The Center for Family Justice, Inc.

aka The Center for Family Justice   |   Bridgeport, CT   |


We are Connecticut's First Family Justice Center offering streamlined and free confidential crisis services to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse in one safe location. As an FJC we work closely with police, prosecutors, civil/legal service providers and and community-based advocates to provide a coordinated, collaborative response that saves lives and empowers victims to become self-sufficient survivors.

In addition we provide community-based education and training to create the social change that is critical to break the cycle of violence.

We help men, women and children and their family members--of any age, race, religion and gender, impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault and child abuse in the communities of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Mrs. Debra A. Greenwood

Main address

753 Fairfield Ave.

Bridgeport, CT 06604 USA

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Formerly known as


The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County, Inc.



NTEE code info

Family Violence Shelters and Services (P43)

Rape Victim Services (F42)

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Domestic and sexual violence, as well as child abuse, have devastating consequences for the health and well-being of those impacted as well as society. Current data suggests that one in three women and one in nine men will be impacted by intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women. In terms of sexual violence, RAINN estimates that one out of six women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Every 98 seconds in this country, an act of sexual violence occurs. Too many victims of sexual abuse and violence are young children, who must suffer with the pain and trauma for a lifetime. At The Center for Family Justice, we use a community-based, comprehensive approach to breaking the cycles of domestic and sexual violence in the six communities we serve. In addition to serving victims and survivors in crisis we also have a number of programs which promote self-sufficiency and address trauma.

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?

Crisis and Housing Services

Crisis intervention seeks to provide timely interventions to ensure the safety and well-being of victims at risk of serious injury or death at the hands of an abusive partner: Safe House for battered women/children – refuge and case management for safety, self-sufficiency and transition; 24/7 emergency domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines (2) for crisis response, safety assessment and internal and external agency referral.
Emergency and Transitional Housing for Women and Children: CFJ provides emergency shelter in its Safe House (Kathie’s Place) for women and children needing immediate refuge from an abusive situation for up to six months; Transitional housing for up to two years is provided at Paul’s Place where women and their children live in individual apartments while continuing to receive the full range of services provided by The Center; Intensive case management to assist women in returning to the community through goal-setting and service coordination with community agency partners to build self-sufficiency, prepare women for employment, increase access to education, and improve financial literacy and personal financial management skills.

Population(s) Served
Family relationships
Sexual identity
Age groups
Social and economic status
Work status and occupations

Family Strengthening Services is a coordinated response to all survivors in need of domestic violence and sexual assault services. The clients involved with this program receive domestic and sexual violence Advocacy case management, Family counseling and self-sufficiency activities. Advocates provide 6-12 individual psycho-educational counseling sessions to help survivors work through their crisis, understand the cycle of violence, and to develop a plan for their safety. When the Department of Children and Families identifies barriers to healthy parenting, and child safety is at risk, The Center’s Case Manager worked with those identified families providing intensive and longer-term services, education, and support to reduce incidences of violence, strengthen parenting skills, and create family stability. This unique program also offers a batterer intervention component to better monitor and uphold child and family safety. The collaboration allows The Center enhanced access and communication with batterer treatment services, thereby extending its continuum of care to improve family safety.

Population(s) Served

The Center for Family Justice’s Community Education & Violence Prevention Program (CEVP) was established in 2004 and is dedicated to stopping domestic and sexual violence by:
• Educating pre-school children, school-aged children, youth and adults
• Raising awareness and empowering communities
• Targeting men and youth in the prevention of violence against women and girls
• Using the Social Ecological Model that targets individuals, their relationships with others, community environment/climates, and societal norms.

Short Term:
• Increase awareness amongst pre-school and school-aged children, youth, high-risk youth, and the adult public about the effects of family/intimate and sexual violence and prevention strategies
• Increase professionals’ capacity to provide effective and sensitive services and interventions for victims of family/intimate violence and sexual violence
• Increase the capacity of the community to identify resources
• Develop ground work for policy change
Medium Term:
• Effectively influence school policies regarding domestic and sexual violence education
Long Term:
• Change decision making systems around policy development and training

Program Design:


A. Primary Prevention Education reduces violence before it occurs by introducing new values, thinking processes, and relationship skills that are incompatible with violence and that promote healthy, non-violent relationships.
• Targets primarily preschool and K-8 grade schools for age-specific education for students and parents
• Increase multi-session presentations versus single-session presentations for improved impact
• Train professionals working with victims and who can transmit skills and knowledge to others
• Engage community collaboration to reduce domestic and sexual violence

Pre-school children: Interactive 45 minute sessions encouraging empathy development and positive social skills. Teachers are provided with tools including stickers, bookmarks and coloring pages to be able to continue the discussions with the children. Topics include: Hands are Not for Hitting, Have You Filled Your Bucket Today and The Trouble with Teasing.

