Mary Ann Harzinski, President
Dominick F. Baggetta, Vice President
James Clauson, Treasurer
Tammy Malagisi, Assistant Treasurer
Valerie Bochenek, Secretary
Lynn Trudeau, Member-at-large
Michael L. Countryman, Executive Director
Nineteen-Hundred and Seventy-Six
The Family Counseling Center was incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax exempt community mental health service agency on August 2, 1976. It was, and still is, governed by a Board of Directors that represents a variety of sectors from Fulton County. The agency was established as a result of a cooperative effort among community clergy, human service professional and civic-minded individuals. During its first four years the agency's mission was to answer the community's need for individual, marriage, and youth counseling for those who were slipping through the cracks. Staff worked on a voluntary basis.
Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-One
In 1981 the agency received a grant from the NYS Division for Youth to provide counseling services to the youth of Fulton County through a 'Youth At Risk' Program. In 1982 the agency received a grant to expand services to youth in crisis. Because so many youth who were being served were living in violent family situations, the agency listed Domestic Violence as their top priority for service needs under their three year plan.
Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-Two
The Fulton County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) comprised of volunteers from the community was started in 1982. A volunteer 24-hour DV hotline was established in 1983 to offer supportive counseling and referrals. In 1986 the Domestic Violence program expanded through funding from the Children and Family Trust Fund of the NYS Dept. of Social Services. On August 14, 1987 the Family Violence Project opened a safe shelter with the capability of sheltering victims of domestic violence. This program continues today and provides both residential and non-residential services for victims of domestic violence and their dependent children.
Counseling sessions were first held in the basement of the First Congregational United Church of Christ on East Fulton Street. Other housing during the early years included temporary offices in the YWCA on Bleecker Street and at the former Gloversville Day Nursery location also on Bleecker Street.
Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-One
In 1991 the Agency started construction of a new office building, which we moved in Spring of 1993 at its current location of 11-21 Broadway in Gloversville. This location was chosen due to its close proximity to public transportation and so that clients could continue walking to the agency.
The Turning Point Family Based Treatment Program began in 1991. This unique residential program served seriously emotionally disturbed children who were placed with Host Parents while custody remained with the birth parents. The goal of the program was family reunification. In 1992 the agency became an Office of Mental Health licensed Mental Health Clinic which could provide therapeutic treatment on an outpatient basis as well as provide in home services to emotionally disturbed children.
Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-Four
In 1994, three children's services programs, funded by community mental health reinvestment dollars, were added to the services provided by the agency and continue today. Children's Mobile Crisis/Respite Program provides emergency crisis management to children and their families until the crisis is resolved. Crisis counseling and respite care are provided while the problems that led to the crisis are addressed. Coordinated Children's Services Initiative (CCSI) is a multi-agency partnership that works with families who have children at serious risk of placement outside their homes, or those children returning to the community from out-of-home placement. Services are developed to enhance the family's ability to care for their child. Adventure By Choice engages local school children in character education based activities.
Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-Eight
In 1998 the Family Violence Project received funding from the Federal Family Violence Prevention Services Act. They were funded to spearhead a county-wide collaborative approach to addressing domestic violence which we named The Fulton County Domestic Violence Task Force. This group was formed with representation from various community factors including clergy, education, employment, health care, criminal justice, legal, judicial and other service providers. The Task Force engaged in broad community outreach and education which resulted in the development of a county-wide policy aimed at creating zero tolerance of domestic violence, increasing victim safety and holding batters accountable for their actions. The Task Force remains active today and has been recognized as one of the best and most active in the state.
Nineteen-Hundred and Ninety-Nine
In 1999 funding through Violence Against Women Act allowed the Family Violence Project to increase services through the addition of legal advocates. Other grants and funding sources that were obtained through 2001 included funding from the Federal Family Violence Act, Federal S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women 0/AWA) Program, Fulton County DSS for non residential services to victims of domestic violence, Fulton County United Way and Fulton County Youth Bureau Special Delinquency Prevention Program. Family Support Services provided by Parent Partners was added at this time. In October 2000 the agency almost doubled its space with a new addition.
Two-Thousand and Two
School Support II, Fresh Start, was added in 2002 and operated for two years in the Wheelerville and Johnstown school districts. The agency saw growth in all departments. Gloversville At Risk Program (GARP) provided counseling and support services to the Gloversville Middle and High schools. In August 2004, The DV program renovated a home and opened this safe dwelling for women and their children. Other grants were received from Ronald McDonald's House Charities and Stewart's Holiday Match. In 2006 the agency celebrated its 30th anniversary by sponsoring a 'work camp' in cooperation with the First Presbyterian Church of Broadalbin. Client-owned homes were repaired at no cost by the adults and teens from around the county who participated. On November 4, 2010, the agency hosted a Community Forum on Suicide Prevention and was asked by the NYS Office of Mental Health to coordinate a Suicide Prevention Task Force for Fulton and Montgomery Counties. This task force continues to grow and has begun collaborate activities with Hamilton and Schoharie Counties.
Two-Thousand and Ten - Forward
The agency's continued growth included opening satellite clinics in Fort Plain (2010) and Johnstown (2011) as well as providing an off-site location for Family Based Treatment and the Fiscal departments. At present we have clinicians seeing children in 24 school sites in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. The clinic is actively pursuing the integration of behavior health care with internal medicine to offer comprehensive medical treatment, increased access to care in addition to overcoming the stigma associated with mental health. We continue to be the only Office of Mental Health licensed children's mental health clinic in Fulton County.
Michael L. Countryman, our current Executive Director, began working at the agency in April 2000 as its Fiscal Manager and became Deputy Executive Director in October 2007. He became Executive Director and Deborah Skivington became Deputy Executive Director on October 15, 2008. Past Executive Directors who have served the agency include Sharon Brace 1986-1993, Kathy Hemmens 1993-1998, Laurel James 1998-2001, Mark Van Verst 2001, Michael Turner 2001-2004 and Paul Moyer 2004-2008.