Skip Content

Our History

In 1977, a group of psychiatrists and social workers from the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Harvard Medical School decided that they needed to help people with psychiatric conditions, many of who in those days lived in hospitals, learn to live as members of the community. They founded Vinfen as a nonprofit company and established one of the first group homes to help people transition to community living. Because the founders wanted to avoid any potentially stigmatizing words in the company’s name, they avoided terms such as “Behavioral” or “Psychiatric.” And because this home was on the corner of Vining Street and Fenwood Road, they named the company Vinfen.

Vinfen began with a mission of helping people with psychiatric conditions live healthy, satisfying, productive, and valued lives as full members of their community. Today that mission is the same, although we have expanded the populations we serve, our geography, and have continuously adopted advancing science-based clinical and rehabilitation technology to provide better services.

Since the beginning, our values have also remained the same. Vinfen is committed to:

  • Providing the highest quality services that support and empower the people we serve and their families, to improve their lives
  • Creating a supportive work environment where caring and knowledgeable staff are committed to the people we serve
  • Demonstrating innovation, collaboration, and partnership
  • Sound financial stewardship and results.


Service-delivery systems were once centered on large, state-operated institutions. In the 1970s, Vinfen led the transition from institutional settings to community settings based on individualized support and family-scale homes. The movement away from institutionalization served as a defining moment. It rightfully acknowledged that all people deserve humane treatment and that everyone should be given the opportunity to live fulfilling, productive, and valued lives.

Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, Vinfen established a reputation for developing solutions to support people with a wide range of psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and behavioral challenges. We also were recognized for early adoption of the recovery and peer provider movements in the area of psychiatric rehabilitation, and of self-advocacy and strong behavioral services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In 2000, Vinfen expanded its services to Connecticut where we have been providing an increasing array of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and psychiatric conditions.


Over the past decade, Vinfen has continued to develop innovative programs in numerous areas, including:

  • Transitioning a significant numbers of individuals with psychiatric conditions from residential care to community living with outreach support
  • Creating special residential programs for individuals with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or brain injuries and medical challenges
  • Developing a special evidence-informed program for transition age youth with psychiatric conditions
  • Adopting the Positive Behavior Support model for all programs serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Supporting peer-led Recovery Learning Centers and peer workers on teams throughout our psychiatric rehabilitation service system
  • Establishing active Family Advisory Councils throughout the company, which provide consultation and feedback on programs and policies
  • Collaborating with other community based providers and leading national researchers on new programs to improve the physical health of individuals with serious mental illness and medical conditions.


Our senior management has also established a track record for collaboration and thought leadership within our provider communities, and with the partners within government agencies who care for those whom we serve together.

We believe that it is our history of responsiveness to the needs of the people we serve, our collaborations, our innovation, and our strong program and financial management which have helped Vinfen to become the largest provider of Department of Mental Health funded psychiatric rehabilitation services, one of the largest provider of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Massachusetts, and a valued provider of similar services in Connecticut.

Our strategic vision recognizes that we must continuously adopt and adapt better clinical, rehabilitation and behavioral technologies as they emerge, collaborate with other health and human services organizations to provide better integrated care, and engage with and respond directly to consumers who will increasingly choose and manage their own services based on value- proven outcomes with clear and reasonable costs.

Our vision and our history are captured in Vinfen’s tagline: “Transforming Lives Together.”