School-aged children and youth: Curricula are single and multiple sessions and delivered in various settings (schools, after-school programs, other peer groups,) Age-appropriate topics assist students in developing healthy, assertive communication skills for safe conflict resolution and include Dating Violence Prevention, Healthy Relationships, Bullying Prevention, Boundaries, Conflict Resolution, Internet Safety, Cyber bullying prevention, Sexual Harassment Prevention, Safe/Unsafe Touch, Media Violence, Consent, and Gender Role Stereotypes and more topics related to violence prevention.

Population(s) Served

The Center has dedicated the past 20 years of its120 year history to the sole mission of eliminating domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in the Greater Bridgeport Community. For the past 10 years The Centers Civil and Criminal Court Advocacy Program has provided services to approximately 2,500 victims annually. Advocates, partially funded by OVW funds passed through the state coalitions, are on-site at both the Criminal and Civil courts to support survivors as they navigate their way through complicated court processes. Highly trained Court Advocates keep survivors updated on their the abusers’ charges, court case and/or arrest, advocate for the needs of the survivor within the court systems, inform survivors of their legal rights including victim compensation funding, and provide ongoing safety planning, advocacy, and referral to The Center’s and the communities additional supportive services. As an integral and founding member of the Domestic Violence Court Docket Team, The Center collaborates with police, prosecutors, the Department of Children and Families, Elder Abuse services and batterer service providers to promote the best legal outcomes for survivors.

Population(s) Served
Family relationships

The Center’s Client Crisis Fund is available to all program advocates to aid in assisting clients’ means to obtain basic human needs and work towards self-sufficiency. We The Center (The fund) has also provided funds to help with one-time expenses that would have otherwise thwarted clients’ efforts for self-sufficiency, like utility bill, car repair, photo IDs, birth certificates, drivers and occupational licenses, driving lesson and tests and security deposits to acquire independent, affordable housing safe from their abuser. In addition, the funds will help with applications, books and uniforms as needed for clients to further their education and/or obtain employment. The funds were provided as part of public grants, a grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation, and generous donations of gift cards for grocery and personal care items. The largest single supporter of Client Crisis Funds is the Bridgeport Ladies’ Charitable Society, a private organization of women who provide invaluable support to our clients including assisting with medical, educational, housing and child development needs.

Population(s) Served

In February 2015 The Center hired a part-time Civil Legal Coordinator, a former prosecutor and experienced attorney, to oversee the program activities of The Center’s Civil Legal Program. The Coordinator also leads the Civil Legal Workgroup, one of five workgroups The Center hosts in the planning and implementation phases of the Family Justice InitiativeAs of submission of this grant, the Workgroup has reached various milestones including: meeting with Quinipiac University to create a mentoring program for third year law students to work with survivors under supervision, working with the CT Bar Association to recruit seasoned family and immigration attorneys and engaging law firms and private practice attorney to provide workshops, trainings and representation for survivors. Currently the Civil Legal Task force has 15 member attorneys representing various private and public legal services entities committed to the design, development and implementation of The Center’s Civil Legal Program.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

National Children's Alliance - Full Member 2000

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

CFJ strives to be a model in the delivery of crisis services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse. We also strive to deliver these services with maximum efficiency in a trauma-informed way. By providing all the services a victim may need in one save place-- under one roof-- we are determined to minimize the trauma our clients experience as they seek justice and recover from abuse.

We seek to transform victims into survivors. Our motto is Hope Starts Here.

We do this by providing shelter, support, counseling, self-sufficiency skills and a network of community partners we work in close collaboration with to meet the many needs of our clients.

We provide shelter at our 15-bed safe house and counseling and support services for our domestic violence clients and their children. We offer support groups and self-sufficiency programs to help them rebuild their lives. We offer a Rabid Rehousing program to get our clients out of our safe house and into their own homes and apartments quickly.

We similarly offer counseling and support to victims of sexual violence and abuse. These services are offered to clients who have experienced recent trauma as well as those who are coping with the lingering trauma of an assault or abuse days, months or years ago. We offer support groups for survivors. We also work closely with victims on local college campuses through our campus-based Advocacy Team.

Increasingly, we are focused on using community education and engagement as a way to break these cycles. We are also determined to break the cycles of violence and abuse for impacted youth, by providing them with access to trauma-informed services (such as Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport) which offer hope, healing and resiliency-building opportunities to impacted teens and children. We believe working with young people who've experienced significant trauma improves their outcomes, resiliency and diminishes the chances these children are likely to perpetuate abusive patterns as adults.

It is critical to provide access to crisis services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are proud to do that through our crisis hotlines and a 15-bed safe house, Kathie's Place, which operates round-the-clock 365 days a year. We also have a team of advocates who provide crisis intervention services to hundreds of clients annually on a walk-in and by-appointment basis. This 24/7 team approach applies to victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as serious child abuse.

