Every Family. Every Child. Every Time.
Youth & Family Services

Youth and Family Services

We strive to meet the ever-changing needs of our community and structure our work to focus on both prevention and intervention. In fiscal year 2017 alone, Youth and Family Services worked with 3,365 children, adults, and families.

For nearly four decades, the Town of West Hartford has entrusted us to be its designated Youth Service Bureau, and we take our commitment to caring for the mental health and well-being of the community's youth and families very seriously. Our Director of Youth and Family Services, Pat Tyler, has been in her role since 1998 and works collaboratively with school personnel, law enforcement, non-profit colleagues in the community, and other organizations dedicated to the strengthening of our community. She helps us keep our fingers on the pulse of the needs of our area, and we adjust our programming to meet those needs. 


Youth Service Bureau

The Town of West Hartford designated the Bridge Family Center as its Youth Service Bureau responsible for assessment, resource development, community involvement, and advocacy on behalf of children, youth, and families. Our alliance with town leaders allows us to provide the following comprehensive prevention and intervention services for West Hartford residents:


School-Based Services

The Bridge offers the following school-based services in collaboration with school staff:

  • case consultation and crisis intervention;
  • on-site counseling;
  • mentoring;
  • groups on a variety of issues;
  • speakers on topics of interest for student, faculty, or parent groups;
  • mindfulness workshops for faculty; and
  • resources and referral.

Pat Tyler, Director of Youth and Family Services, currently serves on Student Success Teams and Clinical Teams.


Positive Youth Development Programming

The Bridge's Positive Youth Development programs focus on young peoples' strengths and offer them hope for the future. They aim to foster in young people a sense of competence, usefulness, and belonging. Most groups are held at West Hartford Public Schools, though some meet at the Hillcrest Neighborhood Center. They are designed to facilitate the development of life skills such as leadership, decision-making, stress and anger management, communication, and problem solving. Examples of youth groups:

  • Sisterhood Girls 
  • Middle School Boys
  • Children of Divorce and Separation 
  • Anti-bullying 
  • Lunch Clubs 



Mentoring is offered in school to middle and high school girls and boys who could benefit from having a positive role model in their lives. Meet one of our mentors: Jonathan Merritt.


West Hartford Teen Center

Click here to learn more about this special place and stay informed of any summer programming offered by our Teen Center staff. The Teen Center is run by Jonathan Merritt, a kid magnet adored by kids, parents, and teachers throughout the Town of West Hartford. 


Counseling and Parenting Support

Most parents will say that being a parent is the hardest thing they have ever done. Parents, you are not alone! Our counseling team is here to support you as an individual as you support your child and build your parenting toolkit. We are also here if you are co-parenting or need family-wide support. Whether you could just use a little help through a phase or to prepare for the next stage of your or your child's life, or you are in full crisis with serious and immediate needs, we can help. Not only does our counseling team have a depth of experience, we have also been offering residential support for high-risk children and teens for nearly 50 years, so that experience with trauma also informs our work. 

If you aren't in need of counseling, but you wish to receive parenting information, request our Every Family newsletter. It is sent out twice a year on topics of interest to parents. 



Pat Tyler, MSW, has been our Youth and Family Services Director since 1998. She was named Youth Services Administrator of the Year in 2003 by the Connecticut Youth Services Association for her strong leadership and dedication to young people. In 2007, she represented the CYSA and state Youth Service Bureaus on the Youth Futures Committee, a task force created by the legislature to increase the chances for all young people in Connecticut to grow up to be successful and independent adults. To contact Pat Tyler, email her at pat@bridgefamilycenter.org or call 860.313.1119.


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