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
Family Education Program in Ulster County
8 Families Supported Through Adopt A Family
Contact: Denise Parent at
Family Education Program in Orange County
9 Families Supported Through Adopt A Family
Contact: Maryanna Cocchiara at
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


Recent Posts