Dr. Yitzhak Bakal is the founder and President (1974 to present) of North American Family Institute, Inc., a large multi-service organization providing innovative community-based services in nine states. From 1970-1973, Dr. Bakal served as Assistant Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, playing a key role in reorganizing services for youth and the development of community-based services.

Dr. Bakal received his Bachelor degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received his Master’s degree at Columbia University in New York and his Doctorate at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

He is the co-author of three books dealing with issues relating to juvenile justice and correctional youth reform, as follows: Closing Correctional Institutions, 1973; Reforming Corrections for Juvenile Offenders, 1978 and The Lifestyle Violent Juvenile, 1979, all published by D.C. Heath Lexington Books. He also published numerous articles relating to residential care, corrections, youth at risk, and family intervention.

NAFI, under Dr. Bakal’s leadership, has been a pioneer in the development of alternatives to institutionalization. These include tracking, a variety of forms of residential care, wrap around services, and the creation of continuums of care. Most importantly NAFI has been in the forefront of developing early intervention/prevention initiatives: among them the YPI (Youth Police Initiative) and the Franklin Field project.


Bakal, Y., Closing Correctional Institutions: New Strategies in Youth Service, published by D.C. Heath, 1974.

Bakal, Y. & Polsky, H., Reforming Corrections for Juvenile Offenders, published by D.C. Heath, 1979.

Vachss, A. & Bakal, Y., The Life Style of Violent Youth, published by D.C. Heath, 1979.