Coronavirus Updates

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Friends:

As we enter the second month of the impacts of the COVID-19 Coronavirus on our community I hope this message finds you healthy and doing well. This pandemic has already caused much pain and suffering in our community and around the globe.

Thanks to all of you, the work of Children’s Friend continues. We are working to support our most vulnerable children and families through this crisis. As with most disasters, those most vulnerable feel the negative impacts first and most harshly.

How we do our work, and how we live everyday has changed dramatically in the past month. Despite all of the changes and uncertainty, I am pleased to report that with your support, the work of Children’s Friend continues. Here are a few examples of your amazing work in these trying times:

  1. Two dozen staff have been working on-site every day at Friendship and Dexter throughout the crisis to ensure over 6,000 WIC families have access to food checks, in a safe way.
  2. Dozens of our staff have volunteered to provide emergency child care services to the children of health care workers.
  3. Teaching and learning activities for our kids continue in new and innovative ways.
  4. Over 200 of you gave generously to support our work through 401Gives and the Friendship Foundation’s generous matching grant. If you haven’t given yet and are able to give something, please click here to support the work of Children’s Friend at this time.
  5. Led by a $50,000 grant from the RI Foundation/United Way COVID-19 Response Fund, our philanthropic community has rallied to keep our work going.
  6. Because of your amazing support all of our staff continue to work supporting our kids and families on-site, at-home, on the phone, or through virtual technology.
  7. Home visits continue to keep us in touch with families, stay connected, and provide support mostly through the use of technology.
  8. In response to the growing number of families lacking food, our long-time partner, Panera Bread, is delivering 100 meals per day to us, and our staff are getting those meals to families in need every single day.

Many of you are aware of the rich history of Children’s Friend. As we face this pandemic together, I want to share a very relevant piece of our history with you.

When Children’s Friend was founded back in 1834, the world was dealing with a cholera pandemic.

Following is a quote from our founder Harriet Ware writing to her siblings about the pandemic. “You, probably, may know something of the agitation that has prevailed here in relation to the cholera. We are expecting it every hour, and have been so for weeks or months. I have had thoughts of suspending my school, but I have submitted to the advice of those who are best acquainted with the circumstances, and all agree that it is important to continue the school until it may be broken up by the pestilence. I have never thought of fleeing to save my life, for no angel has been commissioned to inform me to what mountain I might fly and be secure.”

Just as Harriet Ware did not flee to the mountains, neither have you, as evidenced by the above list of accomplishments.

Thank you for being part of the Children’s Friend Family. Together we will get through this.

Stay safe and stay connected with us on social media.


David Caprio,
President and Chief Executive Officer

Monday, March 16, 2020

There continue to be rapid developments related to guidelines to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in our area. Children’s Friend is doing our best to stay on top of these latest developments and take appropriate action.

  1. Effective Tuesday, March 17th, Althea Street, and Dean sites are closed until further notice.
  2. At this time, Berkshire, Carter, Dexter, Friendship, Hartford, Independence Square, and Summer Street remain open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  3.  To accommodate WIC services, Hartford and Dexter sites will extend hours to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Friendship and Independence Square sites will extend hours to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.
  4. Effective Tuesday, March 17th, we are limiting the number of visitors to our sites in observance of social distance protocol, and suspending the acceptance of clothing and household supplies.

Thank you for your continued support of our most vulnerable children and families.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Per today’s request of the Governor, all classes at Children’s Friend are canceled from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This updated closing includes Child Care and Full Day Full Year classes, in addition to Pre-K and Head Start.

The following Children’s Friend sites will be open at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 16th: Althea, Berkshire, Carter, Dean, Dexter, Friendship, Hartford, Independence Square, and Summer.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear members of our Children’s Friend family,

In these unsettling and rapidly changing times, I wanted to provide you with an update on the additional steps Children’s Friend is taking in response to the Coronavirus – 2019 (COVID-19):

  1. In accordance with the direction given to the public schools, our Head Start (4-hour and 6-hour) classes and Pre-K classes are canceled from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th.
  2. Following the request of the Governor, child care and full-day full-year classes will remain open according to their usual schedule.
  3. Children’s Friend operations at Manton, Varone, Heritage Park, Dorcas, Baldwin, and Kizirian are suspended from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th.
  4. All children, families, visitors, and staff are being screened to ensure they are not sick and that they have not been out of the country in the past 14 days before they are allowed to enter a site and before a home visit is conducted.

As this situation continues to develop, we will take additional steps to best protect our children, families, staff, and the community overall.

Thank you for your support of our work, and let’s support each other through these trying times.

Be Safe,

David Caprio
President and Chief Executive Officer

With the continued spread of the Coronavirus throughout the world and in Rhode Island, Children’s Friend is proactively taking steps to help prevent the introduction and spread of Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) among our staff, children, and families, including:

  • The creation of an internal Coronavirus Task Force to gather information and offer guidance
  • Increased cleaning and maintenance at all sites
  • The distribution of preventative supplies to all staff and centers
  • Tracking of travel for our staff and families to determine if any special procedures are needed
  • Limiting business travel involving flying or overnight stays for staff until further notice
  • Regular communication with our staff and families as the situation changes
  • Following the instructions and advice of local and national public health officials

The health and well-being of our children, families, and staff is our top priority. We urge our staff and families to stay informed of this developing situation. The Rhode Island Department of Health ( and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ( provide up-to-date information about prevention, symptoms, testing, and the current situation. We will keep you updated as guidance and recommendations are released.