Biographical / Historical
The records of the Family & Children's Agency document the history of one of Louisville's foremost social service organizations. The agency was established in 1883 by local citizens interested in reforming the methods of charitable giving then employed by the many small religious and private relief-giving bodies in operation in the city. The Louisville Charity Organization Society, as it was first known, had counterparts in most of the nation's large cities and in England. It sent "friendly visitors," mostly women volunteers, into the homes of clients to investigate the circumstances and advise poor families and individuals about home and financial management as well as marital and parental relations.
The agency's emphases changed over the years. In 1907, it was reorganized and renamed Associated Charities. A few years later, in 1921, it became the Family Service Organization. Throughout the depressed 1930s and the war years that followed, the agency provided emergency services to the city's fledgling public relief institutions, at times supplying money, groceries, and clothing to needy Louisvillians. Following World War II, it placed more and more emphasis on family counseling and educational programs.
In 1959, the Family Service Organization merged with the smaller Children's Agency, itself the product of an earlier merger of the Children's Protective Association and the Children's Bureau. The new Family & Children's Agency continued to make adoptive and foster home placements until the late 1960s, when it abandoned that field to growing public organizations.
In 1997, Family & Children's Agency became Family and Children's Counseling Centers. In 2004, Family and Children's Counseling Centers changed its name to Family & Children First, Inc., and operates under then name Family & Children's Place.