A History of Serving Individuals and Families since 1900

Counseling & Family Services’ long and rich history dates back to December 15, 1900, when a meeting was held in the Assembly Room of Peoria’s City Hall to draft a Constitution and by-laws for a new organization called Associated Charities and Philanthropies. This newly formed organization drafted seven prime objectives, the first being “To secure the harmonious action, cooperation and coordination of the different charities in Peoria.”

At the first regular meeting of the organization on January 5, 1901, the Board of Directors was appointed and included the Mayor of Peoria.  At that same meeting it was resolved that an effort be made to procure a Juvenile Court for Peoria County. In later meetings that first year it was moved that $300 be set aside to establish a laundry and a woodpile for the deserving poor and for the purpose of paying rent and purchasing a horse for the organization’s use.

During this beginning period, the agency, housed in Room 104 of City Hall, placed an emphasis on teaching thrift and conducted an educational campaign in the community to encourage saving among school children. This effort was so successful it was later taken over by the public schools.

In October of 1903,  Associated Charities and Philanthropies decided to employ a nurse to give proper attention to the medical needs of the poor. This nurse and an appointed nursing committee formed the nucleus of what later was to become the Public Health Nursing Association, now known as the Visiting Nurse Association.

In 1906 the agency gave its support in urging the employment of a trained nurse by the City Health Department and stressed tuberculosis prevention. This latter effort was realized through the Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis.

By 1908 the agency’s focus was on providing emotional support for its clients and chose as it’s slogan, “Aid, Not Alms.” In this year a “visitor,” now called social caseworker, was also added to the staff.

In 1910 improvement of housing conditions was a prime objective. The agency was instrumental in having a number of shanty boats condemned as a means of habitation in Peoria.

By 1913 the agency began emphasizing services to the client. The matter of giving “advice,” now known as counseling, to clients to help them out of difficulties. During the year the agency also began to serve as an advocate, lending its efforts to secure support for the Mother’s Pension Law.

In 1915 the agency had its first professionally trained social worker on staff. During this time The Red Cross was one of the divisions of Associated Charities.

From 1918 Through the Great Depression the agency’s emphasis changed from the development of a strong and active volunteer group to paid professionals who offered clients acceptance and guidance to help them work through their problems. This coincided with the establishment of a Community Fund, now the United Way.

In 1934  Associated Charities studied other social agencies in the city and made some recommended changes which included more suitable office space with private interviewing rooms and resulted in a change of emphasis from relief to casework service and the first change of the agency’s name.

In 1935 a new constitution was approved and the agency’s name was changed to the Family Welfare Association of Peoria.

In 1939 the name was changed once more when the Family Welfare Association merged with the Big Brother and Sister Association and the Child Welfare League of Peoria, Inc. to form Child and Family Services to better and more efficiently serve the community.

In 1974 Child and Family Services changed its name for the fourth time to Counseling & Family Service to better reflect the wide scope of its many professional services for individuals as well as children and families.

In 1976 CFS obtained its first ever agency-owned building that was located on Knoxville Avenue.

To meet the ever-changing demands for additional services and the subsequent need for a larger facility to meet those demands, CFS conducted a Capital Campaign in 1994. With the help of individuals, business and corporations, CFS was able to purchase a new building in the heart of downtown Peoria in the fall of 1995. In conjunction with the move Counseling & Family Service officially changed its name to Counseling & Family Services to better reflect its growing number of outreach, child welfare, and counseling programs aimed at strengthening family life in the local area.

In the Summer of 2010, the agency began operating as FamilyCore, to better reflect what we stand for.