Founded in 1931, Family Service Saskatoon is a non-partisan, non-profit organization governed by a volunteer, community-based Board of Directors. We are accountable to our clients and to the community.
In 1930, the Canadian Welfare Council undertook a survey in Saskatoon to “ascertain to what extent the needs of families and individuals in trouble were being met by various organizations attempting to deal with them, and to suggest of type of machinery to meet the needs more effectively”. One of the recommendations was the establishment of a Family Welfare Association to co-ordinate the work of the various agencies, to establish a social service exchange preventing duplication of services and to provide professional social work services to families with a focus on prevention.
A board was selected, and in 1931, the Saskatoon Family Welfare Association was formed with Mrs. C.K. Langford as president. She was the first woman in Canada to preside over a Family Welfare Society.
The first trained social worker, Miss King, was employed and as a birthday gift to his wife, Dr. C.K. Langford paid for Miss King’s salary for the first year. Rotary, Kinsmen and Kiwanis Clubs as well as private citizens gave donations to cover the first year of operations, a $3,000 budget. In 1961 the agency changed its name to the Saskatoon Family Service Bureau and in 2001 it was changed again to Family Service Saskatoon.
In its early days, the agency brought together heads of other agencies and interested citizens to discuss the establishment of a Community Chest (now the United Way). The Family Welfare Association became its first member. It also undertook the development of a “Social Service Exchange” to “prevent the duplication of services and to promote cooperation of various agencies”. Today, we are an active collaborator in many networks, coalitions and partnerships and remain an active member of the United Way. Our partnership in the development of the Saskatoon Community Service Village highlights the continuation of the agencies leadership and cooperative nature.
In its early years, the Saskatoon Family Welfare Association worked closely with the City of Saskatoon in its relief work, starting a kindergarten for deprived children and developing parenting classes for young mothers on public assistance. The agency has continued to work closely with municipal and provincial governments and we often provide services or collaborate on service delivery on their behalf. Now, as then, the agency is seen as a competent, responsible and a cooperative partner.
In the thirties, several Social Work Educational institutes collaborated with the Family Welfare Association in the education of their students.
University of Toronto Social Work students came to Saskatoon for their practice and the agency reviewed applications for social work training for the University of Winnipeg. Today, we have students from as many as 12 professional education institutions from four provinces. We also provide courses on counselling for other human services providers, provide supervision, training and coaching, host conferences and provide other training opportunities. Now, as then, we are committed to supporting quality education and professionalism in the human services.
In 1947, the agency joined in an action by the Canadian Welfare Council to respond to the “decontrolling of rents by the dominion”, by supporting the maintenance of rent control for another year to give poor families an opportunity to adjust. In recent years, the agency, often in conjunction with Family Service Canada, has supported the anti-poverty campaign of 2000, supported the development and expansion of quality day care in Canada and supported the end of corporal punishment of children. Now, as then, the agency considers a of its mandate is to advocate on behalf of families and children.
In early years, the executive established a committee to ensure quality control. Today Family Service Saskatoon is accredited by the Canadian Council on Accreditation, helping to ensure high standards and quality service.Now, as then, the agency continues to develop new initiatives and programs to improve the lives of individuals and families in our growing and changing community.