Family Service of the Piedmont resulted from the affiliation of Family & Children’s Service of Greater Greensboro (established in 1945) and Family Service of High Point (established in 1940). Both founding agencies evolved from charitable organizations created by the Greensboro/High Point community during and following World War II, and had as their mission, service to families under stress. They have continually addressed critical needs of the Greater Guilford County region for more than 70 years. As the community’s population has increased, so has the demand for services to promote healthy lives and relationships for families, children and individuals in times of crisis or transition. Expansion of the community’s need led to the affiliation of the two agencies.
Family Service of High Point was organized in 1940, following a needs assessment conducted by the High Point Junior League to survey community social welfare and health needs. The Family Service Bureau, as it was then named, was accepted as a new member agency of the High Point Community Chest, now the United Way of High Point, that same year. It became affiliated with the Family Service Association of America – now known as the Alliance for Children and Families – in 1949. The work of the Agency has remained focused upon marriage and family counseling, sexual assault services for adults and children and parent aid services. The agency’s rape crisis and sexual assault programs were added in 1979, followed by Family Life Education programming in 1982.
In 1985, Family Service of High Point adopted the High Point battered women’s shelter which had been operating independently in High Point since 1979. In 1990, in response to a rapidly increasing caseload of child victims, a Children’s Advocacy Center called Hope House was introduced. Following its pattern of strengthening the community through needs-based programming, Family Service of High Point expanded with a new division in 1991, Consumer Credit Counseling. Family Service of High Point was accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Services for Families and Children, beginning in 1974.
Similarly, Greensboro’s agency resulted from a study by the Junior League of Greensboro and the Council of Social Agencies that discovered a need for counseling services to families under stress. Largely through the League’s efforts, the Greensboro Community and War Chest, now the United Way of Greater Greensboro, approved a proposal on October 28, 1945, establishing the Family Services Agency. At the time, another organization called Traveler’s Aid provided assistance to travelers in distress without regard to age, race, creed, class, or sex, and without fee. In the early 1950’s the Community Chest proposed a merger of the Family Services Agency and Traveler’s Aid to streamline administration and increase efficiency. In November 1954, this merger was accomplished. The new organization was called Family Service-Traveler’s Aid. In the late 1950s, Family Service-Traveler’s Aid became part of a national network – the Family Service Association of America, known today as the Alliance for Children and Families.
In 1971, Consumer Credit Counseling Services was added to the Agency to assist families in financial difficulty. In 1982 three previously separate agencies, Women’s Aid, Child Abuse Prevention Services, and the Rape Action, Prevention and Education Center, were consolidated into a comprehensive abuse prevention program and brought into the Family Services Agency as “Turning Point.” At that time, the name of the agency was changed to Family and Children’s Service of Greater Greensboro. The following year, the agency purchased a permanent home called Clara House for its shelter for women and their children who faced potentially life-threatening domestic situations. In 1987 Traveler’s Aid was taken over by the Salvation Army. Family and Children’s Service had grown from a family-counseling agency into a comprehensive human service organization serving the needs of families throughout Greensboro.
As funding sources became increasingly competitive, as urban sprawl between Greensboro and High Point continued to blur lines between the two communities and as advanced technology had become an expensive, yet necessary resource for all businesses, including non-profits, Family & Children’s Service of Greater Greensboro and Family Service of High Point, entered a new phase in their evolution in 1997, announcing plans to merge. In order to expand and improve services to families and children in Guilford County, the Board of Directors of Family Service of High Point and Family and Children’s Service of Greater Greensboro made the commitment to merge in 1998. The affiliation of the two agencies became effective January 1, 1999. Today, prevention and education are as central to the mission of the agency as counseling and treatment. Family Service of the Piedmont has evolved into a leading provider of counseling and support services for a great variety of needs that affect today’s families. The agency is well respected and well prepared to explore new ways to build safe and healthy families in Guilford County. The founding agencies, Family Service of High Point and Family & Children’s Service of Greater Greensboro, evolved to become “Foundations” which now support the work of Family Service of the Piedmont through community-based fundraising and awareness activities. The agency is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3), United Way member-organization in both Greensboro and High Point that is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors selected from community leaders and is administered by a staff of professionals. Each year, it provides affordable, high quality counseling to over 28,000 families and individuals dealing with crises in their lives through its four divisions: Victim Services, Counseling Services, Family Support Services, and Consumer Credit Counseling.