For more than a century, New Orleans families have been able to rely on a sure source of assistance when they need it most.

Since its humble beginnings in 1896 as the Charity Organization Society, Family Service of Greater New Orleans has been reaching out in progressively more creative ways — stretching scarce dollars to heal the hurt of those who suffer in the midst of a great modern city.

Today, Family Service offers a vast array of innovative programs to that end — through schools to help troubled children; by providing counseling for young mothers, those caught in a web of substance abuse, worried job seekers, former prisoners, single parents and troubled veterans; and by assisting employers in offering counseling services to their work force.

In its early days, the Charity Organization Society was active on two fronts: providing rations and allocating aid to the ailing poor during the yellow fever epidemic; and providing public advocacy on such issues as a juvenile court system, state supported housing and help for the mentally ill.

In 1925, the organization entered a new era, when professional social workers were added to the staff and emphasis shifted to services for families using casework methods.

For the last century, Family Service has been the best or only hope for thousands of metro area families for preventing crisis, staying together and learning how to manage change. By quietly helping to maintain and restore family life, Family Service remains one of the best-kept secrets for those not directly benefiting from its services. Yet, in recent years, Family Service has provided an average of more than 60,000 hours of service annually to nearly 16,500 individuals, helping all kinds of families in all corners of our community.

Today, from four service locations serving St. Bernard, Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, Family Service of Greater New Orleans provides many special programs. Family Service also provides caring, confidential counseling for addictions, critical incident stress, child abuse, sexual abuse and anger management.

Family Service is one of the largest agencies of its kind in the region. Every day, Family Service is strengthening ties so that the agency can continue to provide additional programs and services for the next 100 years to come.