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Center for Family Excellence, Inc.
409 Dinwiddie Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3367
Tel: 412-232-0322 X10
Fax: 412-232-0331
Lenall Thomas, Ph.D., Executive Director


For the past forty years, The Center for Family Excellence has been working to help families survive and thrive amid adversity. Each program works to restore, sustain and strengthen family relationships that are under potential distress. Center staff work directly with families, and collaborate with other human service providers, to prevent and interrupt cycles of behavior that are destructive to individuals, families and neighborhoods. The aims of our various interventions are encompassed in the following foundational objectives:

  • Promote the healthy development of children, youth and adults - physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually
  • Improve the nurturing skills of parents
  • Improve the relational skills of adults
  • Provide support services for families with special needs
  • Foster a sense of restoration and hope in the communities where our constituents live


Right Start: Intervention services with families with incidences of child abuse or neglect

Family Reunification: Intervention services with families whose parental rights are about to be terminated permanently and children placed for adoption

First Steps: Prevention and supportive services for families with newborns

Male Mentoring: Intervention and prevention services to enhance adolescent and adult male maturation


The Center for Family Excellence has designed, evaluated and implemented more than 30 interventions that help families, and their supporting community agencies and organizations, maneuver through adverse circumstances to places of greater hope and potential transformation. Our training programs equip parents, and human service providers who attempt to help them, to nurture families toward more proactive constructive family dynamics that reduce their susceptibility to influences that are destructive for individuals, families and communities.


HELP US HELP OUR FAMILIES! You can share in our work by sending a check or money order made payable to: Center for Family Excellence, 409 Dinwiddie Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and are registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to solicit funds. All contributions are fully tax deductible.

We also participate in the United Way Contributor Choice option. On your United Way contribution card, you can write in: Center for Family Excellence. Our Contributor Choice code is: 885170.


  • 1970: A Hill District advisory group of mothers, fathers, and grandparents communicated to Dr. Jerome Taylor an interest in preventing social, emotional, and cognitive problems in children under three years of age. Before the end of 1970, initial grant money had been located to launch the planning and implementation of what later was called Right Start.
  • From 1975 to 1980: Additional programs were developed to enhance the level of self-esteem in parents and improve the quality of relationships between caregivers since these matters make an enormous difference in quality of parenting. We also designed and implemented Values for Life Child Care Centers to promote high levels of Love and Respect, Interpersonal Skills, Learning Orientation, Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence, Self-Persistence, and Self-Reliance in infants and children through five years of age.
  • 1988: We formed the Institute for the Black Family at the University of Pittsburgh which better accommodated the range of interventions we had developed and refined in helping families.
  • Before 1991: With the assistance of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, we designed two major local policy initiatives to enhance the development of neighborhoods.
  • 1994: We were funded for our First Steps Initiative which was designed to prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • 1996: We moved from the University of Pittsburgh and formed a new entity under the name of the Center for Family Excellence, Inc. We continued our existing programs which help families transform their lives and the neighborhoods where they live.
  • 1997: An initiative funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families, the Family Reunification Program works to expedite the reunification of children who were placed in foster care.
  • 1998: We were funded by the Richard King Mellon Foundation to infuse Values for Life Interventions through the Village at McKelvy Elementary School to promote academic achievement among students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
  • 1999: Our Male Coalition Program works with male youths and adults around issues such as anger management, daily life maintenance, family management, gang violence, job readiness, maleness, and manhood, parenting, sexual responsibility, substance abuse, and parenting. The Cultural Policy Council which was formed in the Hill District during the winter of 1999, works to strengthen families who are living under adverse circumstances by making Values for Life the norm throughout entire neighborhoods.
  • 2000: Certificate Training sessions in Values for Life Child Care were held with three organizations which serve young children. We expect that an increasing number of organizations will attend our training sessions in the future. The Center for Family Excellence was one of three statewide winners in the Violence-Free Youth Challenge competition. We moved to spacious new quarters in the AUBA building on Dinwiddie Street where we have consolidated all programs except our Values for Life Child Care center.

All Rights Reserved. Center for Family Excellence, Inc.