April/May 2020


A Note From Our CEO
Brian Doyle

Our world continues to look a little different than it did several weeks ago, and it is without question that we are living in unprecedented times. As many of us have transitioned our homes into offices and school classrooms, and many others have had to temporarily close their businesses or apply for unemployment, we all have had our worlds rearranged in some way and are adjusting to a new way of life amidst this Coronavirus epidemic.Every day it seems, we are hearing more unsettling news of the economic impacts and the emotional tolls that the virus has had on our nation and world. However, even in a world that has asked us to socially distance ourselves from our communities, families and friends, we have proven that we can be resilient to the loneliness and stress that this time often brings. We can be kind and compassionate and we are seeing moments of that every day. I have heard countless stories of people and businesses stepping up in extraordinary ways for their communities to provide a wave of hope in these uncertain times.

I am struck by the compassion of the healthcare workers providing both medical and emotional support to the influx of patients battling this virus alone. I have been in awe of the adaptability of businesses to move their services remotely and online, or have transitioned their industries to provide resources most needed. And I have been encouraged to see communities asking their neighbors and friends most at risk of contracting the virus how they can help.

Here at Family Services, I am amazed by the ability of our own staff to adapt and continue providing our much-needed, life-saving services to the community. The needs of children, adults and families do not stop during a crisis, and we recognize that our services are crucial now more than ever. During these challenging times, we are:

  • Increasing behavioral health support. Our counselors and medical staff are providing support remotely and taking new clients in order to help people find support through these new difficulties.
  • Helping those experiencing domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence see increased risk when quarantined with their abuser and our advocates have remained available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Working with families that are facing new obstacles as they meet the roles of both caregiver and teacher while working from home or even facing job loss. Our Family Education is there to help families at increased risk of child abuse.
  • Keeping the community informed by providing vital information, resources and updates through our websiteFacebook and Instagram.
Our community is compassionate and resilient. We will get through this and be stronger for it. We are thinking of you and your family, and hope that you stay safe during this time.

By the Numbers

184 more neighbors served
through our Behavioral Health Services

In this time of uncertainty, many are feeling scared, anxious and isolated and need access to compassionate mental health support. Over the past month, the weekly average of clients served through Behavioral Health Services has increased dramatically from from 731 clients per week to to 915 clients per week. Our team of counselors and medical staff are ready to meet the increased need for support due to COVID 19.

Attending to our Mental Health in the Time of Coronavirus
By Robin Peritz
Vice President for Behavioral Health

Just a short time ago, the onset of the Coronavirus seemed to be happening far from our communities and families. I never imagined us experiencing a time of illness and loss of life, the need for social isolation, closing of schools, the economic impact of unemployment and even something as basic as the inability to buy toilet paper. The carefree days of visiting family, friends and colleagues were suddenly put on hold while we practice social distancing. Shopping for groceries is now something we wish we could do with the freedom of just a few weeks ago when we did not need a mask and gloves to leave our homes. The safety, comfort and predictability of our routines of daily living have been turned upside down.

In the midst of dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus, it is common for any of us to experience increased levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, or difficulty being clean and sober from alcohol and other drugs during this time of rapid change.

As a social worker for over 25 years, my goal has been to help people find hope and to support our ability to be resilient in the face of crisis. While at first glance we might feel that the adverse impact of the Coronavirus is too overwhelming and out of control. However, we must find our strength in the face of adversity. We know that people who go through difficult life experiences can emerge from them stronger and more resilient.

What can we all do to cope with the changes in our lives due to the onset of the Coronavirus?

  • Use this time to connect with family and friends through phone calls or other social media.
  • Be gentle with yourself. These are stressful times. Don’t ignore your thoughts and feelings. It’s okay to cry. Reach out to your support network.
  • Start a gratitude journal. What are some small and some bigger things to be grateful for? Think about sunshine, fresh air, dancing, books, Netflix, popcorn and laughing.
  • Start some healthy habits. Take a walk, exercise, drink water, and stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • If you have not tried relaxation or meditation techniques, now would be a great time to try it. There are many free apps to download on your cell phone or computer. New Yorkers can download this free mindfulness and meditation resource by clicking the link here to Headspace.
  • Set limits on how much time you spend watching news reports.
  • Plan meals and cook some favorite foods.

Make taking care of your physical and mental health a priority during this time and always.

Where can you get help?
Utilize telehealth: Family Services Behavioral Health Programs remain open to the people we serve.
For appointments in Dutchess County, call 845-485-9700.
For appointments in Ulster County, call 845-486-2703 ext. 4016.

If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Dutchess County Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 845-485-9700 or the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. Family of Woodstock has a 24-hour hotline at 845-338-2370 or 845-679-2485. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

Program Spotlights

Center for Victim Safety and Support/
Sexual Assault Response Team

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time for individuals and organizations to raise awareness about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse and educate communities on how to prevent it. While Family Services does this vital work everyday of the year, during April we invite the community to join us in raising awareness by participating in Wear Teal Day on April 7th and Wear Denim Day on April 29th. Throughout the month of April, we will be bringing awareness to sexual assault by posting a fact about sexual violence a day on Family Services social media: Facebook and Instagram.

Each year Family Services celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by hosting our Annual Hope and Healing Art Show and Awards Ceremony. While we are unable to host this special event in April this year, we raise awareness from a distance and pay special tribute to this year’s “Champions of Victim’s Rights”: Allison Stuart, ADA with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office and valued partner in the community and Amy Cole, long time Family Services Director of Family Support Services and fierce advocate for child victims. We hope to hold the ceremony honoring these incredible partners soon!

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Victim Safety and Support is unable to provide in-person support and services. The Sexual Assault Response Team has worked hard to ensure our clients will continue to access vital resources and support. Our 24-hour hotlines are available. Although advocates cannot be physically present, they are able to assist our clients through this difficult time and follow up in the days ahead. At hospitals, nurses connect the client with an advocate through the hotline. We are observing a decrease in clients showing up at the hospitals for sexual assaults. This might be due to people avoiding the hospital out of fear of exposure to COVID-19. It may also be due to the local colleges being closed, as statistics show the ages of 18-24 have the highest number of sexual assaults. We will continue to track how COVID-19 is affecting our clients.

 Family Education Program 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. With the pandemic this year, there is a greater sense of urgency on raising awareness about child abuse. Now more than ever, stressors such as financial uncertainty, anxiety about the unknown, physical, social and mental health issues may contribute to triggers that result in child abuse. Social distancing and school closures may also add to the stress experienced by both adults and children.

While the statistics being circulated are alarming, there are resources that may be helpful in this volatile time of our lives:

  • Colorín Colorado is a bilingual, educational-resource site that includes some news and suggestions related to English-language learners’ (ELLs) education during this time. This may help mitigate the stress of some Spanish-speaking parents in finding online educational resources to continue their children’s education from home.

In the Family Education Program, our Family Educators are providing guidance for families during this crisis by conducting virtual check-ins with families they work with, as well as providing resources for families and conducting parenting groups remotely.

