History_3_topOn the heels of the financial meltdown of 2008, human service agencies around the country were in a no win situation. National, state and private support was dwindling, while the numbers and needs of those seeking help was growing and widening.

For human service agencies, doing business as they always had was simply not possible. Service expansion was necessary, and agency growth required, to meet the fast growing need.

One way to achieve this needed growth was through partnering with like-minded agencies.

In the Capital Region of upstate New York, the logical candidates for this kind of partnership were Parsons Child and Family Center and Northeast Parent & Child Society.

With more than three hundred years of combined experience and reputations for being leaders in their field, the two agencies began formal talks in 2009. Led by an exploratory team of board membersand executive staff from each agency, the question of bringing Parsons and Northeast together was considered.

History_photoThe question was not an easy one to answer…

Each agency gave unprecedentedaccess to the other. Records and files were examined,financial information exchanged. After months of work, the exploratory team came to the realization that together, the two agencies could provide a level of service and care that they could only dream about individually.

Now began the difficult task of determining how to make this all occur…

Again, there were months of discussion.

Each agency, steeped in tradition with a strong reputation, wanted to maintain their identity. So, the idea of a simple merger was quickly off the table.

Parsons and Northeast wanted to be equal partners, yet maintain their identities and continue their traditions. After more deliberation, the word “affiliation” began being used to describe the relationship.

Following more formal discussions, an organizational plan was developed that would unite the two agencies as “equal affiliates” under a management organization named Northern Rivers Family Services. A Board of Directors made up of members from the Parsons and Northeast boards would govern this new management entity.

History_4With the management structure designed and the concept of affiliation accepted by both agencies, an extensive series of meetings were held with interested stakeholders including the Office of Mental Health, the Department of Social Services and numerous state and local officials, seeking their opinions on the prospect of affiliation and the proposed organizational structure.

At the end of three years and thousands of hours of hard work, board members of Parsons and Northeast approved an “affiliation agreement” on February 22,2012,officially connecting the two agencies.

New York State officially approved the incorporation of Northern Rivers Family Services on July 23, 2012.