A tale of two cities.
And one community of caring.
To talk about the history of Northern Rivers Family of Services is to talk about the history of caring for children and families throughout the Capital Region and beyond. Our roots are in the agencies known today as Parsons Child and Family Center and Northeast Parent & Child Society—agencies that were each created from a need to help children and continued to evolve to meet that need.
In 1829 Orissa Healey and Eliza Wilcox founded the Ladies Orphan Society, and within a year the renamed Society for the Relief of Orphan and Destitute Children in the City of Albany was caring for 130 children. By the early 1890s, some 600 children lived and learned at what was then known as the Albany Orphan Asylum.
Meanwhile, in 1888 a group of concerned women in Schenectady formed The Home for Destitute Children, which later became The Children’s Home of Schenectady. The early 1900s saw the formation of a county Humane Society to protect and care for needy families not served by the Children’s Home.
Back in Albany, the Orphan Asylum became known as the Albany Home for Children and evolved to incorporate modern social work, cottage-style residential living, therapeutic services and additional programs to meet the changing needs of the community. In 1976 the Home became known as Parsons Child and Family Center, continuing to expand its geographic and programmatic reach wherever the need arose.
In Schenectady the Children’s Home and Humane Society each expanded their programs to better aid those dealing with abuse, neglect and other barriers to success. In 1983 the agencies came together to form Northeast Parent & Child Society and grew their services to meet the challenges of children, families and communities.
In 2012 these two great organizations officially affiliated and now stand together under the new Northern Rivers Family of Services. The proud traditions of Parsons and Northeast continue under a shared set of core principles and a universal commitment to serving children and families, while Northern Rivers provides the guidance and leadership to help communities grow.
Today, the united workforce of Northern Rivers, Parsons and Northeast represents the dedication of those who came before, an unmatched level of talent and drive, and the vision needed to change the way services are delivered to help build a better world.