Our mission is to provide affordable and accessible outpatient behavioral health care and prevention services for children, teens, and adults.
History of Family Counseling Services
In 1970, Family Court Judge Richard Shay recognized a lack of options for youth coming into his court. Through his efforts, a committee was formed and they secured a grant from the Ford Foundation to establish Volunteer Family Counseling Services of Cortland County which was officially incorporated in January 1971. The demonstration project was designed to see if community volunteers could be trained to provide effective family counseling services. Volunteer Family Counseling Services became the first organization in New York State to divert juveniles from family court into a counseling program.
The early success of the volunteer family counselors led the agency to add a volunteer youth mentoring program. The youth mentors provided one-to-one counseling and support for troubled youth. Increased demand from the community and the effectiveness of the volunteer program led to the expansion of services and the addition of professional counseling staff. The range of available services was expanded to include child sexual abuse treatment, court diversion counseling, and alcohol and drug treatment, followed by the addition of a licensed mental health clinic treatment program.
In 1992, the name of the agency was changed to Family Counseling Services of Cortland County following the transition from volunteer staff to all professional counselors. While the agency no longer uses volunteers to provide any adult or family counseling services, the volunteer youth mentoring program continues to thrive and serve youth throughout Cortland County.
The organization has continued to grow and opened a satellite clinic in Oneida to extend mental health and chemical dependency services to the residents of Madison County. In 2013, Cortland Prevention Resources became a division of Family Counseling Services after a successful merger. With the addition of prevention and LGBTQ programming, a continuum of services is now available to the central New York community.