Sweetser’s roots in residential care for children date back to 1828. The Sweetser we know today evolved from the joining of four Maine orphanages: The Children’s Home of Portland (formerly the Female Orphan Asylum), the Belfast-based Children’s Aid Society of Maine, Maine Home for Boys (formerly the Little Samaritan Society) in Portland, and the original Sweetser Home for Boys in Saco.
By the early 1960s Sweetser Children’s Home, as it was known, focused on providing residential services to children with severe emotional or behavioral problems, or learning disabilities.
In time, Sweetser’s commitment to behavioral health led to a system of care that included family-focused, person-centered, community-integrated services. In 1980, Sweetser expanded services from residential treatment to community-based services for children and families.
At the close of the 20th century, Sweetser merged with two respected mental health agencies: The Family Institute of Maine and Shoreline Community Mental Health Services.
In 2006, Sweetser acquired PROTEA Behavioral Health Services, which has operated under the name of Sweetser since that time.
In 2014, Harbor Family Services of Rockland joined Sweetser. And in 2018, Sweetser took ownership of Developmental Services in Bangor.
Today, Sweetser has a statewide network of care dedicated to serving children, adults and families in need of services for mental and behavioral health, developmental services, education and recovery.
Sweetser is a private, nonprofit organization funded through contracts with government agencies, fees for services paid by school districts, income from investments and through the generosity of committed friends and supporters.
Nationally recognized and accredited, Sweetser was awarded the Margaret Chase Smith Quality Award in 2002, recognizing the organization’s achievement integrating quality improvement throughout an expansive network of care.