Careers & Internships | Compliance

April/May 2019 Newsletter

Brian Doyle

I am pleased to let our readers know that the merger of Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health has been fully approved and is effective April 1, 2019! This follows a November 2017 decision by both Boards, and the ensuing necessary legal and regulatory steps involved in such a consolidation.

As a fully unified agency we will continue to provide and improve upon the services that the 17,000 people throughout Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties have come to see as vital to their continued success. Such improvements, in large part, will be supported by the strengthened collaborations between our behavioral health expertise, and those programs that, every day, focus on social determinants of one’s long term health.

Overseeing the breadth of services that include those which had been performed by both Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health, Joan Crawford is the Chief Program Officer who will be working closely with our Vice President for Community Programs and Vice President for Behavioral Health (Leah Feldman and Robin Peritz, respectively).

The Community Programs consist of Family Programs, Youth Services, Victim Services, Community Safety, and Prevention. The Family Partnership Center also continues to be a huge part of Family Services and our surrounding community. The Behavioral Health Centers include those clinics located in Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Millbrook, Dover, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Ellenville, and New Paltz.

Finally, I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without extending my thanks to our dedicated Board Members, our committed Leadership Team and all of those who have successfully led and participated in this merger process. We ARE stronger together!

Of course, should you have any questions or concerns about the consolidation of the two agencies or anything related to the service needs that we address, please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of our Leadership Team.

NATCON 2019: Information and Inspiration

Natalie Borquist
Chief Financial Officer

Integrated Services – Country Music – Access to Care – Cowboy Boots – Telepsychiatry – BBQ

What in the world can these have in common? Well, myself and three of my colleagues, had the opportunity in March to attend this year’s 50th Anniversary conference of the National Council for Behavioral Health (NatCon 2019) in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the preeminent annual gathering of Behavioral Health professionals from around the country and beyond.

And yes, there was music, boots and BBQ, but the real take-aways were the informative and inspirational seminars that so beneficially coincided with our recent merger with our affiliate, Hudson Valley Mental Health.

We all returned with ideas, strategies, and models for operations, service delivery, performance indicators, data collection, and other day-to-day practical measures to aid Family Services in our efforts to improve the provision of behavioral health care services in the Hudson Valley. Our goal of implementing Substance Use Disorder services in our centers will certainly be guided by the information gleaned by our Chief Program Officer, Joan Crawford, who attended several sessions on the subject. Our VP of Operations, Casey Hons, will be sharing with her team the latest material on data collection for moving into the Value-Based Payment arena. Robin Peritz, our VP of Behavioral Health, learned more about critical ways to support our staff in the high demand work we do and how the impact of the stress affects motivation, quality of work, and job satisfaction.

And then came the inspiration!

First, thousands of committed, passionate professionals showed up in Nashville to learn, to network, to share, and to lend a compassionate ear.  Truly a testament to the behavioral health community’s might!

Then there were the moments that lifted us…that put the extra spark in us to keep going and do more!

Casey Hons meeting Mei-Ling Hoshing

Casey had a truly emotional experience listening to Mei-Ling Hoshing, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting, share her story and call us to action, honoring the voices of youth and addressing the disparities in our communities.

Joan, Robin and I were so fortunate to be right up front for the incredibly impassioned presentation by the Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the nation’s leading political voices on mental illness, addiction and other brain diseases.  Amidst some self-deprecating humor and personal stories of his fight with addiction, he tackled the issue of parity and access to care for those struggling with mental illness and addiction.  He spoke forcefully, even angrily at times, about this public health crisis and the lack of attention and resources directed to it.  He has founded The Kennedy Forum and to take this issue head on.

Robin Peritz and Joan Crawford with the Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy

Surely a productive and meaningful few days for the four of us…information, inspiration, and yes, the shared experience of music, boots, and BBQ!