The Family Education Program uses the Nurturing Parenting Program, by Dr. Stephen Bavolek, in our work with families. Through the curriculum, we empower parents to experience, learn and practice nurturing parenting skills in order to become more nurturing parents to their children and break the cycle of abuse and neglect. The Nurturing Parenting Program reminds us that “Needs are the SPICES of Life” and serve as a good reminder for all of us during these unprecedented times.

“Needs are the SPICES of Life”
Social Needs
The need for friendship, for companionship.
Physical Needs
The need for sleep, for food, for exercise.
Intellectual Needs
The need for intellectual stimulation, for thinking new thoughts, for reading challenging books, for learning something new.
Creative Needs
The need to make something, to dance, to write a poem, to create something.
Emotional Needs
The need for love, for praise, for feeling worthwhile.
Spiritual Needs
The need to know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that we can increase our awareness of and sensitivity to it.
Remember to add some SPICE into your life!

A Look Back

In early March, prior to COVID-19 social distancing mandates, participants of the Teen Resource Activity Center’s Poughkeepsie Youth Theatre had a wonderful time traveling to New York City to watch a performance of the CAT Youth Theatre. They even got to meet the cast!

We miss seeing all the children in our After the Bell Program! Before distance learning began, kids at the Smith Street Learning Center had a fun visit from students at the Millbrook School. Millbrook School students read to our youth and helped with homework.

Volunteer Highlight

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen an unbelievable display of kindness throughout our community. Just one example of this kindness is Jay, an 18 year old who is studying Criminal Justice at Orange County Community College. He’s also the grandson of our Director of Family Support Services, Pat DeJesus. When stores were selling out of cleaning supplies and our vendors were out themselves, this young man hopped into action and through his connections at work, got us 100 containers of clorox wipes in order to help keep our sites across Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties disinfected for the health and safety of clients and staff. We thank Jay and thank everyone who is stepping up in such amazing ways in order to meet the needs of our community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Success Stories In This Time of Crisis

To see more success stories, follow us on

Upcoming Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has us all missing our after school workers these days! Share with us your message, photos, or artwork of what you miss most about after school by tagging Family Services in your Facebook or Instagram (make sure the posts are public) so that we can let our after school workers know how much we appreciate them during Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week!

Wear jeans with a purpose this April 29th and tag us in your social media (make sure the posts are public) so we can share your support and solidarity for survivors of sexual assault.

Why Denim?
The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.

Click here for more information about Denim Day.

Join Family Services and other local area organizations on May 20th for #HVGives. #HVGives is a 24-hour day of giving that helps benefit many of your favorite non-profits in the Hudson Valley. Mark your calendars, bookmark our page and get ready to show your support!

Click Here to Visit Our #HVGives Page

Don’t want to wait until #HVGives Day to support Family Services?

Shop and Support Family Services

Help us build stronger, safer communities when you shop online!
By choosing Family Services as your charity of choice through AMAZON SMILE, Amazon will donate .5% of all qualified purchases to Family Services! 


Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2019
Leadership Partner

February/March 2020


Brian Doyle
2019 was an incredible year for Family Services—filled with celebration of major agency milestones. We are excited for what 2020 will bring and are grateful to do this work alongside of our community of friends.
Many thanks to the 200 plus friends and supporters who joined us at our Report to the Community Luncheon at the Poughkeepsie Grand on February 6th. There was great energy in the room as we shared agency accomplishments of the past year and recognized partners in the community.
Our 2019 endeavors included formal consolidation with Hudson Valley Mental Health; creation of a new mission, vision and logo; strengthened focus on quality improvement; and numerous program successes. This has all been about better meeting the needs of over 19,000 of our Hudson Valley neighbors as we work to fulfill our vision of ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to lead their best lives.
We also took advantage of the room full of friends to celebrate the contributions of several of our important community partners: Nuvance Health, L’Quette Taylor, Maureen Murphy, and Amy Cole.
This annual luncheon also offered us an opportunity to share some of our plans, hopes and challenges we will pursue in the year ahead, particularly in the important efforts around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as working with partners in the community to meet the complex behavioral health and substance use needs in our community.
The afternoon was capped off with an informative, thoughtful, and enthusiastic keynote presentation from Dr. Anthony Salerno on Understanding Resiliency and how we can develop a more comprehensive trauma informed care approach in our community. In sharing his wisdom with our partners in business, government and nonprofits arenas, Dr. Salerno encouraged us to “focus on the STRONG, not on the WRONG” and to help our community focus on the numerous strengths each person “brings to the table”.
I invite you to learn more about how Family Services brings people together to find the support they need by reading our latest Annual Report. As always, we thank you, our community, for the many ways you support the wide array of work we do throughout Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

By the Numbers


Children, adults and families were supported through our program areas in Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.
Behavioral Health Centers
Victim Services
Family Programs
Youth Services
Community Safety
The Family Partnership Center

Celebrating Our Social Workers
By Joan Crawford
Chief Program Officer
Family Services is celebrating Social Work month in March, this year’s theme is “Generations Strong”. The Social Work Month campaign will inform the public, policy makers and legislators about the way nation’s more that 700,000 social workers from every generation are shaping our society for the better.
Reading through the materials for Social Work month had me thinking about the many people who choose a career working for non-profit agencies. Family Services employs more that 200 people throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley. These are social workers and other licensed mental health professionals, accountants, HR professionals, security personnel, advocates, educators, maintenance staff, and many others. Each and everyone are drawn to our mission. These are individuals who are committed to making things better for others.
Working in a non-profit brings a kind of pressure that is not always experienced in other types of work. Employees who work in non-profits live with the uncertainty of unstable funding, pilot projects, temporary positions and flat funding. Along with those pressures, we also ask our employees to be innovative, efficient, use best practices and have high levels of productivity, provide complex documentation to ensure compliance with multiple regulatory bodies, all while creating a warm and welcoming environment. Our employees do all this while being mindful that at the forefront of all that they do is an emphasis on client care. This is truly noble and aspirational work. In fact, the NYS Council for Community Behavioral Health recently highlighted challenges facing NYS nonprofits, including those challenges faced by the incredible human services workforce, in a recent publication. To see the fact sheet, please click here.
Family Services leadership team understands that often employees in non-profits are driven to go above and beyond because of the intrinsic rewards of knowing they are helping others and strengthening communities. We also understand how important it is for our staff to engage in self-care, utilize paid time off, and engage in activities developed through our wellness committee. We also understand how important it is to have input from all of our employees on how to improve our clients experience with Family Services as well as our employee’s experience. Family Services has multiple leaderships teams, a learning collaborative, a mentorship program as well as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee who advise and shape the work we do.
I am grateful to have spent the past 21 years working along side these extraordinary people at Family Services and look forward to many more.

Program Spotlights

The Family Partnership Center

Family Services is for collaboration and there is no better example of this than the amazing work that takes place at the Family Partnership Center! The FPC is home to 21 nonprofit and related organizations offering a variety of community services from healthcare and education to emergency services and recreation. At the FPC, the community comes together for conversation, recreation, arts and fun! The holiday season is a time when the FPC and its many partner agencies honor the treasured celebrations of our community. The FPC lobby was festively decorated to welcome its many visitors and the FPC was proud to once again serve as the location of the Three Kings Day Celebration organized by FPC partner Hudson River Health Care.
In December, the Family Partnership Center also received a wonderful gift – announcement that we have been awarded $490,000 in funding through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application process. This is a huge step toward the $750,000 or so needed for renovations to the FPC front entryway. We are excited to provide greater wheelchair and stroller access as well as a more welcoming entry to this critically important community building. We are excited to share more as this project unfolds.

