Contact: Annie Martinez

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Children’s Bureau and Families First Sign Merger Agreement

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (January 21, 2021)— Children’s Bureau and Families First, two of Indiana’s most established nonprofits—have joined forces to better serve families and children. With roots in the community that go back more than 185 years, a merger agreement to combine the two organizations was signed yesterday.

Children’s Bureau and Families First have worked together for many years. Services not offered at one agency were offered by the other, making referrals between the two common. The merger will allow greater efficiency and impact for the children, youth, adults, and families served by both organizations.

“With Children’s Bureau’s geographic scope, the new entity will be able to serve even more individuals throughout the state,” said David Siler, President & CEO, Families First. “In addition, this merger helps both organizations go further to offer a more holistic approach to child abuse prevention, family preservation, and recovery services.”

The agreement stipulates that Children’s Bureau will work with Families First to transition operations including facilities, human resources, clinical programs, investments, accounting and finance, and all other programs and departments by the closing date of March 31.

Guided by consultant Kelly Frank of Social Legends, both boards took a deep dive into the “why” for nearly two years to explore culture, programmatic fit, and economic opportunity.

“Combined, both organizations will do even more to prevent child abuse by supporting and empowering families to reach self-sufficiency and stability,” said Tina Cloer, President & CEO, Children’s Bureau.

Cloer will remain as President & CEO of the newly combined organization. It will be doing the same important work to strengthen families, protect children, and build more resilient communities.

Matchbook, a strategic advertising and branding firm based in Indianapolis, will lead a brand study for the newly combined entity, which will include recommendations for an organization name.

Nonprofit mergers are becoming more common. A 2020 study published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review showed that 23.1 percent of non-profits responding to the survey were exploring some type of permanent partnership; while in the two decades prior, that number was about one percent.

Chair of the Children’s Bureau Development Committee and member of the Young Professionals Advisory Board, Caitlin Smarrelli, said “This is an exciting merger. “When Delta Faucet Company considered local non-profits to receive COVID-19 assistance, Families First was added to the conversation because of its emphasis on mental health, domestic violence, and helping LGBTQ+ youth. It seemed to provide services that fulfilled a lot of needs that were amplified due to the effects of COVID-19,” she explained. and. “I see this as a big win for families.”

“We offer our congratulations on this new chapter in their service to our community and to the important work they do for Hoosiers both in normal circumstances and in times like these,” said Ann Murtlow, President & CEO, United Way of Central Indiana.

Please visit to learn more about this merger and what it means for clients, stakeholders and donors. Individuals are also encouraged to connect with Children’s Bureau on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to follow exciting new developments.

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 About Children’s Bureau + Families First

On Thanksgiving Day, in 1835, citizens founded the Indianapolis Benevolent Society (IBS), an organization that would—in responding to the changing needs of its community—give rise to both the Children’s Bureau and Families First.

 As the nature and focus of family preservation, prevention of child abuse, and adult recovery have intersected, the missions of these formerly parallel organizations have now once again come together to better meet the needs of today’s children and families.