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A mission to strengthen children and families was born in 1886 when Catherine Burnham, wife of Frederick G. Burnham, convinced her husband that raising children would be a better use of their 580 acres in Canaan, New York, than raising cattle. It was then that the Burnham’s created a refuge for what were then called “wayward boys.” The idea that the Farm represented a family, rather than an institution, was a major factor in its success and its powerful influence on the boys’ lives.


The Burnham Family’s vision and personal commitment to making a difference in children’s lives led to what is known today as Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth, one of New York State’s largest and most impactful child welfare agencies serving over 2,000 children and families every day.

Strengthening these children and families so they can live safely, independently and productively within their home community is our life’s mission.

All available records for the period of 1886-present are held at the New York State Archives located in Albany, NY.

You can access these records HERE.

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