 Sexual Assault Response Team

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a multidisciplinary team working to provide trauma-informed, victim/survivor-centered response to sexual violence in Dutchess County. SART brings together victim advocacy, medical/forensic providers, law enforcement, criminal prosecution, probation, clinical sex offender treatment, and college campuses to ensure a consistent and coordinated response to sexual assault. SART not only reviews cases of sexual assault, but the staff trains local law enforcement and advocates across Dutchess County to increase knowledge of the importance of a victim centered response to sexual assault. Community awareness is a key component of SART as well and at the end of 2019, SART was excited to unveil a billboard that highlights Family Services 24/7 sexual assault and rape crisis hotline.

A Look Back

On Thursday, February 6th at The Poughkeepsie Grand, we celebrated with our 210 supporters, government officials and community members all of our accomplishments from 2019 and shared what lay ahead in 2020.
The energy was high as we heard an enthusiastic keynote from Dr. Anthony Salerno, Consultant with the National Council for Behavioral Health, on Understanding Resiliency and how we can develop a more comprehensive trauma informed care approach.

Upcoming Events


Shop and Support Family Services

Help us build stronger, safer communities when you shop online!
By choosing Family Services as your charity of choice through AMAZON SMILE, Amazon will donate .5% of all qualified purchases to Family Services! 


Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2019
Leadership Partner

December 2019/January 2020 Newsletter


Brian Doyle

It has been an exhilarating 2019 for all of us at Family Services.  The long-awaited merger of Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health was finalized in April.  And while that was the date of the formal merger, leading up to that milestone and in the days since then, we as a now consolidated agency have been working diligently on having “all of the pieces fit together”.

I have been inspired by the many ways in which all staff from the Leadership Team on out to the “front lines” have undertaken this work to make sure that all of us are working in a coordinated manner to provide the best services possible to the many individuals who rely on us.

And, while this merger has been an important undertaking, I am reminded of what, I believe, is closer to what inspires us in this work every day.

I was recently reading about thoughts shared by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer—“Giving is the primary relationship between one person and another, not the secondary one. It is family member to family member, friend to friend, colleague to colleague. People to community. It is the elemental desire to transform isolation and self-centeredness into connectiveness and caring. A personality awakens itself by how it gives.”

As I reflect on those thoughts, I immediately think of the many employees who are making connections to the people that we serve in the various corners of the community—People we serve through our Behavioral Health Centers, Youth Services, Family Programs, Victim Services, Prevention efforts, Community Safety and in the Family Partnership Center. They benefit from the sheer human kindness and caring offered by our staff.

I’m reminded of what I once heard that for all the good that is done by “programs”, “departments”, “funding” and all the rest in our world of work, what improves people’s lives most are the relationships. The relationship that is created when somebody experiences caring that is extended by another and faith that is shared, there is hope created within that relationship—hope that there can be a better life.

And, of course, we cannot do this work without supporters like you— supporters who embody Bonhoeffer’s sentiments: “Giving is the primary relationship between one person and another…people to community.”

At its core, this is the spirit of Family Services and I thank all of our employees and supporters for joining us in this important journey. Have a Blessed Holiday!

By the Numbers


Thanks to the generosity of the Holiday Helping Hand Program, a partnership of United Way of the Orange-Dutchess Region and the Poughkeepsie Journal, Family Services was able to provide:
9 families served by Family Services
Center for Victim Safety and Support
received utility assistance
9 families served by Family Services
Children’s Center at Dutchess County Family Court
received gift cards to local retailers
9 teens in Family Services
Teen Resource Activity Center
received gift cards to local retailers

Mission: Past, Present, and Future
Christopher R. Pels
Vice President for HR, Risk Management,and Organizational Development

In six years at Family Services I’ve spoken with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals who are interested in coming to work with us. Our staff come from a wide range of backgrounds but a common thread that hold us all together is a passion for the mission of Family Services. Oh and by the way that passion is INFECTIOUS!

When I speak with individuals about Family Services I make sure to share two essential bits of information in understanding who we are and what we do. First, I remind individuals that Family Services has been doing this work for a very long time—in fact as we were founded in 1879 we’ve been doing this work for 140 years! Second, I’ve committed to memory our mission and tagline—both our current mission as well as our historical mission. The words of our founder, Reverend A. Edward Lawrence, Jr., have always resonated strongly with me—that our work is about the need to “raise the needy above the need of relief”. I make a point of highlighting that although the term “needy” is antiquated the idea of helping individuals help themselves has always been a core part of our work.

Up until very recently I could, by memory, recite our recently retired tagline: providing hope, improving lives, and strengthening communities. I would use this tagline to describe the work of our programs—programs that serve over 17,000 individuals a year! However, very recently I’ve had a chance to try on our brand new mission statement: Family Services brings people together to find the support they need, improving their lives and communities, and building a stronger, safer Hudson Valley. I have to confess it will take a few more weeks to commit this new mission to memory; however I can tell you having repeated it numerous times to prospective applicants this mission statement is completely and totally in line with the work we’ve been doing for over a century! This mission also speaks to why I, and I sense all of my colleagues, spend so many of our waking hours doing this work.

I was recently asked by an applicant what I like about working at Family Services and my answer was as clear and infectious in that conversation as it has been for the last 6 years. I want to wake up every day and support staff who are doing work that is live saving and live enhancing. This is exactly what our staff do at Family Services so it is remarkably easy to get out of bed in the morning and give it my all (even on the those mornings when my toddler is having her terrible two moments!) Staff at Family Services have been giving their all to our community throughout our 140 year history and as we embark on a new chapter in our history with a new mission, vision, and brand I look forward to 140 more years of building a stronger, safer, Hudson Valley!

The Holidays and Behavioral Health
Andrew Martin, LCSW-R
Director, Ulster County Behavioral Health Centers

The holidays can be a special and joyful time for many of us. A time filled with happy reconnections with family and friends. It is a busy time and a time of giving.

For some, the holidays are anything but what they are portrayed to be on television and in the movies. There may be no singing, no family meals, no joyous children tearing open gifts. For some, the holidays may be filled with uncertainty, fear, and loss. The holidays can often be a time when people feel disconnected or lonely. Perhaps for some, the holidays have not always been a positive experience.

In behavioral health, we have an added duty to be aware that while we may decorate our offices because we associate the holidays with joy, not everyone shares that experience. While some clients had wonderful holidays as children, they may have had difficult experiences as adults. Perhaps there is struggle to meet expectations that others may place on gift giving or struggles with feelings that they can’t give enough. Feeling disconnected during the holidays can happen for any number of reasons.

It is important at this time of year to be mindful of others’ needs and it is also a time to remember to self-care. Take time for yourself. Reach out to friends or family for support. If you need to, seek support from service providers or find resources in the community when family and friends cannot be the support you need or want.

