F&CS Mental & Emotional Wellness Education

Family & Children's Service has been a community-based agency for more than 130 years. We offer a full-service mental health clinic for all Tompkins County residents, as well as outreach services for our community's most vulnerable populations including children, teenagers, and seniors.

Our Community & Continuing Education program offers a comprehensive array of alternative therapeudic support services to meet the counseling and support needs of our clients, staff, and the community-at-large.

This program's startup funding was provided by generous community donors Pamela and Robert Swieringa. Pam, a former board member, wanted to help F&CS prioritize mental wellness opportunities for greater numbers of community members. Whenever possible, C&CE courses will be held in the new Pamela & Robert Swieringa Education Center, located on the second floor of Family & Children's Service's downtown Ithaca building on State Street.

Our expansion to a broad curriculum offering of wellness education highlights the commitment stated in our mission: to support, promote, and strengthen the well-being of individuals and families with high-quality, accessible mental health care and related social services.

Community Education: Our Community Education classes are open to anyone. These classes are designed to support positive change in individuals and the community, and they are offered in collaboration with local members and agencies.

These support groups, therapy groups, workshops, and enrichment programs help participants focus on strengthening vital life skills such as:

  • Building or renewing identity and self-esteem.
  • Developing strengths and talents.
  • Identifying and building on personal potential.
  • Strengthening self-awareness.
  • Improving social abilities.

Continuing Education for Professionals: These courses provide advanced learning opportunities for social workers and related professionals.

Participants attend our workshops and seminars to advance their careers, gain increased skills to better meet the needs of their agencies and clients, and interact with their peers and instructors.

Our instructors are highly experienced in research, practice, education, and agency leadership, and they offer the most current approaches to assessment, treatment, care management, and organizational leadership.

F&CS is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0293. 

What is Psychoeducation?

Psychoeducation is a highly effective evidence-based practice approach to both clinical and community work. Psychoeducational practices are flexible enough to be applied in both illness-specific treatment programs and in broader wellness management efforts.

Which professions can receive credits?

  • We are approved by NYS Education Department’s State Board of Social Workers as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0293 for a three year term beginning November 18, 2015 and ending November 30, 2018.
  • We are approved by NYS Education Department’s State Board Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists. #MFT-001. For a three year term beginning January 9, 2017 and ending December 31, 2019.
  • We are approved by NYS Education Department’s State Board Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MFT-003. For a three year term beginning January 1, 2017 and ending December 31, 2019.
  • Not all classes are approved for professional continuing education credits. Please check the course listing for more information.

What are examples of Community Education classes?

Community Education courses focus on topics such as:

  • Improving mental health
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
  • Therapeudic Yoga
  • Self-Compassion
  • Nutrition for Mental Wellness
  • Enriching self-knowledge
  • Creative energy expression
  • Kinship Caregivers
  • Challenges of Caretaking
View our Current Programs

What are examples of Continuing Education classes?

Continuing education workshops focus on topics such as:

  • Theories and concepts of human behavior in the social environment;
  • Mental health care practices, knowledge and skills;
  • Social work research, programs or practice evaluations;
  • Employment management, administration or social policy;
  • Ethics;
  • Clinical interventions;
  • Evidence-based models and principles of clinical social work practice;
  • Psychotherapy and clinical social work diagnosis;
  • Client communications and record keeping;
  • Administrative supervision and/or clinical supervision;
  • Pedagogical methodologies;
  • Cross-disciplinary offerings.
View our Current Programs

What are the benefits of support and therapy groups?

Ithaca’s human service community has long sought a viable resource for group programming. Group therapy has distinct benefits to one-on-one counseling and works very effectively in conjunction with counseling or instead of counseling. Most insurance companies will reimburse for group therapy. The Community & Continuing Education program aims to offer a comprehensive array of alternative therapeutic support services to meet counseling and support needs that are currently under-served in our community.

Who is Family & Children’s Service (F&CS)?

Family & Children's Service of Ithaca (F&CS) is one of the oldest human service agencies in Tompkins County. Our origins date back to the establishment of the Ithaca Children's Home in 1885. F&CS, as it is constituted today, is an organization created from the merger of the once closely aligned Ithaca Children's Home and the Family Society of Ithaca. The original Ithaca Children's Home opened in 1885 and was made up of two programs; a residential home for both orphaned and destitute children and a day nursery.

Ithaca Children’s Home was the first of its kind in Ithaca to fill the daycare needs of children. In 1951, the Home was closed and the remaining governing Board turned their attention to the development of foster home placements and adoption programs. The Family Society of Ithaca, meanwhile, incorporated in 1912 as the Associated Charities of Ithaca to funnel assistance from the city's well-to-do families to its less fortunate residents. As time progressed however, the singularly operated "Associated Charities" expanded into a full-time working agency to address broader community needs. Following World War I, the Family Society began to receive financial assistance from the newly formed Community Chest, which is known today as the United Way.

During the Great Depression, the Family Society (which subsequently changed its corporate name from Associated Charities to the Family Welfare Society of Ithaca) accepted the role as Ithaca's singular welfare relief agency by distributing food, clothing and financial assistance to the city's neediest families; thereby depleting the majority of the modest endowment it had acquired prior to the Depression. During its tenure as the public welfare agency in the community, the Family Society strengthened its counseling services and eventually became the primary resource in the community providing family and marriage counseling. Shortly after World War II, the Ithaca Children's Home and the Family Society grew closer together as each found a growing need for the services of the other. In 1952, the two organizations began to share the same office building; in 1956 the same budget; and in 1957, the same Board of Directors and name - Family and Children's Service of Ithaca. F&CS Service remains a leader in the delivery of mental health and related social services in the County and is widely recognized as Ithaca’s premier mental health agency.

Today, in 2016, F&CS’s mission is to support, promote and strengthen the well-being of individuals and families by providing high-quality, accessible mental health care and related social services, with a particular sensitivity toward the needs of children. Other F&CS programs include Adult Mental Health Services, Children's Mental Health Services, Student Counseling Services, Psychiatry Services, Geriatric Mental Health and Caregiver Support Services, Youth and Outreach Services, and Employee Assistance Programs.