Families, Children, Youth and Recreation

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The mission of the Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation is to ensure the well-being and success of all Hartford families. The department works toward that goal by promoting and providing high-quality early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, recreation, and other related programs. Getting and keeping young people on safe and productive paths is a core part of the City’s mission. 

Grant Announcement:

2023 Hartford UNITY Grant Application is OPEN:

Hartford UNITY Youth Engagement Grant



Department Head

Kristina Baldwin

Kristina Baldwin

Kristina Baldwin has dedicated nearly 20 years of her professional career serving youth and familes in Hartford. With a degree in Child and Developmental Psychology from the University of Connecticut, Kristina has been with the Department as a Contracts Manager, Project Leader, and Assistant Director for Youth Services since 2014 prior to being appointed Interim Director.


The City of Hartford has a longstanding commitment to early childhood education and interventions. It is the first municipality in the State to implement a citywide Early Childhood Blueprint and the only city to establish a department, endorsed by City Council, to oversee early childhood initiatives.

The Division performs day-to-day planning and coordination, serving as the lead entity to coordinate and implement early childhood policy and the City’s coordinated early childhood plan. Its responsibilities are to:

  • Implement early childhood policy coordinating early learning and development planning;
  • Unite early childhood programs and into a coordinated comprehensive citywide system;
  • Improve the quality of early childhood programs, increase teacher credentials, and strengthen the use of effective instructional practices through professional development and data-driven decision-making practices in order to ensure positive child outcomes;
  • Lead and/or participate on boards and commissions related to early childhood and;
  • Seek additional revenues
Early Learning Initiatives:

The Office for Youth Services includes the Youth Service Bureau for the City of Hartford and its multi-pronged capacity-building initiatives. Mandated by Connecticut General Statue section 10-19m, a Youth Service Bureau (YSB) is an agency operated directly by one or more municipalities that is designed for planning, evaluation, coordination, and implementation of a network of resources and opportunities for children, youth, and their families. In addition, YSBs are responsible for the provision of services and programs for all youth to develop positively and to function as responsible members of their communities. 

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The Office for Recreation and Family Services provides opportunities for “playful learning and growing” to the Hartford community. The office offers hands-on learning opportunities that promote physical activity and health and provides reliable, consistent support when youth ask for help at the City’s community and school centers. 

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