The mission of Saratoga Center for the Family is to provide a comprehensive array of services committed to strengthening, empowering, and educating children, families, and the community to reduce the incidences and effects of child abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction.
In 1976 the Daytime Circle Group of the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church decided to focus upon the issue of child abuse and neglect within the community. Around the same time, two Skidmore College students presented a senior panel on incest, and Beverly Lazar, a concerned community member, took a pilot graduate course focusing on child abuse and neglect training for educators and administrators. The growing concern for child abuse and neglect led to the formation of a group of concerned citizens interested in providing education on child abuse and neglect and direct prevention and treatment services to families. Private citizens and community professionals came together to share their expertise and make a difference for area children.
Formally incorporated January 17, 1978, the Saratoga County Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect (“the Center”) provided public and professional education presentations to many educational, legal, medical, mental health, religious, and human service institutions, as well as to interested community groups. It then expanded to provide support staff, childcare, and transportation for a program coordinated with Child Protective Services (“Mothers Club”). Training began for volunteers in a parent aide program, which became known as the “Skilled Friend Program.” These core services continued to evolve. Through a grant from New York State Department of Social Services (DSS), a teen parent program was begun in 1980. The Center's commitment to sexual abuse issues began three years later with the design of the school-based sexual abuse prevention program, “Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP).” This program, also funded by DSS, inspired similar efforts aimed at preschool children and a program for special needs children that was designed in 1988. Also in 1983, the Center took the lead in forming the Saratoga County Sexual Abuse Committee that today is the Saratoga County Partnership for Safe Children, a countywide coalition that was responsible for establishing the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center in Saratoga County.
In 1993 the Task Force changed its name to Saratoga Center for the Family to reflect the Center’s commitment to serving not only those who have been victimized but to build stronger families and empower individuals with a goal of preventing abuse before it starts.
Who We Are
Today the Saratoga Center for the Family provides abuse prevention programs, mental health therapy, victims’ advocacy, and is home to the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center. As a non-profit agency our mission is to strengthen children, families, and our community by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy. For over 40 years we have been providing services to clients regardless of their ability to pay. In order to achieve this, we rely on private and corporate donations, private foundation grants, local and state government grant sources, and agency fundraising events.
Our prevention programs include: Parenting, Child Custody Stress Prevention, Anger Management, and Heel to Heal - an empowerment group for young women . Our mental health services focus on healing the effects of trauma that may be caused by abuse, violence, or victimization using evidence based trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy for children and strengths based solutions focused therapy for adults. We also provide services to address family dysfunction, assist clients in managing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attentional disorders such as ADHD. The Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center is a location that provides a specialized program serving children who have been neglected or physically or sexually abused. We offer a child-focused environment where we bring law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, child protection workers, and health and mental health providers together “under one roof.” They collaborate to investigate an allegation of abuse, begin the healing process for the child and family, and provide victim advocacy.