At Family Services, we celebrate the holidays and we acknowledge that for some, there is no celebration so we offer a safe place to converse and share experiences. We respect your right to not celebrate. We welcome your experience and take you as you are at any time of the year.

Family Services can help you or a loved one meet behavioral health needs. We have centers throughout Dutchess County in Beacon, Dover Plains, Millbrook, Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck. In Ulster County, you can receive services in Ellenville, Kingston and New Paltz. For appointments in Dutchess County, call 845-485-9700, and for appointments in Ulster County, call 845-486-2703 ext. 4016.

Family Services partners with organizations to offer immediate support to clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911. In Dutchess County, call the Helpline at 845-485-9700. In Ulster County, contact Family of Woodstock at 845-338-2370. In Orange County, contact Access Support for Living at 1-888-750-2266.

Wherever you are this holiday season, know that we wish you well and are here to help if you need us.

Program Spotlights

Children’s Center at Family Court

It has been an exciting year at the Patricia A Kennedy Children’s Center at Dutchess County Family Court! The Center is proud to be an Autism Supportive Environment, offering a host of helpful activities for children and families in a safe and appropriate environment. Program staff are grateful to partners at the Anderson Center who offered this important training and certification.

The program has hosted wonderful interns from Marist, Vassar and Dutchess Community Colleges. Students, under the guidance of Lead Teacher Randi Chalfin, created program curriculum highlighting the Arts, Sand Play, Compassion and Psychological Literacy for children ages newborn to 12 years old.

In November, the program was proud to host an open house and luncheon in recognition of the United Way of Dutchess Orange Region.  Program staff presented United Way a plague to acknowledge their constant support in helping the Center meet critical needs of the children and families served.

Everyday the staff of the Children’s Center find joy, happiness and beauty in the tenacity of the families we serve. The Children’s Center looks forward to 2020 when we will attend the NYAEYC (New York Association for the Education of Young Children) annual conference in the Spring. Staff continues to envision a larger center, with more space for children to play and where we can serve more families on a daily basis.

Share a vision with us—one of stronger, safer communities where everyone has the opportunity to lead their best lives.

Where communities are without limits and overflow with hope and opportunity.

If you believe in this vision as much as we do, help us achieve it.

CLICK HERE to donate today!


A Look Back

On Monday, December 9th Family Services staff gathered from 13 different locations across Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie to share some holiday cheer and mingle with colleagues we don’t often see.

Good food, dancing and sharing stories with individuals whose passion for the work they do is inspiring and sets the tone for a truly grateful heart this holiday season.

On Wednesday, December 11th Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress and Hudson Valley Network for Young Professionals hosted Basecamp Kingston, an event that is part of their Greater Hudson Valley Young Professional Summit series.

The event featured a panel discussion on “Leading from Where You Are” that included our Vice President for Community Programs, Leah Feldman, and other extraordinary leaders in our community.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 6, 2020



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Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2019
Leadership Partner

October/November 2019 Newsletter


Brian Doyle
Greater Safety
Through Awareness
A woman files for divorce. Her husband murders her, and then kills himself. This is an oft-repeated horrific tragedy that, once again, points to the need for continued focus on the proliferation of domestic violence in this community and beyond. To this day, few people are aware of the lethal threat posed to a woman living in a relationship where she lives in a climate of constant fear, only to lose her life when she tries to escape, followed by her abuser’s rage erupting into deadly violence.
News headlines, alone, are not enough to heighten public awareness. Rather, a deeper understanding of the sometimes-counterintuitive dynamics of domestic violence is needed for a person to understand the degree to which they may be in mortal danger. It could be a friend, neighbor, or family member that may be in need of such an understanding so they may more readily encourage a woman to seek the support she may need to ensure her own safety.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is one reason Family Services enlists men, and all community members as we did at our October 4th Walk A Mile In Her Shoes to join in solidarity with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We have to continue to raise awareness of this pervasive danger in our community. Every day we, and sister agencies such as Grace Smith House, House of Hope, Safe Homes of Orange County, Family of Woodstock, and others stand ready to assist victims of domestic violence.
While we know that women are, disproportionately, victims of domestic violence, it is also critically important to recognize its impact on others within our community. 1 in 9 men and 1 in 2 transgender individuals will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence every year with 90% of these children being eye witnesses to the violence.
To learn more about the warning signs of domestic violence, read more at https://www.getdomesticviolencehelp.com/symptoms-of-domestic-violence.html
If you or someone close to you are a victim of domestic violence, please reach out by calling Family Services’ Center for Victim Safety and Support Hotline at 845-485-5550.

By the Numbers


The Family Services Summer Enrichment Program served 89 City of Poughkeepsie Youth throughout the months of July and August. The program went on field trips once per week, one of those adventures was to Roller Magic in Hyde Park.

Youth Who Witness Violence
Leah Feldman, Vice President for Community Programs
Today, youth are exposed to violence at unprecedented levels through the media, in their own homes, and in their communities. The media is a common source of exposure to violence for many including television, online news outlets, social media and video games. Even when violence happens across the globe, youth are exposed to the event immediately and often repeatedly. Domestic violence between adult partners is another common exposure to violence for youth. Through our Center for Victim Safety and Support’s (CVSS) partnership with police, we receive information regarding children who are present during domestic violence incidents. Approximately 25% of the reports we receive show that 1 or more children are present during police intervention. Community violence is also a threat for youth. Over the past few years, youth who utilize Family Services’ Teen Resource Activity Center have been impacted by community violence. Some have been direct victims of gun violence on the streets and others have witnessed their friends and family members being shot.
Through many of Family Services programs, we see the significant impact that this exposure can have on youth. Most efforts to understand violence and its impact have focused on those directly involved in the violence, however, there has been a necessary shift to focusing on children who are bystanders to violence. It is now well recognized that these children may experience lasting harm. Some may develop signs of psychological distress and can be affected in areas of emotional, social, and cognitive development. Research based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire has shown that exposure to trauma as children, leads to increased instances of substance use/abuse, behavioral health issues including suicidality, homelessness, and serious health problems.
It is crucial to support both youth and their caregivers in the aftermath of an incident of violence in order to help youth process the event, as well as help families understand the symptoms of exposure to violence. At CVSS, victim advocates and clinicians work with parents and youth to process the event and understand the ways in which they may be impacted.
To meet the needs of youth and families in our community, CVSS is launching a Youth Witness to Violence Program which will use evidence-based modalities to serve youth who are witness to domestic and community violence. The goals of the program are to identify youth who witness violence and to assist them and their caregivers in healing from the trauma of witnessing the violence.
The healthy development of youth depends significantly on their exposure to nurturing relationships and a safe environment, both of which we provide at Family Services. If you or a loved one need help, please reach out to either of our 24-hour hotlines: Domestic Violence: 845-485-5550 or Rape Crisis and Crime Victims: 845-452-7272.

