Family Service and Children's Aid Society of Venango County, (Agency) was founded in 1887 as the Children's Aid Society, (CAS), to serve the needs of unfortunate children. The Society was represented by a group of twenty women. In 1890 these women formed an auxiliary society in Venango County. This auxiliary was called the Children's Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania (CAS). During the early years, the society had no regular headquarters and for a brief period of time met in the parlor of the YMCA. In 1897 renovations at the Y forced them to find another location, and they were granted the use of the Council Chamber at City Hall
In 1913, the CAS opened the first temporary children's home at 55 Pearl Avenue. In 1914, the society purchased 15 Harriott Avenue, and It became the new Children's Home. CAS often operated with a deficit during the 20th century. The war, along with the influenza of 1918, had a direct effect on the society's work by increasing the case load due to fatalities from this disease.
The society met with much resistance on the issue of trained social workers. However, in 1929, the PA Department of Welfare recommended that the monies allocated by the state to the CAS be given to those auxiliaries in which volunteer services had been supplemented by trained and experienced case workers. The society did not hire a trained social worker until the spring of 1944. With this move, the actual operation of the society passed from the hands of the volunteer members of CAS to the salaried staff.
In 1945, the CAS of Western PA began to consider the question of expanding its work to include family welfare. After 60 years of association, the CAS of Venango County tendered its resignation from the CAS of Western PA in June 1950. The consensus was that it received little benefit from dues paid to the parent organization and it was now ready to "go it alone". In 1951, CAS moved to a new location in the National Transit Building. The number of children under the care of CAS had significantly increased in the 1950's. To handle the heavier caseload, the first professional social worker was hired in 1957.
The passage of the 1962 Social Security Amendment mandated that each county in the United States have a county child welfare office. In 1969, the Venango County Child Welfare Service opened it's office in Franklin, The new agency was set up "to provide service to neglected and dependent children and handle all referrals for schools, physicians, hospitals, ministers, law enforcement, or any responsible citizen in the community interested in the welfare of children."
The impact on the CAS was obvious. The work that had traditionally been the backbone of the society's program was now taken over by the new agency. In 1970, the society made a change both in name and direction. The CAS changed its name to Family Service and Children's Aid Society of Venango County, thus fulfilling the need for a family-oriented agency, that had existed in the county for many years. Robert Carone, MSW, was hired as the first Executive Director. Staff was increased and psychiatric and psychological consultation was made available through the services of Dr. Carol Maurer.
In 1971, the Agency found new quarters in the former Penelec Building for a few years and then moved to 202 West First Street, for approximately ten years. In 1980 a more permanent move was made to 716 East Second Street, now the "Main" office. The Agency has evolved over the years and today encompasses a wide variety of comprehensive human services. Quality assured programs are provided targeting issues relating to mental health, promoting healthy behaviors, substance abuse, prevention and education, and domestic and sexual violence to meet the needs of children, individuals, and families. Many services are provided directly by the Agency while others are a result of collaborations with other health and human service agencies, county administration, law enforcement, hospital-based agencies, and school prevention programs.