Family and Child Service of Schenectady, Inc. is now over 85 years old and its history portrays us accurately- as an organization constantly changing to meet the needs of more individuals in New Yorks Capital District area. Our mission is to preserve and enhance the integrity of family life in the area.
The agency opened on January 8th, 1930 as the Family Welfare Bureau to do precisely that. It had the financial assistance of the newly formed Junior League of Schenectady and the Community Chest. Our primary purpose, as expressed in the constitution, was to foster the development of wholesome family life by helping disorganized or downtrodden families and individuals of any age.
From 1930 to 1933, the agency reacted to the depression and the rise of unemployment by distributing supplementary funds through ‚ The Mayor's Relief Fund‚ and the Emergency Work Bureau. In 1934, as public assistance programs became more organized, the Family Welfare Bureau was able to focus on its own goal of providing services to families with problems. In 1940, to highlight this emphasis on our Counseling Program, the agency‚ name was changed to the Family Service Bureau.
The Junior League provided a great deal of support and volunteer help until 1945 when the agency became more secure as a result of a $3,000 gift from the Junior League. The agency was able to purchase the property at our current location- 246 Union Street in the Stockade. In 1953, due to the increasing scope of our work with children, the agency name was changed finally to Family and Child Service of Schenectady, Inc. During that same year, the agency added adoption services as one of its functions.
In 2012 another building was purchased at 1007 Maryland Avenue in Schenectadyto house the growing programs we have now running. The addition allows us to have a meeting place for the Agency as well as community groups. All programs except Counseling are now run from this building.
Family and Child has always valued collaborations and has maintained many cooperative arrangements with other agencies, making formal arrangements with: the Department of Social Services, Legal Aid, Day Nursery, Municipal Housing, Probation, the Schenectady County Jail, Ellis Mental Health, VNSA, EISEP, OPWDD, schools, churches, and other non-profits. As you will see, our programs have many partners.
In 1956, the Homemaker Program, one of our current programs, began providing assistance to struggling families with young children, often when the mother was unable to function. Gradually the program evolved to suit the needs of the county and the Homemaker Program currently provides in-home assistance to frail low-income elderly clients who are trying to maintain their independence and prevent institutionalization. We contracted with the Office for the Aging and the Aging Services of Schenectady County to better serve the residents of the county who are eligible for services. We are in constant contact with the Visiting Nurse Service of Northeastern New York and the Extended In-Home Services for the Elderly Program as well as many insurance programs..
Although the agency began counseling clients early on in its history, our Outreach Counseling Program began in 1970 with the decrease of adoption services. We provide individual, couples, and marriage counseling to area residents regardless of their ability to pay. We currently have on staff certified social workers that take referrals from a wide variety of sources in the county. Often, clients report that they could not have been served if not for us, either due to the expense of therapy, or extensive waiting lists at other agencies.
Our Family Support Services Program for families with a developmentally disabled child began in 1980 as a simple Respite program offering parents temporary relief from the stress and strain of caring for developmentally disabled children. We were the only agency in the area that provided in-home respite and then, Medicaid Waiver Community Reshab, to this population. Our Family Reimbursement Grant program distributes state and county funds to families requesting money for necessities and beneficial programs for the developmentally disabled.
Bequests, memorials, and honoraria given to Family and Child Service enhance our existing programs and assures the agency growth. As is evident, the agency works to meet the changing needs of the community. We think that the founders would be amazed and gratified to know of our success and our trials. Today we serve approximately 1,000 people a year with a total budget of about $1,500,000, 10% coming from donations and fundraising.