Program Spotlights

Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS)
Family Services Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS) provides 24-hour non-residential, comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. CVSS specializes in enhancing the response to victims of crimes and the prevention of offenses. We operate under the guidelines of a victim-centered approach, supporting victims’ rights, dignity, autonomy, and self-determination. To enhance the response to victims of crime, CVSS follows a model of co-location, where staff split their time between the main office and partner agencies throughout the community. This is done to facilitate partnerships and streamline services to victims.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for the 9th year, Family Services lead the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event. This annual walk brings awareness of sexual assault, gender and domestic violence to our community and raises funds to support individuals and families in our community as well as prevention efforts to eradicate violence. CVSS staff are actively involved in the preparation for this important community event and were excited to share information about CVSS Services with the community.
Domestic Violence studies show that most often, the abuser is a member of their own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Research suggests that each year, up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence. To serve the children in our community, CVSS will launch a new initiative in November: Child Witness to Domestic Violence. This program will provide intensive clinical treatment services to children up to 17 years of age. Support groups will be offered in two age groups to accommodate both the younger and older children. We look forward to sharing more details about this exciting new initiative in the coming months.
If you or a loved one is in need of help, please call us – Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
24 Hour Rape Crisis and Crime Victims Hotline: (845) 452-7272
24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: (845) 485-5550

 A Look Back

On Friday, September 20th the Grand Opening of the Gymnasium and Urban Park at the Family Partnership Center was well attended. There was notable excitement around the newly transformed gym and added Urban Park that will provide a safe and welcoming space for many in the community.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes brought a wave of red and fancy feet to the streets of Poughkeepsie during the First Friday San Gennaro Festival on Friday, October 4th. Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is a a unique event that raises awareness about rape, sexual assault, gender violence and domestic violence, as well as raises funds to support organizations like ours, who serve those impacted by violence.

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, October 31st, 2019, Family Services in conjunction with partners within the Family Partnership Center, will host the eighth annual trick-or-treating event from 3pm to 5pm at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. This fun, family event offers the community a safe place for children to trick-or-treat, enjoy refreshments, and have fun!
For more information about the event, please contact Jean Calyer at (845) 452-1110 ext. 3133.

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August/September 2019 Newsletter


Brian Doyle
After much planning, work and lots of hopeful anticipation, I am very pleased that the “Urban Park Project at the Family Partnership Center is ready for prime time!”
This terrific project includes New Bleachers, State of Art Program Divider, Air Conditioning, Refurbished Restrooms, Score Boards, Refinished Flooring, Landscaping, Play Ground Equipment, A Volley Ball Court, Attractive Fencing, Picnic Tables, Benches, and more!
The newly renovated gym opened for play on Saturday, July 20, with an Open Gym event organized by Community Matters 2, with the help of Readers Are Leaders, Council Member Yvonne Flowers, Family Services’ SNUG, the City of Poughkeepsie and a host of volunteers! This and other activities will continue throughout the Summer, and – hopefully- well beyond. Open Gym for ages 11-18 will take place on Saturday Evenings from 6 to 9pm and will include other activities such as food, board games, arts, and reading in the FPC Cafeteria.
For more information contact cm2pkny@gmail.com
On Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoon, throughout the summer, the AAU 845 Athletics will host Free Basketball Clinics in the gym. Clinics for ages 7-12 will take place from 11:00am – 1:00pm, while clinic for ages 12-18 will take place from 1:30pm – 4:30pm.
For more information contact curtiz.luck@gmail.com
As this is an important new resource for our community, we are looking for other community groups to take advantage of the new gym.
For events and rentals, please contact bdoyle@familyservicesny.org
The new gym, and other parts of the FPC Urban Park Project has been made possible through a grant provided by the the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, along with major contributions from many generous donors from throughout the community!
So, the next time you are in the neighborhood, please stop by and see this fabulous new addition to the Family Partnership Center!

By the Numbers


As of Saturday, August 3rd the City of Poughkeepsie has been free of gun violence for 180 days.
We would like to recognize the Family Services’ SNUG Team, Mayor Rolison, City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pape, the entire City of Poughkeepsie Police Department,and everyone in the community who has joined in and supported the ongoing work to STOP THE VIOLENCE!

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day
Robin Peritz, Vice President for Behavioral Health Centers
Suicide Is Preventable!
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10-34 and the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Among LBGTQ+ individuals, the suicide rate is higher than that of the rest of the population. There is no single cause of suicide. We know that depression, anxiety, health issues and substance use are some common conditions that, when untreated, can lead to increased suicide risk.
What Can You Do to Help Prevent Suicide?
1)   Reduce the stigma by talking about it. All too often, people are afraid to bring up the subject of suicide or say the words, “Are you feeling suicidal?” for fear that they will be wrong or cause someone to act on it. In fact, people need and want to talk about how they are feeling, and it often helps them to know that they are not alone.
2)   Learn the warning signs and contributing factors. Here are a few to be aware of:

• Increased use of drugs or alcohol
• Isolating from family and friends
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing from daily activities
• Increased agitation or anger
• Trauma/abuse or neglect
• Increased depression, anxiety or other mental health symptoms
• Family history of suicide
• Relationship stress, loss or divorce
• Financial stress
• Loss of a job or home

3)   Individuals who previously attempted suicide are at 30 to 40 times increased risk to die by suicide than someone without a history of suicide attempts.

4)   Reach out when you think someone may be suicidal. Let them know that they are not alone and that you are there for them.

5)   The most effective way to prevent suicide is to reduce access to guns.

6)   All suicidal thoughts or actions should be taken seriously. Know your community resources. Seek help from a mental health professional.

Where Can You Get Help?
We all can play a role in preventing suicide. If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Dutchess County Helpline 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 845-485-9700 or the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. Family of Woodstock has a 24-hour hotline at 845-338-2370 or 845-679-2485. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
Family Services can help meet your behavioral health needs. We have centers in Dutchess County in Beacon, Dover Plains, Millbrook, Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck. In Ulster County, you can receive services in Ellenville, Kingston and New Paltz. For appointments in Dutchess County, call 845-485-9700, and for appointments in Ulster County, call 845-486-2703 ext. 4016.

