North Homes Children and Family Services is a private, nonprofit agency that provides comprehensive services to children and families in Minnesota. North Homes Children and Family Services began when Jim Christmas a former Itasca County social worker, alternative secondary school educator, and counselor at Thistledew youth camp combined his Master's Degree in Counseling/Psychology with his entrepreneurial spirit. He took a risk to change how and where at-risk children could be helped. His first step was opening a group home for adolescent boys which provided affordable services in the local community. Most children at that time were being sent out of town for services that put additional stress and costs on families.
However, Jim's vision was larger than a group home. He recognized the need for a full continuum of care for at-risk children and families. In 1990, he founded North Homes, Inc., a 501c3 private, nonprofit company that could respond quickly and effectively to the community's needs. Since that time, North Homes Children and Family Services has steadily increased its programs and services to best meet the needs of at-risk children and families in a number of communities. With locations in five locations that include Grand Rapids, Bemidji, Duluth, Deer River, and Big Lake, North Homes has over 200 employees. Currently, North Homes provides numerous programs in the areas of foster care, adoption, in-home family services, residential treatment, outpatient chemical dependency, outpatient mental health, medication management, family group conferencing, next step transitional services into adulthood, and the ITASKIN Center with a stabilization shelter, 35 day evaluation program, secure detention, and 90 day intensive residential treatment. Jim is truly a social entrepreneur with a pragmatic and holistic approach to the care and treatment of children and families.