In recent years, CFJ has made a concerted effort to connect its clients with the legal services they need to seek protection from abusers and access the justice they deserve. We launched the state's first Legal Incubator and also a Pro Bono Legal Center. Both initiatives have enabled us to make incredible strides and deliver hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousand dollars worth of free or low-cost legal services to our clients.

We believe partnerships are critical to our success and our ability to bring all the services we need to victims and survivors in one safe place. To that end, we have a number of community partners on site at our headquarters in Bridgeport, Ct. who work with us in close collaboration to assist our clients coping with the trauma and abuse. These partners include law enforcement, state prosecutors, the Triangle Community Center (which provides targeted services for our clients who identify as LBGTQI) and a variety of other community-based nonprofits.

We are proud to be a nationally-accredited Child Advocacy Center (CAC) focused on supporting and protecting children who have experienced or witnessed abuse of a domestic or sexual nature. We provide the services of a skilled-clinician to these children along with the same crisis and supportive services we offer adults. In addition, we lead the Greater Bridgeport Multi-Disciplinary Team, a group that includes police, prosecutors, representatives from the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) and other key stakeholders who work in close collaboration to protect children who have experienced or witnessed extreme abuse. We also coordinate the forensic interviews for these children in cases where there are criminal investigations related to their abuse.

As important as it is for us to address victims when they are in crisis, we approach our work with an understanding that breaking the cycles of violence is paramount. So, we are also committed to our work in community education, training and empowerment work to teach adults and children that it is possible to lead lives free of trauma and abuse. Besides working in public and private schools, we offer a Training Institute which has educated hundreds of adults on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse.

CFJ strives to provide these services through a combination of thoughtful fundraising and the support of state and federal grant monies. A significant portion of our budget (currently slightly less than 50 percent) comes from grants specifically targeted for supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence as provided by the federal Violence Against Women Act, also known as VAWA. In addition, CFJ aggressively pursues grants through private foundations and corporations which are targeted toward of our mission of providing crisis and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
In addition to relying on state and federal dollars and grants, CFJ also engages in a robust effort to raise funds to provide many of its services. Throughout the year, CFJ holds a number of fundraisers which are focused not only on raising operating revenue, but also on raising awareness around the community about the services we provide. Some key signature events include our annual Speaking of Women luncheon (held annually in September) as well as our Walk a Mile in her Shoes event held each April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Speaking of Women is held a week before the October start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In addition to raising significant funds for the organization these two events also inevitably lead to increased calls to our hotlines and greater awareness of the free, confidential services we provide to victims in the six communities we serve.

We successfully completed our transition to becoming Connecticut's first Family Justice Center six years ago and this year we are celebrating our 125th year as a nonprofit serving the Greater Bridgeport area. Since then, we have significantly expanded our ability to provide comprehensive services to our clients. We have moved forward with many partnerships intended to bring so many of the services our clients need under one roof in one safe place. For example, we have forged strong partnerships with police in the six communities we serve so that they are on site providing law enforcement assistance and advice to our clients five days a week. We have similarly built a strong relationship with the Triangle Community Center, a nonprofit that provides supportive services to members of the LBGTQ community, so that we can better serve members of that demographic impacted by domestic or sexual violence. In total, we have partnerships with more than a dozen community providers who help us support our clients on site. We have also moved forward with several major initiatives intended to enhance the services we offer our clients. Four years ago we formed the Justice Legal Center, Connecticut's first legal incubator. This innovative project allowed us to significantly expand the legal services we offer our clients who need legal assistance with matters such as divorce, custodial issues and restraining orders. Four summers ago, we also launched Camp Hope America-Bridgeport, New England's first trauma-informed camp and mentoring program for children impacted by abuse and trauma. This camp has already served more than 150 children ages 7 to 17 impacted by abuse trauma, offering them a life-changing summer camp experience. This program has since evolved into a year-long mentoring program for the children
In 2019, we took even more strides in our effort to help our clients access the justice they deserve by launching our


The Center for Family Justice, 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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The Center for Family Justice, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Judy Stevens

Assistant State's Attorney, State of Connecticut

Term: 2015 - 2017

Jill Fitzburgh

Foundation for Gender Equality

Matthew Reale

Rosinne Chlala


Donna Craft

Kathryn Maiolo

Lisa Todd

Capital One

Julie Lawrence

Sacred Heart University

Susan Cortellessa

Community Leader

Kory Arthur

Santa Energy

Rev. Sara Smith

UCC Bridgeport

Ruell Parks


Sarah Cwikla

Stantec, Inc

Sofia Goncalves

People's United Bank

Pameal Dale


Kristin Okesson

Connoisuer Media

Scott Redfern

Dell Technologies

Chris Griffin

Bank of America, Private Bank

Donna Craft

Community Leader

Michael Lyngaas

Community Leader

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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • 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 12/14/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data