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The Family Place Names Executive Director

Norwich — Mary L. Smit has been appointed executive director of The Family Place, a parent-child center in Norwich. In a news relase last week, the nonprofit called Smit “a proven advocate of children and families.”

Before joining The Family Place, she was team leader for Casey Family Services in White River Junction, where she supervised employees directly involved with adoption and specialized foster care services. She also provided leadership at the regional level to staff working with Twin State families who struggle with challenges such as abuse, neglect, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

Previously, Smit held fundraising and social work leadership roles, including 13 years with Bethany Christian Services in Michigan. She later worked as director of development for the Pine Rest Foundation in Michigan.

“The Family Place has such a strong reputation as a leader and collaborator in our community concerning parenting education and support, prevention, and early childhood,” Smit said in the release. “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to join the staff and board in this work.

A licensed social worker in Vermont, Smit holds a master’s degree in social work. She was previously an adjunct instructor in Western Michigan University’s graduate social work and education programs.

Founded in 1985, The Family Place helps young parents living in poverty work toward sustainable independence and healthy parental relationships.

It also provides case management for victims of childhood sexual abuse and financial assistance for qualifying families. Its other services include child care, developmental therapy for children, play groups, parenting classes and home visits.

­ — Staff report