Program Spotlights

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a multidisciplinary team of all systems that respond to sexual violence in Dutchess County. The team consists of partners in county government, victim/survivor advocacy, sexual assault forensic exam providers, law enforcement, prosecution, clinical sex offense-specific treatment, probation, and local colleges. The multidisciplinary model of SART is a visionary collaboration to ensure that no matter where a victim/survivor discloses their sexual assault, the response is consistent, victim/survivor-centered, and trauma-informed. SART is founded on the ethic that victims/survivors of sexual assault have the right to make their own decisions related to their medical care and their involvement with the criminal justice system while interacting with a team of respectful, educated responders.

For the past year, the SART Coordinator has been working collaboratively among partners to develop a county-wide protocol for response to sexual assault. This month, SART Steering Committee is submitting the final draft of protocol to the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services for approval. SART Protocol describes a standard of care to be provided to victims/survivors, provides a clear point at which every victim/survivor is connected to advocacy services, and outlines the roles of SART partners.

Supervised Visitation Program

Our family programs provide critical services to parents and throughout the Hudson Valley focused on nurturing, safety and support.  April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Pinwheels for Prevention symbolize this nationwide campaign.  Without safe and stable homes for children to grow up in, we have no future.  Every action taken to support families makes a difference!

Actions can be as large as writing to a Legislator to advocate for funding for family programs, or as small as offering to babysit for a friend.  Sometimes it’s nice just to offer a smile or supportive comment to a parent who’s struggling to manage a child’s behavior in the grocery store.  A simple gesture of support can make a huge difference for someone who is overwhelmed.  At our Family Education Centers in Kingston and Middletown, you will see pinwheel gardens popping up throughout the month of April.

May is Supervised Visitation Month acknowledged with an orange ribbon, a bright and bold color to symbolize the need for communities to take notice that there are thousands of children in need of these services.  Family Services are members of the Supervised Visitation Network, a multi-national network of agencies and individuals who are interested in assuring that children can have safe, conflict-free access to parents with whom they do not reside.

Some of the children who need these services live in foster homes or with relatives. Some live with one parent who is estranged from the other.  No matter the circumstance, children deserve the opportunity to spend time with their parents.  Our family program centers offer these services in a family-like setting with professionally trained family educators.  Our educators ensure the physical and emotional safety of all family members while also providing parent coaching and support before, during and after visits.

 A Look Back

In March…
Thank you Ulster County Savings Bank in Red Hook for hosting Family Services Center for Victim Safety and Support as non-profit of the month. The Red Hook branch hosted a CVSS information table all month long and collected personal care items for our clients such as shampoo, deodorant, soaps, and cleaning supplies.
The Dutchess County Magistrates Association welcomed Leah Feldman, Vice President for Community Programs and Brian Doyle, CEO to join their monthly meeting. It was a great opportunity to share information about the many ways in which we serve our community, including the Lethality Assessment Program, an innovative domestic violence homicide prevention initiative. We are proud to partner with local Magistrates and other members of the Criminal Justice Community in keeping our community safe!

The Poughkeepsie-Arlington Rotary Club invited our CEO, Brian Doyle and Director of Development, Whitney Humphrey to present highlights of the many ways in which Family Services works to Provide Hope, Improve Lives and Strengthen the Community. Brian and Whitney shared news of program expansions in Youth Services and Victim Services, an update on the renovated Gymnasium and new Urban Park at the Family Partnership Center, and Family Services expansion into Behavioral Health, through consolidation with Hudson Valley Mental Health.


Upcoming Events

Family Services Visions of Hope & Healing is an annual event in recognition of Crime Victims Right’s Week, where survivors, advocates, criminal justice partners, and the community of supporters, come together in a celebration of strength to ensure that victims are treated with dignity and respect.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Family Services is joining the campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.


Please join us on April 25th as we recognize the Arnoff and Rossi Families for their commitment to our community! This signature event not only recognizes two incredible families, but also raises funds to support the work of Family Services throughout Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. For more information or to purchase your tickets, please click here.

You don’t want to miss this special evening!

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