Program Spotlights

Ulster Prevention Council
Did you know that “vaping” consists of aerosol containing dangerous metal particles, not vapor?
Did you know that a Juul pod contains roughly as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs?
Capitalizing on the popularity of escape rooms, the Ulster Prevention Council, a program of Family Services, now offers the DoIt4URLungs Vape Escape Room. An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a live­‐action team­‐based game where players cooperatively participate in a sequence of activities in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.
The Vape Escape room provides a fun and exciting interactive experience that provides a thorough education regarding vaping, and can be used as an alternative to suspension for students. DoIt4URLungs participants discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks to discover the risks associated with vaping and develop skills in order to escape the vape.
Challenges in an escape room are mental, not physical, and it is not necessary to be physically fit or dexterous. The room is intended for audiences age 12 to adult and is best for small groups of 6-8 participants.
To schedule a Vape Escape Room in Ulster County, contact Susan Baxter, Prevention Coordinator at (845)458-7463 or sbaxter@familyservicesny.org. DoIt4UR Lungs was developed by Student Assistance Services Corporation.
Ulster County Family Advocate Program
The Ulster County Family Advocate Program began as a response to the opioid crisis for residents of Ulster County. The legislature felt that people were having a difficult time getting treatment due to a lack of knowledge about treatment facilities, the process to be admitted to treatment and due to a lack of insurance or denials for coverage by insurance companies.
Over the past two and a half years the Family Advocate Program has helped hundreds of families who are experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol. We have helped those with Substance Use Disorder determine what level of treatment they need and helped them with the intake process. We have also helped the loved ones of those with SUD by providing support and education about this family disease. We provide education on the use of medications for SUD, an effective option to help individuals lead healthy, normal lives and reduce the possibility of overdose.
The program offers a grief support group for those who have lost someone to addiction. This is a weekly group where people are able to share their feelings in a safe supportive environment. Due to the stigma associated with the use of drugs, loved ones are often hesitant to share how their loved one was lost which can make the healing process more difficult.
The Family Advocate Program not only services individuals and families, the program participates in county initiatives to provide treatment in the county jail, to make treatment available in the hospital Emergency Rooms, to expand the availability of medication treatment by local doctors and in the development of a drug court specifically for opiates.
For more information o the Family Advocate Program, contact Carol Sutcliffe, 845-458-7455.

 A Look Back

Keith Hudes, Family Services Coordinator of Advocacy and Training for the Center for Victim Safety and Support, worked with the Culinary Institute of America’s Residence Life Department to create an impactful Sexual Assault Awareness month. Campus activities included a walk, healing garden and readings. CIA students raised nearly $1,200 to support Family Services Center for Victim Safety and Teen Resource Activity Center.
 Our friends at M&T Bank donated their suite at Dutchess Stadium to Family Services staff. On July 18th, staff and families enjoyed the Renegades game. This is always a fun event for staff and we are truly grateful for their thoughtful generosity.

Upcoming Events


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June/July 2019 Newsletter

Brian Doyle

Family Partnership Center Delivers Remarkable Return on Investment

According to the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, every one dollar spent on services provided by organizations at the Family Partnership Center, yields a 72 dollar return on investment!
Many of us have long known the great value of the services provided by all of our partner agencies here in the Family Partnership Center. The significance found in the human stories of successes paint a vivid and compelling story. But how can that value be otherwise measured?
  • How important is shelter from the freezing cold for a man who finds himself homeless due to the loss of a job?
  • What price tag can you put on keeping a teen safe and away from gang and gun violence that poisons his neighborhood?
  • How much savings do taxpayers derive when a person with diabetes and with little money receives regular healthcare at the nearby clinic instead of making frequent  visits to the hospital?
  • What exactly does it mean to the health of a child in their first year when her expectant mother and father receive lessons on prenatal care, parenting skills and good nutrition, and what is the dollar value of those lessons?
  • When a family is able to put a week’s worth of nutritious food on the table, what does it mean to them and the community in terms of warding off hunger and poor nutrition?
These are the questions answered in the recently released report authored by Dr. Eve Waltermaurer, Senior Research Scientist at the Benjamin Center.
After extensive data collection and analysis, Dr. Waltermaurer has provided the commissioned report on the Short Term Social Return on Investment / Economic Impact study surrounding services provided at the Family Partnership Center.
Services provided by the partner agencies at the Family Partnership Center (FPC) are clearly essential to our neighbors, enabling many to achieve otherwise unattainable goals, overcome distress; and be healthy and self-possessed members of the community.
It is important for us to be convey to our partners, funders and donors, that their investment is sound, Thanks to Dr. Waltermaurer and the Benjamin Center for reminding us of just how important services provided at the FPC are!

By the Numbers

$72 FOR EVERY $1

For every $1 invested in a Family Partnership Center program, the short-term social return on investment averages $72 for the persons served and the community.

Wear Orange to Raise Awareness About Gun Violence

Casey Hons
Vice President for Operations
We live in a world where mass shootings are a disturbingly common occurrence.  I am the mother of three girls, one in elementary school, one in middle school, and one graduating high school in just a couple of weeks. They have so many questions and fears about gun violence, particularly about school shootings. They have seen too many horrific incidents such as those in Sandy Hook, CT and Parkland, FL. While it is my job to make them feel safe, I struggle to explain why these shootings happen. Why would anyone want to hurt innocent children? Why can’t they just go to school to learn and feel safe there? It is amazing how children can surprise their parents with insight beyond their years. One day, shortly after the Parkland shooting, my girls told me that they decided that rather than be afraid, they wanted to help stop gun violence.
Every day, 100 Americans are killed by a gun and many more injured. Firearms are the 2nd leading cause of death for American teens and children. This is unacceptable, so I ask that this month you join me and wear orange in support of gun violence prevention. Why orange? Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s family and friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013. Hadiya was a 15 year old girl who had performed in President Obama’s inaugural parade only weeks before she was killed. Since then the “wear orange” movement has spread beyond Chicago and June has been designated as Gun Violence Prevention Month across the country.
The fight to prevent senseless gun violence starts with all of us standing together. Standing up as people who want safer communities for our families. Standing up as parents protecting our children and freeing them from fear that they may not make it to recess today. Standing up as moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and neighbors who are putting their foot down to say “no more”.
Last year my girls and I went to the March for our Lives in Washington D.C… I have never been more proud than I was in that moment as I watched them stand side by side with people of all ages, races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds fighting for the same cause. The right to feel safe. The right to gun free schools. The right to live.
Check out more information at www.wearorange.org.

Program Spotlights

After School Programs
As Family Services’ After School programming is coming to an end for this school year, we are happy to share highlights of the school year. This year, we served over 175 Poughkeepsie students at four locations: Krieger Elementary, Clinton Elementary, Warring Elementary and Morse Elementary Schools. Funding through the Advantage and Empire grants allowed all of our students to attend at no cost. Children not only benefited from the enthusiasm of Family Services staff, but also the participation of college interns and volunteers from Marist College, Adelphi University, Dutchess Community College, Vassar College, and Mount St. Mary College.
Throughout the school year, students were engaged in homework assistance, enrichment projects and recreational activities includingtalent shows, a Harlem Renaissance Fair, holiday themed parties, and arts and crafts. This year students enjoyed yoga once per month, thanks to a local volunteer. The Poughkeepsie Farm Project provided fun activities in which the children learned about nutrition and gardening and everyone was amazed when Happy Dan’s Magic Show performed.
The children take pride in giving back to their community. For this year’s projects, they collected food for those in need and donated clothing to school Kid’s Closets. Older children participated on Youth Councils, helping to build leadership and mentoring skills. The Youth Councils selected community projects and special activities throughout the year, such as Game Day, Movie Day with popcorn and hot chocolate, and their end of the school year parties.
Poughkeepsie Youth Theatre
Poughkeepsie Youth Theatre (PYT), The Teen Resource Activity Center’s newest initiative, wrapped another successful year with a rousing culminating performance. On May 21, in the Family Partnership Center Lateef Islam Auditorium, youth presented STREETS, an original theater production created by the youth, all ages 13-18.
The evening featured seven dramatic vignettes, including movement-based first and last scenes. A humorous, albeit contentious scene was played, re-wound and replayed, with an invitation for audience participation and reflection. The vocal and engaged audience was comprised of local community, friends and family of the cast, Family Services staff, and faculty from both Vassar College and Dutchess Community College, who have student-interns at PYT.
Participation in PYT requires no audition or experience; only a willingness to share ideas, fully commit, and engage with fellow participants with a sense of humor and good will. The program, which runs during the school year, is free to participants and PYT welcomes new participants throughout the year.
PYT is grateful for the support of various entities. The Bunnell Family and Ann and Abe Effron Donor Advised Fund each gifted PYT with trips to New York City to attend theatre performances. PYT is also supported by Vassar’s Good Neighbors Fund, the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council of the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

