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The Dianne DeVanna Center operates under a deep and abiding belief that children have a need for stability in their lives that includes love, nurturing, sense of security, and safety. Further, the Dianne DeVanna Center believes that most parents understand these needs and will do everything they can to meet them. However sometimes life gets complicated for many different reasons. The Dianne DeVanna Center knows that skillful help provided at the right time can make a profound difference in a child’s life.


The Dianne Devanna Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was founded in 1978 after the death of 11 year old Dianne DeVanna at the hands of her father and step-mother. The South Shore area was stunned and shocked by this tragic loss of the life of this young girl. It awakened the quiet South Shore area to the unfortunate reality that child abuse exists everywhere and that it takes a real community effort to make a difference.

Dianne DeVanna was buried in a simple unmarked grave. The South Shore area residents and businesses, in an effort to address the entire community’s sadness, responded by establishing a Memorial Committee to raise money to purchase a headstone to give her the dignity in death that she did not receive in life.  When a headstone was instead donated outright, the Committee decided to use the money that had been contributed to establish a lasting memorial to Dianne. The Dianne DeVanna Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was established to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and provide services to families. Since its founding, the DeVanna Center has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children through parenting support groups, mentor programs, direct parent aide support, public forums and education events. The DeVanna Center has grown over the years into a small but very effective provider of services to families.

In 2011, after determining that the small size of the agency made long term viability a difficult prospect, Janet LaBerge, President of the Dianne DeVanna Center Board of Directors, contacted Ken Tarabelli, CEO of Quincy-based human service organization Bay State Community Services, Inc. (BSCS). They spoke about the opportunities for synergy and possibility of the Dianne DeVanna Center becoming a program of BSCS.

The missions, services, and programmatic culture of the Dianne DeVanna Center and BSCS are very compatible. Both agencies recognize the primary importance of family, community, and a strength-based approach for delivering social services. BSCS is the area’s most comprehensive provider of child and family services and the activities of the DeVanna Center fit seamlessly into their continuum of care.

The merger of the DeVanna Center into BSCS became official as of June 29, 2012. Bay State Community Services is proud to join with the people of Braintree and the entire South Shore community to protect and strengthen the Dianne DeVanna Center’s mission of helping vulnerable children by promoting healthy families.

To learn more about Bay State Community Services, Inc. please visit their website: