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The agency was born during the depression, in 1931, as a result of the need in the community for an organization to help meet the financial pressures of the times. It was first known as Associated Charities but after a few months the name was changed to Family Welfare Association. As the name suggests, its functions centered around direct aid and the relief of family stresses related to financial hardship. The purpose, as stated in its constitution, was, "Wherever possible, to restore disadvantaged families to social self-sufficiency and a normal life, by means of careful planning and the carrying out of such plans, which may involve relief, employment, medical care, education, and the solution of family difficulties of all kinds whether due to internal or external causes." Funds were received from the city, county, state and federal governments as well as from the Community Chest. During the year from October, 1932 to October, 1933, 2,040 families were helped and almost $213,000 was disbursed.
With changing economic conditions, the advent of Social Security, and the development of various programs of state, federal and local aid, the role of Family Welfare Association in providing direct financial assistance diminished. By 1936, disbursements had decreased to $2,000 per year. Total disbursements for the month of August, 1936, of $49.50 included $1 for relief, the rest being office expense and salaries.
In the forties, the agency operated an unemployment bureau and a social service department, which mainly did investigations for other agencies, such as the Township Supervisor's office, the public schools, and the probation office. It also dispensed orders for shoes through the Courier-News shoe fund, and served as a clearinghouse for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. A few individual cases were assisted with financial and medical problems.
In 1957, Dr. Leland Brubaker was hired as Executive Director. Thereafter, the emphasis on the provision of professional counseling services to families and individuals increased and has become the primary focus of the agency.
In 1963, the name of the agency was changed to Family Service Association to reflect the fact that service rather than welfare was now the agency's function.
Dr. Brubaker moved to California in l964 after several years as director.
Don Taylor became director.
The agency moved to new offices on the fifth floor of the Professional Building. Branch office in Hanover Township is opened
The staff consisted of two full-time counselors, including the director, and four part-time counselors.
The name of the agency is changed once again, to Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area, since our service area includes the townships of Elgin, Hanover, Plato and Burlington.
The Youth Counseling Program is initiated. In 1976 a Senior Services Program was added. This program includes counseling for seniors either in their homes or in the office, friendly visiting in area nursing homes, and information and referral services to assist seniors in getting hooked up with other community resources.
At the urging of United Way of Elgin, its Financial Counseling and Debt Management Program was launched. Later the agency expanded through the addition of the Dundee-Carpentersville area, previously served by Family Service of Dundee Township.
FSA is awarded a grant from the Illinois Department of Mental Health to offer Screening Assessment and Support Services (SASS) to severely emotionally disturbed children/adolescents and their families. The agencies proposal was one of twelve funded from over eighty proposals from other agencies across the state.
The Older Adult Services, the Youth and Family Counseling Program and the Adult Counseling Program were brought together under one program name, now known as Therapy Services.
The agency added the Family Support Service.
Mark Nelson retired in June of 2001 and Lisa La Forge was appointed the Executive Director in July of 2001.
In October of 2001, the agency began providing mental health services to children housed in the Kane County Juvenile Detention Facility on Geneva.
The agency budget in fiscal year 2004 was approximately $1,700,000 and the professional staff included forty-four full-time and part-time staff.
The agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc. The agency is a member of the National Foundation for Consumer Credit Counseling and the Elgin, Cardunal and Streamwood Chambers of Commerce.
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