By Dave Jolivet
FALL RIVER — For a half century, Jack Weldon has made a career in the field of child welfare and behavioral health. But it’s been more than a career, it’s been a mission and a labor of love for children and families who, for one reason or another, are in dire straits and great need — physically, psychologically and socially.
In April of 1997, Weldon was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the then St. Vincent’s Home, now Saint Vincent’s Services, whose campus is in Fall River. At the end of this past March, Weldon chose to retire from his position.
In a letter to his fellow employees upon his departure, Weldon expressed thanks, appreciation, pride and hope for the place that has made a great, positive impact on thousands of children and their families through the years. “Over the nearly 25 years of my tenure, we have experienced much growth and change, challenges and opportunities as a service provider, and Saint Vincent’s is a much different place today than when I first walked through the door in April 1997,” Weldon said. “I have had the privilege to work with an amazingly talented and committed staff team, all of whom have dedicated themselves to providing creative programming to meet the ever-changing needs of the children, youth and families who look to us for support in meeting life’s challenges. As a team, we have been successful in implementing numerous new programs and services in response to those needs and have developed a continuum of services which are relevant, accessible, and effective.
“We have built a very positive reputation for providing quality, responsive services within the broader provider community. “As a team, we are fortunate to be in the position to experience transformation in the lives of the children, youth and families who allow us the privilege to be a part of their life’s journey. We have many staff who have made a long-term investment in the Mission of Saint Vincent’s, which provides consistency and continuity in our service delivery.”
As Weldon leaves and Kristen Dutra picks up the torch, Saint Vincent’s is a well-respected and critical provider “within the systems of care and the network of other community-based providers with which we have been providing for many years.”
Saint Vincent’s has, for a long time, been a partner with many outside child welfare agencies and departments, and has been a leader in the community with regards to these important services.
Ten years ago, under Weldon’s watch, Saint Vincent’s established an out-patient clinic offering in-home and community-based services, school-based services and “the implementation of behavioral health services across all our programs, which are informed by evidence-based practices.”
There are many advances still being made with partnerships with other agencies, including the Fall River Diocese’s Catholic Social Services and upgrades to the campus, and programs being offered to young people and their families.
“I am grateful for all of the blessings I have received throughout my career doing work that I love. It has not always been easy, but it has always been rewarding and fulfilling,” Weldon said to the Saint Vincent’s staff. “I value the relationships I have made over the years within Saint Vincent’s, within the Diocese of Fall River, within the wider provider community network, and within the various Systems of Care.
“Thank you for your loyal support, friendship and collaboration through all of the joys and challenges during my tenure.”