Funded Partner Spotlight: Family Service Association

Since 1995, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. has provided over $1 billion in healthcare services through our clinics and programs, as well as through our partnerships. Methodist Healthcare Ministries is proud to partner with organizations that share our mission and organizational objectives of increasing access to care to the least served across South Texas.

There are few organizations in San Antonio with a history as storied or impactful as Family Service Association. The nonprofit organization was originally founded in 1903 as the Charity Association of San Antonio.

Over the years the name and programs have evolved, enabling Family Service Association to offer services that address adoptions, youth development, elder care, behavioral health, rural health, and much more. In recent years, Family Service has evolved to better meet the needs of the communities it serves. It has expanded to provide services in 13 counties and its focus has shifted organically towards addressing the social determinants of health. For example, understanding that many of its clients report having experienced a childhood trauma has led them to adopt the practice of trauma-informed care when treating new patients. Family Service has created a scorecard to chart where they want to be in 3-5 years and those decisions are passed down to employees through trainings, so everyone can understand what they are working towards.

Mary Garr, president & CEO of Family Service Association, stated that “If we want San Antonio to improve health, workforce, then it all ties to the social determinants and we've got to have a collective voice and a collective framework to be able to articulate so we can work as a city to be able to address these challenges. Organizations like Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and others, are helping in that framework as well.”

Methodist Healthcare Ministries has been proud to support Family Service Association since 2007 by awarding $ $6,348.810.00 in funding for a number of their programs and offerings. In 2020, Methodist Healthcare Ministries funded three projects by Family Service: a Rural Child Abuse Prevention Program, Early Childhood Wellbeing Program and a Financial Empowerment Program.

Through the Rural Child Abuse Prevention Program, Family Service offers community-based counseling services to individuals coping with difficult daily stressors living in Uvalde, Zavala, Dimmit, Maverick, and Val Verde counties. The services are often provided in a client’s home or at a local United Methodist Church, which often partners with Family Service to provide additional support. The program developed over the years and focuses on people 21 years old, dealing with behavioral health issues. The program serves a population that is very poor with 64% earn less than $10K a year. Their clients are often dealing with behavioral health issues, substance abuse and experience trouble finding work. However, Family Service employs a great staff in the region who have built trust and relationships over the years. Some staff members are even former clients, so they bring a perspective and experience that enables them to relate better with their clients.

The Early Childhood Wellness Program is an early childhood mental health program where Family Service trains teachers how to better manage behavior issues in preschool age children, up to 8 years old, through a positive behavior support models. Through parent-child interactions and the Parenting Wisely program, Family Service provides teachers with the opportunity to better engage and manage young students at a critical time in their development.

The Financial Empowerment Program is offered at six locations across San Antonio, including Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Wesley Health & Wellness Center on the Southwest side and the Dixon Health & Wellness Center on the Southeast side of San Antonio. The patients and families who walk through the door of our clinics often also seek assistance with their finances. The Financial Empowerment Program uses a coaching model to talk patients through their financial situation, help them identify where their money is going to and develop a plan to take care of debt, improve credit and build savings. The hands-on approach teaches the value of saving and building one’s financial health. The program has been very effective at helping people reduce debt and take control of their financial situation.

Since 1903, Family Services has been a tremendous asset to the San Antonio and South Texas communities where their services are offered. They are committed to addressing the social determinants of health in a manner that is early and enables families to live happier and healthier lives. Their innovative and wide-reaching programs are helping families in a myriad of ways and Methodist Healthcare Ministries is proud to continue supporting their efforts. They are a great partner as we strive to increase access to care for the least served and build resilient families in thriving communities.

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