 A Look Back

On April 25, 2019, over 350 friends and supporters attended Family Services’ Family of the Year Awards Dinner at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. For almost 30 years, this noteworthy event has recognized and commended individuals who have made significant contributions to the community and whose ideals reflect those of Family Services by providing hope, improving lives, and strengthening community. This year, we were pleased to honor the Arnoff Family with the Quality of Life Award and the Rossi Family with the Good Neighbor Award.
On May 30, 2019 Family Partnership Center Steward, Kellie Wofford, along with Professor McCabe from Dutchess Community College and her Graphic Design III class, coordinated an unveiling of The Family Partnership Center Partner Mural.
Each graphic design student chose an organization and digitally illustrated that particular organization in a single square of the mural. When assembled, the squares comprise a quilt representing all partners organizations housed within the Family Partnership Center.

On May 30, 2019 Kathy Peluso, Family Services Center for Victim Safety and Support Coordinator of Training and Outreach who will soon be leading the Sexual Assault Response Team, received recognition from the Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASADA). Kathy has worked tirelessly in support of victims for 15 years. Family Services is so proud of all that she has done and will continue to do to improve our community’s response for victims.


Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, June 25, 2019 Heritage Food + Drink will host a charity dinner for Family Services, donating 10% of the proceeds to support our critical work in the community. Come out an enjoy good food for a great cause!



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Family Services’ 2019
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2019 Family of the Year Auction Preview

Don’t miss your opportunity to bid on 6 (yes, 6!) different resort locations  in Antigua, Panama, Barbados, and the Grenadines provided by Elite Island Resorts!

We’re providing a mini trip down to NYC with (2) tickets on Metro North, an overnight at one of the Marriott hotels, and a backstage pass and (2) tickets to see Mean Girls on Broadway, thanks to Family Services Development Committee members, Janna Whearty and Filomena Fanelli!

Community Playthings has generously donated one of their quality Roadstar I Tricycles made of tough one-inch steel tubing made for years of rigorous play for ages 2-4.

We have two sets of (4) tickets to a New York Yankees with this awesome view thanks to Royal Carting Services: May 4th vs. Minnesota Twins and May 6th vs. Seattle Mariners!

If you love concerts and being outdoors, we have a pair of lawn tickets to Bethel Woods’ entire summer season in our auction, generously donated by our Mission sponsor, iHeartMedia!

One of our generous board members, Peter Lumb, has handmade this beautiful dollhouse for our auction this year!

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 DontDenyMe.org 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!

Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2019
Leadership Partner

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About Us


February/March 2019


Brian Doyle

As we move closer to the completion of the merger of Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health, we welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Bradley’s fascinating presentation on Social Determinants of Health at our January 31st Report to the Community!  Dr. Bradley’s message was particularly relevant to our impending merger as she clearly “connected the dots” for so many of us.  Dr. Bradley’s research revealed how the long term health of a person can be drastically influenced by such factors as exposure to violence, poverty, racism, housing instability, and family dysfunction, to name just a few. These are all issues that Family Services and our partners in the Family Partnership Center address every day. And so, our linking with behavioral health services is a perfect opportunity to find ways to prevent or mitigate these destructive social determinants of health.

We are grateful to Dr. Bradley for bringing this topic to light in such stark and brilliant terms. We are also pleased we were able to recognize the community strengthening efforts of longstanding community partners: retired Family Court Judge Joan Posner, Barbara Sorkin and Sam Busselle, all of whom have spent their careers improving our community. Finally, we thank the nearly 300 people who attended our event, in support of the wide array of work we continue to do throughout the Hudson Valley:

*Youth Programs*
*Victim Services*
*Family Programs*
*Behavioral Health Centers*
*The Family Partnership Center*
*Community Safety*

Recognizing Social Workers
Joan Crawford
Chief Program Officer

National Professional Social Work Month is in March and this year’s theme is ELEVATE SOCIAL WORK. Every day, nearly 700,000 social workers across the nation act as advocates, therapists, educators and leaders who make our society a better place to live.  Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health are proud to have many social workers as part of our team, impacting thousands of lives throughout our community.

For generations, social workers such have worked tirelessly to improve lives. These social workers include Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who pushed for a minimum wage and Social Security; Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, who is considered the mother of social work; Civil Rights leaders Dorothy Height and Whitney Young Jr.; and Ambassador Wendy Sherman, who helped broker the Iran Nuclear Agreement. You may not realize it, but social workers are everywhere, including the majority of programs at our agency!  For example, Sharon Grenley, clinical supervisor at Hudson Valley Mental Health, helps place people on the path to recovery;  and Kathy Peluso, Coordinator at the Center for Victim Safety and Support trains advocates and students to help victims heal. They are in schools, helping students overcome issues that prevent them from getting a good education, and they help to prevent child abuse and neglect. They also help children find new families through adoption.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, with 100,000 more social workers expected to enter the profession in just seven years. Still, this year’s theme – Elevate Social Workers – is not just about discussing the success of the social work profession. Despite the life-affirming, invaluable work that social workers perform, their salaries tend to lag behind that of other helping professions such as nurses, high school teachers and policeman. The services of social workers are needed now more than ever before as the nation grapples with issues such as income equality, the opioid crisis, the environment and continued struggle for equal rights for all.  National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity for social workers and their allies to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.

During Social Work Month I hope you will take time to learn more about the profession and support the work of social workers in improving the lives of individuals and families and our communities. To learn more visit  https://www.socialworkers.org/Events/Campaigns/Social-Work-Month.

Program Spotlights

Sexual Violence Prevention

Family Services is the lead agency for the Regional Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) programming in Dutchess, Orange, and Westchester Counties. As part of the Center for Victim Safety and Support, the program uses evidence-based curricula to address behaviors and attitudes towards sexual violence on both an individual and community level. Sexual Violence Prevention initiatives include promoting a healthy school life and a healthy nightlife.

SVP is excited to announce we have successfully brokered a partnership between Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY and Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley, NY. This partnership offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credit for successful completion of a bystander intervention skill building course. Family Services piloted this program with 31 Monroe-Woodbury High School students in Fall 2018 and received excellent feedback from students and staff at Monroe-Woodbury High School. We are offering the credit bearing version to students in the Spring 2019 semester. It is our goal to replicate this model in high schools across the counties we serve.

We also trained agency and partner staff within the three counties in December to work with staff in alcohol serving establishments. Our trainers will educate bar staff by means of a multisession bystander intervention course designed to promote safety in their establishments and a healthy nightlife for customers.

