KIDS FIRST, AWARD WINNING NONPROFIT FOR CHILDREN AND PARENTS, NAMES TWO TOP EXECUTIVES
Organization Works Directly With 3500 Parents and Children Each Year
PORTLAND, Maine (September 25, 2018) - Kids First Center, the award-winning Maine nonprofit that for more than 20 years has provided innovative and supportive programming to children and parents experiencing separation or divorce, announced that Catherine C. Miller, Esq. will helm the Board of Directors, while Mary Fifield has been hired to lead the organization as Interim Executive Director. Both appointments are effective immediately.
An estimated 70,000 parents and children have benefited from the nonprofit’s programs since 1998. Kids First’s signature four-hour co-parenting education program, the Kids First Program, led to the creation of other innovative and award winning programs. Those programs, which run in response to demand, include: The Kids First Program, The First Step; Next Step—Putting Conflict Aside; Kids First for Kids!; Kids First for Parents with New Partners; Kids First for Women; Separation and Divorce for Dads; Intensive Co-Parenting Education Program; and Kids First for Parents with New Partners. Two professional facilitators—one a mental health professional and one an attorney, one male, and one female—lead each session. Kids First also offers free evening workshops for professionals and people interested in participating in formal Kids First programs.
Miller, Founder and Managing Partner of Miller Law & Mediation, LLC—a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a long-time certified mediator—has been named President of the Board of Directors of Kids First. She succeeds Dana Prescott. She is a member of the Maine and New Hampshire State Bar Associations, and has more than 20 years of experience practicing family law. Her practice focuses on divorce, parental rights, marital property, and alternative dispute resolution.
She is trained in the Collaborative Law model, and is a rostered Guardian ad Litem. Miller served as Maine State Bar Association Family Law Section (Chair: 2006 - 2008), (Vice Chair: 2005 - 2006), (Secretary: 2004 - 2005), and Kids First Center Board of Directors (2006 - 2013) and (2016 - present). Presently, Miller serves on the Maine Board Bar Overseers Grievance Commission and GAL Review Board. She is a Graduate of Le Moyne College B.A. (1993) and the University of Maine School of Law (J.D. 1997). She resides in Cape Elizabeth with her husband, Greg Miller, and her children, Patrick, Andrew, and Addison.
Fifield, a nonprofit leadership consultant headquartered in Portland who regularly manages successful executive transitions, has been named Interim Executive Director of Kids First, where she will lead the organization. She succeeds Nici Carbone. She brings more than 30 years of relevant experience to the position, including 25 years as executive counsel to the leadership of a wide range of non-profit organizations nationally and internationally. Previously, she ran an award-winning 20-person strategic consulting practice in Boston.
Earlier, Fifield was Governor Michael S. Dukakis’s press secretary during his first term in office. She also produced Face the Nation at CBS News, was political producer for Charlie Rose at CBS when he helmed Nightwatch, and produced pieces nationally and internationally for NBC Nightly News. Currently, she serves on the Board of Coastal Humane Society (now Midcoast Humane) and is on the Marketing Committee of the Maine Women’s Foundation. She is the past chair of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, and has chaired or served on more than a dozen boards. She lives in Portland and is mother to Molly, whom she helped guide through a divorce with the support of family, friends, and community colleagues.
Both leaders expressed enthusiasm about the future of the Kids First Center and their new roles there.
"As a long-time, avid supporter of Kids First, I'm delighted to assume the board President's post at a pivotal moment in our development," Miller said. "The work we do from Biddeford to Belfast is unparalleled in the State. We are grateful to be able to help so many families in transition. I look forward to working closely with Kids First's facilitators, staff, volunteers, and our Board to advance our programs and to continue to grow our agency in every possible way. Kids First has a tremendous reach and a legacy programming. It’s a diamond-in-the-rough for parents and kids during challenging times," she added.
Fifield noted, “I’m a tremendous admirer of the work that Kids First does for an often overlooked population. Our hope is that intervention and specialized support for these families will lead to better outcomes as they learn to make better decisions about how to handle complex, sometimes contradictory needs.” She concluded, “Our supporters are enthusiastic about our next phase of strategic growth. By completing an extensive organizational assessment and a targeted executive search for the next right Executive Director, we’ll be able to position Kids First for continued expansion and reach.”
In a unique and highly successful collaboration, the Kids First Program was originally created in the 1980’s by a group of legal and mental health providers called Resources for Divorced Families. In 1998, this collaborative group joined forces with the Junior League of Portland to incorporate as The Kids First Center, and hired Margaret (Peg) Libby as the organization’s first Executive Director.
Under Peg’s stewardship, the Kids First Center went on to win broad recognition. Its awards include the “Annual Family Law Achievement Award” from the Maine Bar Association for its "extraordinary leadership, professionalism and service to Maine Families;" the “Best of Portland” in the nonprofit category in an annual Portland Phoenix readers’ poll; and the “Agency of the Year Award” from the National Association of Social Workers.
Kids First is a 501c3 charitable organization. The Kids First Center’s mission is to minimize the emotional and physical trauma children often experience when their parents separate or divorce. Classes are open for both parents and children in a variety of communities. For further information, call 761-2709, or go to kidsfirstcenter.org.