem impossible for you, your child or family. We are here to help.


Our Trauma Informed Care Approach

Trauma Informed Care is a treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma Informed Care emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for individuals and helps them rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

The Centers for Youth & Families is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

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We're here for you 24/7. Call us today: (501) 666-8686
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the foundation on which our mission is built

Our Core Values


At The Centers, we are a family for families. We work together as a team to provide support to each other and to the families we serve.


We believe each person is worthy of courtesy, politeness and kindness. We openly show our appreciation to our clients and colleagues.


We are professional and honest in our working relationships. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest ethical and performance standards. We do the right thing.


For over 137 years, we have remained steadfast to our focus on the quality care of children and families. This sustained passion drives us toward continued improvement in the services we deliver.


We give people and families confidence to lead socially and emotionally healthy lives.

what our clients say:

"Centers is life changing. It CAN change your life." –Client B.

Our History

Originally Children’s Aid Society, Centers for Youth & Families (“The Centers”) was founded as an orphanage in 1884 by Elizabeth Latta Mitchell and is the oldest continuously operating not-for-profit in Arkansas today. Elizabeth’s passion for caring for those in her community has remained the focus of our organization throughout the past 137 years.


Our Board of Directors

Melissa Dawson

President / Chief Executive Officer
The Centers

Barry Simon

DataMax Office Systems

Suzanne McCarthy

Past Chair, Community Volunteer

John Neumeier

Practice Plus

Mark Allison

Dover Dixon Horne, PLLC

Chad May

Armor Bank

Matt Buchanan

Foundation Board of Trustees Chair
Bank Ozk

Peyton Bishop

Community Volunteer

Jo Evelyn Elston

Little Rock School District

Rick Fleetwood

Community Volunteer

Brooke Montgomery, PhD, M.P.H.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Don Pfeifer

Community Volunteer

Kim Stafford

Essick Air Products, Inc.

Craig Wilson

Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
Who We Are

Our Executive Leadership

Melissa Dawson

President/Chief Executive Officer

Barbara McCrory

Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Services Officer

David Kuchinski

LCSW, Chief Clinical Officer

Kelly Hair, MD

Medical Director – Adults

John Schay, MD

Medical Director – Children and Adolescents

Zarina Shah, MD

Medical Director – Children & Adolescents

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