The roots of Family & Children’s Services, Inc., go back 138 years. The Home for Friendless Women and Homeless Girls, or Home for the Friendless, originated in 1873 and evolved into the Pixley Child Welfare Agency. In 1895, the Fort Wayne Associated Charities was formed and later assumed the title of Family Service Bureau. The Bureau was incorporated on January 29, 1924, under the provision of an act of the Indiana General Assembly. Homemaker Service was added to the Bureau’s function in 1938 and terminated in June 1969. In 1946, the Family Service Bureau merged with the Pixley Child Welfare Agency.
The new agency, Family and Children’s Service of Fort Wayne, Inc., incorporated on March 18, 1947, was the result of a recommendation of a community study urging this consolidation. The purpose of this union was to provide the community with a more effective and efficient program of casework help to families and children. In addition to bringing together two closely-related types of service, the community study felt that “a larger staff would be able to interchange ideas and develop leadership in the community in modern casework practice.” The name of the agency was changed to Family & Children’s Services, Inc., on January 8, 1974.
There have been two national affiliations. Membership in the Family Service Association of America was taken out in 1923, and the agency became a member of the Child Welfare League of America in 1951. In 1980, the agency terminated its adoption program due to lack of infants to place and inadequate funding for the program. Membership in the Child Welfare League of America was also terminated at this time. In 1994, Family & Children’s Services transferred all adoption files and records to Catholic Charities because it is active in the field of adoptive work and has the expertise and staff to provide information to the various individuals who request adoption history information.
Membership in the Alliance for Families & Children (formerly Family Service America) continues to the present time as does national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Family & Children’s Services is a member of the Indiana Family Service Council.
During the early 1980’s, in addition to our general mental health counseling program, a need was identified to expand services to address both child abuse and neglect and alcohol and drug related issues. Our programs have been certified by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction since 1982.
Providing the highest possible level of clinical psychotherapy within the social work and family service models continues to be the primary focus of Family & Children’s Services.