MISSION STATEMENT: Empowering individuals and families to transform their lives and strengthen their community.
In March, 1903, the doors of a revolutionary new social service agency opened in San Antonio for the first time. The Charity Association of San Antonio and Bexar County, predecessor of Family Service Association of San Antonio, Inc., was founded by a group of public-minded community leaders. Their goal was to provide financial assistance to poor and needy families and prevent their exploitation by unscrupulous individuals. Although Family Service Association’s objectives and methodologies have changed over the years, its commitment to its mission of strengthening families has remained constant.
Family Service has grown and changed with the twentieth century itself. During the 1930’s when the government took responsibility for providing direct financial assistance, private charities began meeting other challenges. For Family Service this was the development of social casework. By the 1950’s, Family Service was providing high-quality, professional counseling services to the community. By the mid 1970’s, Family Service had identified another need in the community. Accordingly, home based services and group education for families were established. In the early 1990’s, the agency began providing some needed services through the creative use of volunteers, created the first teen-led gang alternative and implemented the largest Families and Schools Together (FAST) program in the United States. Family Service offers services that empower individuals and families to transform their lives and strengthen their community.
During its hundred plus years in San Antonio, Family Service Association has also provided leadership in developing other needed services. In collaboration with other community leaders, Family Service helped to found and establish the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The agency also initiated the City’s Homemaker Department. In 1940, Family Service was a founder of a new federated fund-raising group for private charities, the United Fund, today the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County.
Family Service Association began its life with conservative fiscal management, and balanced budgets have always been a hallmark. In 1903 the agency’s annual operating budget was $5,000. Family Service routinely receives “clean” independent financial audits, and regular recognition by the United Way for outstanding management.
Four traits have always characterized Family Service Association: innovative programs, collaboration with others in the community, responsible fiscal management, and an abiding dedication to families. The vision of a handful of leaders in 1903 has impacted hundreds of thousands of lives to date. Today the programs of Family Service continue to support positive family values, respect the changing role of the family, and assist children, seniors, and families to deal effectively with their problems and challenges. Family Service remains a premier resource for San Antonio families. Since 1903, we are the family you can always count on!