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Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. records

Call Number: MS 1808

Scope and Contents

The Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. (FCGNH) records document the administrative history of a local social welfare agency from 1881 to 2000. The early organization began as a philanthropic society but became a professional social service agency. In contrast to other social service agencies in other states, prominent male community leaders formed and ran the FCGNH, but as it shifted to a professional social service agency in the 1920s, the board hired female social workers and home visitors. The professionalization of social work grew out of the settlement house movement and was institutionalized at the national level when Congress established the Children's Bureau, in the Department of Labor, to address maternal and children's health. Together, the settlement house movement and the Children's Bureau promoted social work through new professional programs at the university level, which in turn, shaped the social service mission of the FCGNH. The records of the FCGNH provide a regional example of the success of the Children's Bureau to promote local state agencies committed to child and family welfare during the Progressive Era and post war years. At the local level, the records document the hardships of social change, poverty, and family breakdown caused by industrialization, immigration, economics, and war. These records further reveal the difficulties the organization faced in maintaining welfare-based services with limited resources.


  • 1881-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Scrapbooks may not be photocopied.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. (FCGNH) has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc., 2002.


Arranged in three series: I. Annual Reports and Meeting Minutes, 1881-1993. II. Administrative Records, 1887-2000. III. Outreach and Publicity, 1953-2000.


9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. records document the administrative history of a local social welfare agency from 1881 to 2000. The records consist largely of annual reports and minute records of the board of directors, other sub-committee minute records and reports, financial, fund raising records, correspondence, case files, newsletters, New Haven Register column "What's Your Problem?," scrapbooks, photographs and slides.

Biographical / Historical

The Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. (FCGNH) provided welfare and social services for 124 years to New Haven County. The organization underwent significant transformations, including several name changes during its history: Organized Charities Society (1878-1887); Organized Charities Association (1888-1929); Family Society of New Haven (1930-1945); Family Service of New Haven (1946-1971); and Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. (1972-2002).

The group that became known as the FCGNH was first established in 1878 under the name Organized Charities Society, but within a few years adopted the name Organized Charities Association (OCA). Francis Wayland, dean of the Yale Law School, served as the president of the organization for its first twenty-five years. The OCA initially formed as an emergency measure to deal with the growing population of unemployed transients. Within a few years, the OCA shifted emphasis from the unemployed to providing relief to the "worthy" poor in the form of food and fuel assistance, housing, and employment. It also served as the clearinghouse for charity organizations in New Haven. By 1881, the organization adopted the functions and goals of the Charity Organization Society, which began in London in 1869. This society sought to teach families how to be self-sufficient, educate the community in the "correct" principles of relief, and eradicate poverty. The OCA became the second non-sectarian Charity Organization Society in the United States. It instituted home visiting and sent out visiting agents to the poor, and in many cases recommended the removal of children to orphanages and correctional facilities.

By the early twentieth century, the OCA shifted from a benevolent society to a professional family relief organization. The first visiting nurse joined the staff in 1913, and the Case Study Committee was formed to supervise the work of "friendly" visitors and to discuss individual cases. World War I and the influenza epidemic marked the reorganization of the society, as the demands for family casework service increased. By the 1920s, a small staff of trained social workers assumed casework responsibilities. As the society professionalized, the OCA joined nationally recognized social work organizations, including the American Association for Organizing Family Social Work, the National Social Workers' Exchange and the American Association for Social Work.  Reflecting the new emphasis on family casework, the organization changed names to the Family Society of New Haven in 1930, and in 1946 it became the Family Service of New Haven (FSNH). Between 1935 and 1955 a number of new programs, including psychiatric consultation and group therapy were added, and the "Supervised Homemaker Services Program" was implemented in 1943 to address maternal and child health cases. By the 1960s, the FSNH increased its role in the community by offering services to the inner city and offered advice through the "What's Your Problem?" column in the New Haven Register.

In the late 1960s, FSNH worked collaboratively with Community Progress, Inc. to provide mental health services to New Haven as well as other communities in the state. FSNH received a number of inquiries from local cities to establish branch offices to meet the growing demand for mental health services. In the 1970s, the board of directors received funding from Orange, Guilford, and Madison, which led to the formation of branch offices in these towns. New programs aimed at youth services, parenting, child abuse, crisis intervention, and rehabilitation for developmentally disabled adults were added and the FCGNH became a licensed psychiatric clinic. By the 1990s, substance abuse programs and employee assistance programs were established. Long standing financial problems, however, plagued the organization and in 2002 the board of directors permanently ended 124 years of "unbroken service."

Guide to the Family Counseling of Greater New Haven, Inc. Records
Under Revision
compiled by Danelle Moon
November 2003
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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