Family Partnership Center

What an absolute exciting time it has been at the Family Partnership Center! We have welcomed new partner tenants to the FPC Family and continue to see the mighty impact we have on our community in so many different capacities.

At the Family Partnership Center, we are committed to excellence in everything that we do.  With the addition of the FPC Steward to the team, we determined that the best way to understand the needs of our partners and address them effectively is to provide opportunities for feedback and discussion.    In December of 2018, the new FPC Steward, Kellie Wofford, developed a survey that targeted four main areas:  1) Partner Satisfaction 2) Determining Collaboration Effectiveness 3) Understanding Partner’s Challenges 4) Identifying Opportunities for Improvement. According to the survey results, 70.7% either agree or strongly agree that they are satisfied with their space at the Family Partnership Center.

As a result of our team listening to what our partner tenants had to say, we took action and immediately began to implement improvements. One major improvement was making changes to the heating and cooling of the building and more changes will come.

This past January, we conducted a brainstorming session with partner agencies to review information and feedback gathered from surveys we completed. As a result of this session, we are all geared up and ready to make more changes that will prove to not only continue to satisfy our partners, but will assist us in our continued ventures to meet the needs of our community and clients.

Recent Events

In February…
 Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health staff participated in the American Heart Association Go Red Campaign as part of the agencies overall Wellness & Morale initiatives.
Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health staff participated in the American Heart Association Go Red Campaign as part of the agencies overall Wellness & Morale initiatives.
Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee recognized Black History Month with a beautiful display in the lobby of the Family Partnership Center.
Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee recognized Black History Month with a beautiful display in the lobby of the Family Partnership Center.

Representatives from Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union presented our Development Director, Whitney Humphrey with an award representing their generous sponsorship of our annual Family of the Year Awards Dinner.

Representatives from MidHudson Valley Federal Credit Union presented our Development Director, Whitney Humphrey with an award representing their generous sponsorship of our annual Family of the Year Awards Dinner.

Upcoming Events



Please join us on April 25th a 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, click link below.  You don’t want to miss this special evening!

Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2019
Leadership Partner

Shop and Support Family Services

Please support us when you shop on Amazon at AmazonSmile and Amazon donates .5% of the purchase price to Family Services! 

About Us


December 2018/January 2019 Newsletter


2018 Reflections
By Chris Pels, Ph.D.
Director of Human Services and Risk Management
With the holidays in full swing, I am reminded that we have truly entered the time of the year when we all stop to reflect on the work we do and why we support Family Services.
Two instances this past year speak volumes as to why my family and I support the work of Family Services….
Last month my wife, daughter, and I traveled to Seattle for a conference I was attending. One day, while I was attending a training session, my wife and daughter took the opportunity to view the sights of Seattle.  While they were out, they witnessed a domestic violence incident that erupted in a public space, and tragically resulted in the victim’s death a day later. Although my family was not hurt, this tragedy was a tangible reminder of how important it is to provide support, counseling, advocacy, and safety planning for victims.  It also reminded me how important our work is with offenders, holding them accountable, working to change patterns of thought that lead to abusive behavior and ultimately increasing victim safety by reducing the likelihood of continued abuse.
This past year I have also been reminded of the joys and tribulations of being a new parent with a 17-month-old at home. My daughter is such an incredible gift and is as wonderful as a toddler can be.   I’ve found, perhaps like most new parents, that parenting is the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced! I’m extraordinary fortunate to have a committed partner, supportive parents, extended family, church, and a caring work and community family in raising my daughter. I also know that not every parent has these resources and even with the best resources in the world, parents (like myself) can feel as if we don’t have any of the tools or skills we need to raise our children! When I’m facing a particularly challenging situation with my daughter (which at present means keeping her from climbing on every unsafe surface in our house), I am reminded of the work we do providing childcare for families going through the Family Court system, sharing nurturing parenting skills through family education, and ensuring that parents have a safe space to visit with their children.
These stories are but a handful of stories that I could share, both about my life at home, but also about the incredible work that Family Services does.  It is for these reasons and for the thousands of lives we touch every year, that I not only give my time and talent, but also give financially to the work of Family Services. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year and ask that you join me in supporting the work of this wonderful agency.  Have a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic New Year!

Recent Events

‘Tis the Season of Giving

A heartfelt THANK YOU to our friends at IBM and throughout the community for making the season a little brighter for so many families through our Adopt A Family Programs.

Individuals from IBM adopted several families this holiday season and to say they were generous is an understatement!

By the Numbers

85 Families Adopted for the Holidays!
2018 Adopt A Family
Several Family Services programs conduct Adopt A Family initiatives for their clients.  Each year the need grows and each year we are extremely grateful to our community of friends and supporters who, through their generosity, make the holidays a bit more special and less stressful for these families.
Center for Victim Safety and Support in Dutchess County
68 Families Supported Through Adopt A Family
Contact: Dan Carroll at dcarroll@familyservicesny.org
Family Education Program in Ulster County
8 Families Supported Through Adopt A Family
Contact: Denise Parent at dparent@familyservicesny.org
Family Education Program in Orange County
9 Families Supported Through Adopt A Family
Contact: Maryanna Cocchiara at mcocchiara@familyservicesny.org
Although all of these families will receive gifts there is still a need for items such as coats and winter clothes for boys and girls.
If you are interested in helping meet the needs of these families, please reach out to the contacts above.
Special thanks to all of the Family Services staff who organized the Adopt A Family initiatives!

Program Spotlight

Family Education Program
The Family Education Program began providing services in Orange County in July of 2017. All the families are referred to our program by the Department of Social Services in Orange County.
Thirty eight families were served from June of 2018 to November of 2018. 65% of the families who have participated in our program have completed the program successfully. The Family Educators conducted approximately 380 visits during the first six months of program operation. 100% of children served by the Family Education Program were able to remain in the custody of their parents/guardian.
The Family Education Program expanded to include a Case Aide in August of 2018. The Case Aide’s role is to assist the Family Educators with lesson plans, age appropriate activities for the children, provide transportation for children and parents, provide documentation of site visits and facilitate parenting groups. The Case Aide is trained in the Nurturing Parenting Curriculum and our goal is to offer a nurturing parenting group throughout the year.
We also had a lot of fun with our families this year.  We hosted an apple picking event for families in September and we look forward to another family event in January of 2019.


Denise Parent November Staff Recognition

“Denise consistently demonstrates that she cares a great deal about the Family Education Program, the clients we serve and the work we do.  When children and parents come to our site, she is there to greet them with a smile and anything to help them feel comfortable…a cup of coffee, a snack, a toy form the basket in her office.  She tunes in to the feelings of our clients and goes out of her way to make sure they have the best experience possible.”



Congratulations to Margarita Muniz and JoAnn Wells who both successfully completed the Certified NonProfit Accounting Professional 14 hour course and exam. They both passed with flying colors!!

Upcoming Events










Thursday, April 25, 2019


Leadership Partner

Family Services’ 2018
Leadership Partner

Shop and Support Family Services

Please support us when you shop on Amazon at AmazonSmile and Amazon donates .5% of the purchase price to Family Services! 

About Us