• Freedman Center

    Community Education programs are designed for parents and families as resources for navigating the many issues faced by children of all ages, from infancy to 18 years

  • Freedman Center

    Supporting Adolescents

  • Freedman Center

    New Babies, New Moms

  • Freedman Center

    Supporting Adolescents

  • Freedman Center

    Free Playtime Group

  • Freedman Center

    Primary Project Students from West Roxbury High School

About the Freedman Center

Richard (RIF) and Joan Freedman

Individuals and families too often find it difficult to access mental health resources due to a critical shortage of providers and the absence of a community of support and sharing.

The Richard I. and Joan L. Freedman Center for Child and Family Development was established at William James College to help connect individuals with appropriate information, providers, resources, and one another to serve their mental health and wellness needs.

Creating a strong community of support to promote mental health and wellness involves a multi-faceted approach.  The Freedman Center offers services to meet these multiple needs:

  • Accessible and quality programming for children and families
  • Continuing education programs for professionals.
  • Consultation to and collaboration with community partners, including schools, organizations, and physicians
  • Culturally and linguistically sensitive approach to the creation and delivery of all services
  • Training of future mental health providers

Participation in state and legislative initiatives and social advocacy.

Freedman Center Services & Programs

Primary Project

Primary Project is a nationally-known, evidenced based preventive mental health program designed to enhance positive skills and reduce difficulties in preschool through primary grade children. Participants-identified through careful screening-are those who are at risk of, but not experiencing, social-emotional or school adjustment problems. Throughout the school year, participants meet with a Child Associate (CA) in individual child-led expressive play sessions, where they become aware of their feelings, experience a sense of self-acceptance, enjoy supportive interaction with the CA, and develop positive feelings about school. CA's receive special training and are supervised closely by William James College faculty and in collaboration with school-based professionals.

William James College INTERFACE Referral Service

The William James College INTERFACE® Referral Service is an initiative to improve the integration of mental health and wellness services between school systems, agencies, and community members for the benefit of children, adults, and families. The primary goal of INTERFACE® is to enhance, improve, or develop collaborative efforts for mental health and wellness access and service.

One key feature of  INTERFACE® is the helpline service for families. The helpline is available from Monday through Friday from 9 AM - 5 PM, and is staffed by mental health professionals.  Through the helpline, families receive confidential consultation, guidance, and resource and referral information. INTERFACE® staff assist families in finding mental health provider matches that meet the presenting issue, insurance or payment needs, time preference and location needs. Follow-up services are provided until the child, adult, and/or family is stabilized.  

Another important feature of INTERFACE® is its extensive website featuring articles and resources on mental health and wellness topics impacting children and families. The website also offers event listings and other free resources. interface.williamjames.edu

Community and Continuing Education

The Freedman Center’s Community Education* programs are designed for parents and caregivers to build knowledge and skills for the promotion of wellness. These programs include:

  • New Mothers Groups
  • New Dads Groups
  • Playgroups

"The New Moms group provided me a safe and non-judgmental place to ask questions and meet other new moms facing the same joys and worries. It helped to boost my confidence as a new mother."
- Katie O'Hare, New Moms Group Participant

The Freedman Center offers Continuing Education* for professionals and organizations to enhance skills and knowledge for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of mental wellness. Examples of these services include:

  • Workshops, trainings, and certificate programs on topics such as school climate and social emotional learning, stress and anxiety in the classroom, systems intervention and change.
  • Consultation to schools and community agencies with goals such as building prevention programs, supporting new initiatives and responding to state mandates.

*William James College provides Continuing Education credits to psychologists, social workers, nurses, educators and other mental health professionals. View the current CE catalogue at www.williamjames.edu/ce

Student Training

William James College students graduate with diverse portfolios of experience. We  provide an integrated academic program with intensive supervised clinical  practice. This integrative model enables our students to develop a mastery of  academic psychology along with the clinical skills necessary to succeed in  their professional lives. As our students learn, they bring direct service to  underserved populations at over 200 training sites.

The Freedman  Center offers unique  training opportunities for students from all William James College graduate programs.

"Working at the Freedman Center  has developed my clinical expertise in a nurturing and challenging environment.  Every day I see how access to care is a vital part of care. It is an invaluable  experience to help families access quality mental health and wellness support  which in turn informs my academic and clinical learning."
  -Ember Cook, Clinical  PsyD student

Staff Bios

Margaret Hannah, MEd

Margaret Hannah

Freedman Center for Child and Famly Development
Master of Arts / Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (MA/CAGS) in School Psychology Faculty

Click here to email Ms. Hannah directly.

Margaret Hannah, MEd is the Executive Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development, Co-Director of the School Climate and Social Emotional Learning Certificate Program at William James College. She received her master’s degree in education with a concentration in community counseling and psychology from the University of Miami. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from William James College and has completed two years of coursework in the Doctoral Program for Leadership Psychology at William James College.  Ms. Hannah has worked in schools and agencies for over 30 years, designing and developing programs and facilitating teacher and parent education programs and support groups.  She has served as a project director for three federal grants for the delivery of mental health services within schools, and a grant to integrate mental health services between schools and community agencies.  She serves on many committees and task forces within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advocating for mental health services, including the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Task Force, the Governor’s Commission on Post-Partum Depression, the Governor’s Commission on Community Behavioral Health Promotion and Prevention, and the stakeholder group for the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Freedman Center at William James College, she teaches in the School Psychology Department as Adjunct Faculty.

Nadja Reilly, PhD

Nadja ReillyDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) Faculty
Latino Mental Health Program

Nadja Reilly is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience specializing in children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Reilly completed her graduate training at the University of Miami, Florida, and her clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital. She was a staff psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital for 12 years.  Dr. Reilly is the Associate Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development and Co-Director of the School Climate and Social Emotional Learning Certificate Program at William James College, as well as the Director of Training for the Center's internship and practicum placements. At the Freedman Center, Dr. Reilly focuses on prevention, school and community mental health work, consultation, curriculum and program development, and education.. Dr. Reilly is the editor of Preventing Depression: A Toolkit for Schools, co-editor of the How Not to Keep a Secret peer leadership curriculum, editor and principal author of the Break Free from Depression school curriculum, and executive producer of Break Free From Depression, a documentary focusing on adolescent depression. Dr. Reilly is also the author of the book Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom: A Teacher's Guide to Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Students.  Dr. Reilly has presented in numerous local and national conferences, and continues to promote awareness of child and family mental health needs through her teaching, research, and practice

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