Agency Overview

Who We Are

Family & Children’s Center is a regional, private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 agency that provides services designed to strengthen families and promote individual well-being, including:

We are nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services, indicating we meet the highest standards for each of our programs.

Our Team

Family & Children’s Center serves thousands of individuals and families every year, helping them enjoy happier and healthier relationships.

We are successful because of our comprehensive team approach and the continuum of services they provide. We have over 150 highly qualified, compassionate professionals and staff, including teachers, child psychiatrists, the region’s leading psychologists, highly sought-after therapists, and registered nurses.

Who We Serve

Although Family & Children’s Center is based in La Crosse, it serves individuals and families from five surrounding counties. The Center has facilities in:

  • La Crosse, WI
  • Viroqua, WI
  • Black River Falls, WI
  • Sparta, WI
  • Winona, MN

Our Philosophy and Goals

Because healthy individuals and families are key to a healthy society. With our services, children and adults alike can obtain help in solving their problems without leaving their homes and loved ones. We believe that resolving problems where they occur results in greater long-term success and healthier family relationships.

Funding

Family & Children’s Center services are funded by a combination of payment for services, grants, and gifts. These gifts are vital to continuing the work of the center in strengthening children and families in our communities. Every dollar goes toward improving someone’s life, whether it helps an abused child learn to trust again or a troubled adolescent to communicate with her parents in more positive ways. Your donations to the Center build better tomorrows for children and their families, investing in Family & Children’s Center is investing in our future.

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission

Family & Children’s Center serves children, families and individuals with a continuum of services designed to strengthen families and promote individual well-being.

Vision

To be the leading provider of human services in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota: through quality, access, and service.

Values

Excellence:
We are committed to providing the highest quality services to our consumers, employees and community.

Innovation:
We continually strive to improve our services and operations, focusing on current and future needs.

Respect:
We treat all people with courtesy, thoughtfulness, honesty, and kindness.

Responsibility:
We are accountable for our actions to ourselves, other, and the communities we serve.

Responsiveness:
We develop services based on community needs and work collaboratively with communities and consumers to continually evaluate changing conditions and adjust our services accordingly.

Our History

Family & Children’s Center has been providing services in La Crosse and Winona since the late 1800’s. FCC became a familiar name in La Crosse in 1983 when the Family Service Association and the La Crosse Home for Children merged to become one agency. The merger brought with it a combined history that began in the 1880’s through the vision of community leaders with names such as Hixon, Losey, Stoddard and Palmer. The success in La Crosse lead to services eventually expanding into Black River Falls, Sparta and Viroqua.

Family & Children’s Center’s history in Minnesota also dates back to the late 1880’s with the Margaret Simpson Home in Winona. This legacy came with the merger of Family Service of Winona in 2006. In 1999, FCC brought its first service to Winona at the request of the area school district to offer alternative education services similar to the model already provided in La Crosse. Since that time, services in Minnesota have more than quadrupled in size.

Today, Family & Children's Center is the largest, private provider of both child and adult behavioral and mental health services in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota with more than 20 programs. The agency employs over 150 staff including social workers, registered nurses, master’s level therapists and psychiatrists who have vast knowledge and experience in working with children and families within the community. Each year, more than 3,000 children, adolescents, adults and their families are served by at least one of FCC’s programs.

home for children 1880
home for children 1891-1063

The founding years, 1881-1940

The Family Service Association originated in 1881 as the Committee for the Wisconsin Humane Society of La Crosse. Two of its purposes were to befriend the indigent and homeless and to protect neglected and abused children and widows. Known as the Social Service Society in 1917, it offered relief work to the poor as well as nursing services for tuberculosis, the epidemic of the time. The agency also became a founding member of the Community Chest, today’s United Way.

The La Crosse Home for Children began in 1888 as the Society of the La Crosse Home for Friendless Women and Children. It was founded by the Young Ladies Mission Band to care for elderly, deserted or destitute women and dependent or neglected children.

Responding to community needs, 1941-1960

In 1941, the Social Service Society became known as the Family Welfare Society and its services expanded to include foster homes for children in need, feeding transients and local families and distributing food and clothing to families and individuals. When the name was changed to the La Crosse Family Welfare Association in 1960, new services such as marital and family counseling, relief for military personnel and Travelers’ Aid were added. In 1972, greater emphasis was placed on counseling for families, couples and individuals and the name changed to Family Service Association.

By 1972, the La Crosse Home for Children had shortened its name and focused on care for dependent and neglected children at its residence at 11th and Ferry Streets. In 1963, a new building was constructed at Weston and Losey Blvd. and the home refocused its services on children who required therapeutic care for emotional or behavioral problems, a service need not being met in our area at the time.

vintage photo of girls sitting on steps
building renovation

Responding to community needs, 1941-1960

In 1941, the Social Service Society became known as the Family Welfare Society and its services expanded to include foster homes for children in need, feeding transients and local families and distributing food and clothing to families and individuals. When the name was changed to the La Crosse Family Welfare Association in 1960, new services such as marital and family counseling, relief for military personnel and Travelers’ Aid were added. In 1972, greater emphasis was placed on counseling for families, couples and individuals and the name changed to Family Service Association.

By 1972, the La Crosse Home for Children had shortened its name and focused on care for dependent and neglected children at its residence at 11th and Ferry Streets. In 1963, a new building was constructed at Weston and Losey Blvd. and the home refocused its services on children who required therapeutic care for emotional or behavioral problems, a service need not being met in our area at the time.

Continued service through growth, 1961-present

After several years of discussion and study, the La Crosse Home for Children and the Family Service Association merged in 1983 and became one agency, the Family & Children’s Center, at the Weston site. From then on, our services grew. In October 1994, Douglas Mental Health Services of Viroqua became part of the agency and a year later we purchased its building to create a Family & Children’s Center in Viroqua. We began counseling and alternative education services in Prairie Du Chien in 1997, but services were discontinued in 1999. In September 1998, we broke ground for a new Renovation - GVCwebbuilding in Holmen for alternative education services we created exclusively for the Holmen Schools and in 1999 we expanded alternative education services to Winona, Minn, as well. In September 2000 we purchased the Grandview Building at 1707 Main Street where we had leased space since 1983. Services expanded to Black River Falls in 2004, after Family & Children’s Center was awarded the contract from Jackson County to provide the Community Support Program for chronically mentally ill adults.

Today, Family & Children’s Center operates facilities in six regional communities. Our services continue to grow to meet the needs of the ever changing communities we serve.

La Crosse Location