For more than 154 years, Metropolitan Family Services has provided the resources and counsel needed to help families and individuals overcome life’s obstacles and grow stronger.
Since our founding in 1857 as the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, our organization has helped families get through the devastating hardships of poverty, world wars, epidemics and natural disasters.
Through our 154-year history, we have reached out to help the young and old, unemployed and working poor, long-time citizens and new immigrants and those worn out by changing economics, troubled relationships, inadequate education and mental health issues. We’ve supported them with financial aid, counseling, education and legal services. But most of all, we have bolstered the strength that lies within each person, provided hope for a brighter future and helped individuals and families reclaim their dignity and purpose.
Today Metropolitan Family Services assists hundreds of thousands of people through human services and public policy advocacy. Our mission remains largely the same as it was 154 years ago: to help Chicago-area families realize their amazing strength.
Key Milestones in our History
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1857 - The Chicago Relief and Aid Society is founded and incorporated by the Illinois State legislature.
1894 - The Chicago Bureau of Charities is established in response to the economically devastating Panic of 1893.
1950 - The Family Service Bureau begins helping unwed mothers and their children through the Women’s Service Division.
1953 - United Charities create the Service for the Aged to help this growing segment of the population.
1954 - The first of 14 annual Riverview Rambles, a major fundraiser organized by United Charities’ Women’s Auxiliary, is held at Riverview amusement park.
1959 - The Family Service Leagues are established in DuPage County and launch the Treasure House resale shop to support United Charities.
1995 - United Charities changes its name to Metropolitan Family Services to better reflect the work and scope of the broad community it serves.
1996 - Family Counseling Services of Evanston/Skokie become part of Metropolitan Family Services.
1997 - Metropolitan Family Services expands its services to include child abuse and early education programs when Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) becomes part of the organization.