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Family Service Agency of San Francisco (FSA) was founded in 1889 as Associated Charities by Katharine Felton (1873-1940). FSASF is the oldest nonsectarian, nonprofit charitable social-services provider in the City and County of San Franciscomarker. It relies on contributions from government, private donors, and private clients.

FSA focuses on strengthening families by providing caring, effective, and innovative social services, with special emphasis on the needs of low-income families, children, and the elderly, and disabled people, thus improving the quality of life for all San Franciscans.

The Agency has four divisions: Children, Youth, and Families Division, Adult Services Division, Senior Services Division, Family Developmental Center, and The Felton Institute. The programs address some of San Francisco’s most critical issues: homelessness, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness. FSA’s programs have been recognized as national models and have received the highest possible ratings from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.

FSA History

  • April 25, 1889: Family Service Agency founded as the first general, nonsectarian relief organization in the City.
  • 1901: At the age of 28, Katharine Felton is named FSA’S Executive Director, a remarkable accomplishment for a woman of that time.
  • 1906: After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, FSA directs San Francisco’s entire Earthquake Relief Program and is temporarily merged with the Red Cross to provide earthquake assistance.
  • 1907: In the crucible of the earthquake and fire, FSA develops innovative solutions that are common practice today. FSA creates the first employment agency in the US, develops mental health counseling and foster care, and combines public and private funds to allow single mother to remain at home.
  • 1909: FSA inaugurates the "San Francisco Model of Care," combining public and private funds to provide cost-effective social services, changing the way social services are provided nationwide.
  • 1932: In the aftermath of the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, and in reflection of its increasing role as an agency of social welfare, Associated Charities changes its name to "Citizen's Agency for Social Welfare."
  • 1933: As a result of the Great Depression, the Federal government requires that all federal and state funds be expended by public agencies only. In compliance, San Francisco creates a County Welfare Department that takes over all family services previously handled by private agencies such as Citizen's Agency for Social Welfare. As a result, the Agency begins operating as a government contractor in addition to private services.
  • 1960: FSA expands its services to include job training, preventive programs, and counseling services.
  • 1965: FSA launches the Foster Grandparent Program (Senior Corps), providing low-income senior volunteers with training and stipends to give support and attention to children with special needs at sites throughout San Francisco.
  • 1977: The Developmental Disabilities Case Management Program for children is begun. FSA initiates a Primary Therapeutic Program, providing physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
  • 1981: FSA develops the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program (TAPP), a case-management program for teenage parents.
  • 1984: The Senior Companion Program (Senior Corps), bringing together mobile seniors and their frail, homebound peers, is launched.
  • 2006: The Felton Institute for Excellence in Clinical Training is begun and named after FSA founder Kitty Felton

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