Walker, Inc.

Innovations in Child & Family Services

aka Walker   |   Needham, MA   |


Walker transforms the lives of children and youth who are facing complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges by partnering with these children and youth, their families, and communities to nurture hope, build strengths, and develop lifelong skills.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Dr. Gene Takahashi , Ph.D., LICSW, MBA

Main address

1968 Central Avenue

Needham, MA 02492 USA

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Formerly known as

George H. and Irene L. Walker Home for Children, Inc.



NTEE code info

Group Home, Residential Treatment Facility - Mental Health Related (F33)

Specialized Education Institutions/Schools for Visually or Hearing Impaired, Learning Disabled (B28)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Residential Treatment Program

Walker's Residential Treatment Program is a nationally accredited, fully licensed, Chapter 766-approved, flexible, family-driven program specializing in safety, stabilization, assessment, and treatment for children between the ages of 5 and 14. Designed for children who struggle with complex challenges, this program helps children build social, emotional, and behavioral skill so they may ultimately live successfully with family.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Walker School is a Chapter 766-approved K-8 academic day program for children between the ages of 5 and 13 with complex behavioral, learning, and emotional challenges.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

We provide consulting (including strategic planning, evaluation, program development, staff training, and case consultation), practice innovation, and knowledge sharing for education and community organizations.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Walker's Community-Based Acute Treatment (CBAT) hospital-diversion program provides short-term emergency stabilization and support to children between the ages of 3 and 13 who are actively experiencing severe emotional crisis. CBAT is a community alternative to psychiatric hospitalization where family involvement is strongly encouraged in order to support the children in the most effective way possible. CBAT serves children as young as 3 years old.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

A Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved private special education school, the Walker Beacon School is a coeducational therapeutic middle and high school program for students with mental health, social, and emotional challenges. Walker Beacon provides an integrated academic and therapeutic program to 65 students between the ages of 12 and 22. Throughout the school day, students benefit from comprehensive clinical services provided by experienced clinicians who are trained in a series of evidence-based practices, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused Therapy.

Population(s) Served

The Ain Group Home is an Intensive Group Home (1:3), coeducational program for children ages 5 to 13 and their families. As an Intensive Group Home, the Ain Group Home provides a safe, structured, home-like living environment. While on-site, children receive comprehensive treatment that includes clinical services, health services, psychiatric consultation, occupational therapy, educational support, milieu therapy, and case management. Outside of the residence, children participate fully in the community by attending community-based schools, camps, extracurricular activities, and social and recreational events.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Walker Community Counseling provides support to make positive life changes in a safe and comfortable environment. Practitioners utilize an ecological approach that addresses individual, family, environmental and community factors. Walker Community Counseling includes clinical social workers, mental health counselors, master level clinical interns, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse prescribers. Walker Community Counseling practitioners are trained in the application of a variety evidence-based practices to diagnose and treat behavior challenges, emotional issues, trauma, and other complex mental health needs.

Population(s) Served

In-Home Therapy (IHT) is available to MassHealth youth up to the age of 21 who require more intense support and services than can be provided by traditional outpatient therapy. IHT is a structured, consistent, strength-based therapeutic relationship between a Master level clinician and the youth and family for the purpose of treating the youth’s behavioral health needs. IHT can be delivered in a one or two person team which means that for some families, there may be also be a Bachelor level Therapeutic Training and Support (TT&S) staff member who works closely with the clinician and family to assist in various interventions and building child competencies. IHT supports the whole family which includes parents, caregivers, siblings, and others who care for the youth. Interventions may include expanding the family social support network, crisis management, and communication skill development.

Population(s) Served

Therapeutic Mentoring (TM) Services are provided to MassHealth youth up to the age of 21 in any setting where the youth resides, such as home (including foster homes), and in other community settings such as school, child care centers, or respite settings. TM offers structured, one to one strength-based support services between a therapeutic mentor and a youth for the purpose of addressing daily living, social, and communication needs. TM services include supporting, coaching, and training the youth in age appropriate behaviors, interpersonal communication problem-solving, and conflict resolution. TM promotes a youth’s success in navigating various social contexts, learning new skills, and making progress in the community. TM is a “Hub-Dependent” service which means for a youth to access TM services, the referral must be made by an Outpatient Therapist, In-Home Therapist, or Intensive Care Coordinator.

Population(s) Served

The Walker Therapeutic After-School Program (TASP) is a clinically intensive, therapeutic milieu program with psychoeducational and structured recreational group activities tailored to the clinical needs of the specific youth enrolled. Walker TASP offers comprehensive assessments, individualized action plans, and individualized action plan updates; case management and coordination; group therapy; psychoeducational groups; recreational groups; positive behavioral support; family engagement; and discharge and transition planning.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The children and families in our programs are from diverse race, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Our Needham and Watertown campuses are co-ed and have an equal distribution and ratio of boys and girls. On our Needham campus, we serve approximately 260 children ages 3-13 and on our Watertown campus, we serve 60 adolescents, ages 14-22.

The children at Walker generally have experienced many placement failures in schools and/or home settings, have been turned down by other programs, and have not been able to succeed in less structured environments. Some of the children have experienced a major crisis and enter into our Intensive Community Based Program (ICBAT), an alternative to in-patient psychiatric hospitalization. Other children come to us with repeated adoptive failures, removal from their homes, or with histories of abuse and neglect. Our children have average to above average cognitive abilities in conjunction with substantial learning disabilities. They often have behavioral challenges with multiple psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD, Mood Disorders, PTSD, and Autism.

Through our comprehensive programing, our goal support our children and families through direct educational and clinical services and also indirectly by sharing our expertise through onsite and offsite trainings for professionals to enhance their work with at-risk youth and families.

Walker meets the needs of children, fmailies and professional by delivineg comprehensive progmring across two campuses. Walker’s Needham campus served more than 320 children, ages 3-13, with the following academic, clinical, and residential services:

•The Walker School - a therapeutic K-8 day school approved by the MA Department of Education offers a frameworks-based curriculum with integrated clinical, psychiatric, occupational therapy, and speech/language services.
•Residential Treatment Program - a 24-hour residential setting for children who require therapeutic treatment while attending The Walker School.
•Intensive Community Based Acute Treatment Program (ICBAT) - a 16-bed program for assessment and emergency stabilization of children in acute psychiatric crisis.
•Stepping Stones – a program for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum and are dealing with complex issues that impact their social and academic growth.
•Therapeutic After School and Summer Programs – recreational programs during after school hours designed to support children with supervised care.
•Respite Program – Walker’s campus-based planned or emergency respite services provide children with structured and therapeutic recreational activities, revitalizes families, and enables caregivers to take better care of their children at home.

Beacon High School, located on our Watertown Campus is a co-educational, therapeutic, alternative school for adolescents, ages 14-22, from the Greater Boston area. This year, we served 77 students and their families.

Walker’s community programs are designed to enable children and adolescents to function successfully while living in their own community. Programs include:

•Walker Partnerships - a program bringing educational/therapeutic services to over 65 school districts.
•Family and Community Integration Services (FCIS) - a program that provides services to high risk children/families in their homes.

Walker Partnerships support children and families through direct and indirect services which include: case consultations, direct student services/support, professional development, and program evaluations.

Our vision is to build on past success while looking to the future where strong leadership within the agency and dedicated staff will push the boundaries of our work to expand and improve the agency’s model of services. During a one year period we have:

•Strengthened our administration and program departments.
•Enhanced revenue sources through a variety of events such as our golf tournament, Walker 5K Run, gala event, and our Annual Fund.
•Increased corporate donations/sponsorships.
•Created a formal 3 year strategic plan to grow and sustain a solid funding base.

As one of the largest child special education and mental health organizations in the State of Massachusetts, Walker continues to expand to meet the increased demands for our programs.

This past year, we serve approximately 2,000 children, youth, and families through our educational and therapeutic programs with an additional 18,000 impacted by professional development and consultations in over 65 public school districts. Most of our clients come from Eastern Massachusetts, although we do draw clients from across the Commonwealth.

During 2012-13, through our Walker Partnerships, we conducted:

•Individual consultations for professionals and parents of 200 students.
•Direct student services/support for approximately 400 students.
•700 staff trainings with approximately 16,100 students benefiting from Walker’s programming.
•District-wide or program specific evaluations, benefiting approximately 16,085 special needs students.


Walker, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Walker, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/02/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Jake Layton

LMCG Investments

Term: 2018 -

John R. Layton, CFA

Managing Director, LMCG Investments

Jason H. Jenkins

Intex Solutions, Inc.

Erna Schwartz Place, PhD

Clinical Psychologist/Consultant

Sonya Hamori

Human Resources and General Management Consultation

Lillian Sober Ain, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diana Manchester Barrett, MSW, MBA

Consultant, Diversity and Equity

Sharon Carleton, RN

Community Volunteer & Philanthropic Boards

Daniel H. Gorton, MSW

Diane Hardin

The Onstott Group

Michael P. McArdle

Bain Capital

Michael B. Moskow

Moskow Group

Rosa Nicolazzo-Diamond

Wendy W. Paul, MSHA

Community Volunteer, Non-profit Boards

Daniel S. Relihan

Intex Solutions, Inc.

Shimna Sameer

Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Gayl Crump Swaby, EdD

Springfield College

Steven M. Tannenbaum

Greenwood Investments, Inc.

J. Linzee Coolidge

Director Emeritus

David White

Director Emeritus

Anne A. Wolf

Director Emeritus

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/2/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/02/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.